If you are not asking the right questions…

There is not much that I find more intriguing in the professional realm than studying and reading body language and deeper listening skills. However, the one thing that I am most passionate about is questions. To be more exact, my passion is the proper use of questions. Questions have been used since the beginning of time. However, in today’s cultures more often than not, the wrong questions are being asked. It is true. In interviews, coaching sessions, Bible study groups, planning meetings, even casual conversations, we are asking the wrong questions. Many times we are asking the wrong type of questions.

Perhaps the greatest tool God has given us for leadership and teaching is the question. Throughout history, the question has been unequivocally used in learning and leadership. Two thousand years ago, Jesus was using questions to lead, teach, and equip His followers and all who attended His “seminars.” With His use of questions, Jesus proved to be a Master Teacher and Leader. We can learn to use questions in the same manner.

 For more than thirty years I have been a student of the question. Through the years my studies have included the various types of questions, the wording of questions, delivery techniques of questions, voice tone and inflection, even the emotion of a question. I never want to lose my drive, my thirst for learning more about the proper use of questions. My reason is two-fold. First, I want to be a lifelong learner. Second, the more I can learn, the more I grow in my ability to help others.

As a coach and leader, learning to use the right type of question, formulated properly will be the determining factor of success in moving your clients (employees, family members) forward. Being able to properly formulate the right type of question and deployment of each question with perfect timing and order is more critical in moving someone forward than his response to your question. Let that sink in for a moment. Your coachee’s success is more determined by your choice and delivery of questions than his own response.

If you are not asking the right questions, your listeners are not going to be able to give the response needed to take them on the desired path for fulfilling their purpose – or accomplishing the task. Learning to ask the right question, in the right manner, will bring greater results and your leadership will be appreciated and respected.

This post is adapted from an excerpt from chapter seven of COACHING: A Way of Leadership, A Way of Life.

George Yates is a Church Health Strategist and coach assisting individuals, churches, and organizations in fulfilling their God-given purpose.