Tapping the Power of “For You”

Don’t use “we” when you mean “you”.

“We” is at best weak and at worst deceptive when you really mean “you”. When you expect someone else to take ownership and action say “you”.

don't use we when you mean you

“For you”:

Asking, “What’s the real challenge, problem, or opportunity?” invites people to look outside themselves for a response. You might hear, “The real problem is the way my boss says one thing but does another.”

Asking, “What’s the real challenge here for you?” is personal.

“What’s the real opportunity here for you?” invites ownership and suggests action. Don’t say, “What’s the real challenge here for us?” when you really mean, “for you”.


“The simple act of adding “for you” to the end of as many questions as possible is an everyday technique for making conversations more development – than performance oriented. Yes, the problems still get sorted out. But with “for you” there’s often additional personal insight, and with personal insight comes increased growth and capability.” Michael Bungay Stanier in The Coaching Habit.

Invite others to reflect on their own challenges and opportunities by saying, “for you”.

How do things change when you add “for you” to the end of questions?

This post is inspired by The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever.