You’ll Never Get There Without Questions

The day you realize leadership is about them not you is the day you begin leading. If you can’t develop people, you can’t lead beyond your current potential. Furthermore, if you don’t develop people, they’ll leave.

Techniques that develop:

  1. Training.
  2. Teaching.
  3. Advising.
  4. Correcting.
  5. Challenging.
  6. Coaching.
  7. Mentoring.
  8. Encouraging.
  9. Motivating.
  10. Questioning.

If you can’t ask great questions,
your people development skills are weak.

Coaching vs. mentoring:

During conversations with my coach, Bob Hancox, he asks, “Would you like to be coached?” When I say yes, I know I’ll hear a series of skillful questions.

Rene Petrin says, “Mentoring is a transformational relationship. Build the relationship – the outcomes will follow. Building relationships is about trust.” Petrin adds, “Skilled mentors ask great questions.

Distinctions between coaching and mentoring help us discuss individual features and techniques but they overlap.

Questions – essential to success:

Regardless of definitions, coaches and mentors ask great questions. Great questions:

  1. Open windows.
  2. Challenge assumptions.
  3. Destabilize.
  4. Move toward clarity.
  5. Aren’t agenda driven.

Three types of mentoring questions:

First, Petrin suggests mentors explore. Second, ask questions that seek solutions. Third, ask process questions that evaluate mentor-mentee dynamics and explore what’s been learned.

Powerful Questions:

Petrin suggests mentors ask things like:

  1. What do you understand about this situation?
  2. What have you done?
  3. What has worked?
  4. What hasn’t worked?
  5. What forces are at work?
  6. What are the potential consequences?
  7. Who does this impact?
  8. What are the obstacles?

I’ve found either/or thinkers come up with two options. I like repeating their options and asking, “What’s the third option?”


Rene Petrin’s resources.

Bob Hancox co-authored, “Coaching for Engagement.” It’s filled with great questions.

Facebook contributors provided their suggestions for great questions on 8/2/2012.

What questions aid the coaching/mentoring process?

What are the  components of great questions?