Questions Are Answers

Great questions change everything.

Commands invite protection, resistance, and fault-finding. Questions invite collaboration and shared responsibility.


There’s a great question for every situation.

Great questions:

  1. Inspire thought.
  2. Invite. “What do you think?”
  3. Explore. “What does success look like?”
  4. Solve. “How does life change if you choose option B?”
  5. Clarify. “What have you learned?”
  6. Establish expectations. “What would you like me to do for you?” or “What are you looking for from me?”
  7. Call for personal responses. “What do you think should be done?
  8. Don’t have obvious answers. “What’s important to you about this?”
  9. Express compassion. “How does this make you feel?”
  10. Create accountability. “What actions would you like to take?”

Bonus: Include silence.

When facing complaints about others:

  1. What do you wish they would do more of? (Power Questions)
  2. If this went away, what would life be like?
  3. How long has this been going on? Why?
  4. What have you already tried?
  5. What happens if this doesn’t go away?
  6. How could you change this situation? (Coaching for engagement)

When solving problems:

  1. What were we doing when we were successful at this? What was different about those times? (Coaching for Engagement)
  2. Who else has faced this challenge?
  3. What have you tried?
  4. How certain do you need to be before you take the next step?
  5. Who is impacted by this issue? How?
  6. A year from now, if we have failed, what didn’t we do? (Scaling Up Excellence)

When striving to connect?

  1. What makes you feel good/proud about what you’re doing?
  2. What surprises you about the leadership journey?
  3. What else would you like to accomplish? (Power Questions)

Favorite questions:

  1. What’s important about this?
  2. What does a win look like?
  3. What do you want?
  4. What should I be asking?
  5. How can I help? (Touch Points)

What are your favorite questions?

Think of a leadership encounter/situation and suggest a question that suits it.