As business owners one of the best ways to have a breakthrough in our business or with a client is to ask the right questions. It’s not always easy to know what questions to ask, and sometimes we think we’re asking the right question only to keep getting frustrated because it turns out that we’re not asking the right question. So today I’ve got a whole bunch of questions that may be new to you that you could try when you get stuck with an issue. Some are questions you an ask to someone else, others are those you can use in your own thought processes.
What should questions do?
They should empower, challenge assumptions, re-frame issues, stretch the person/people asking, and encourage breakthrough thinking.
Sometimes you’ll get an answer you weren’t expecting or wanting to hear. Sometimes you’ll need to ask another question to get deeper into the heart of the matter. Sometimes a vague question is good, other times you want to be specific. Not everyone can give you an instant answer, don’t be afraid to wait for the answer (unless you’re looking for that first impression). You expect a response when you ask a question, and those who are giving the answer expect to be given some kind of feedback on their answer. Sometimes ‘I don’t know’ is the answer you get.
Let’s talk about some questions to ask yourself to ask the right question:
Do I need a factually correct answer?
Do I need an expert opinion?
Do I need a well-reasoned judgment?
Do I want the truth or the answer they think I want to hear?
Is yes/no sufficient, or do I want more?
Do I really want an answer?
And now some questions you might try:
What’s the RONI — the Risk of Not Investing?
When did you last do something fun?
What can I do to help you?
Do I want to add value?
Do your core values make business sense?
What do you stand for?
Who do you serve?
What is your competitor’s plan to win?
Is it helping?
What is the one thing you have postponed changing about yourself? Are you prepared to make that change now?
Are you a good friend who keeps your word all the time?
Would you offer a good friend much needed (uninvited) advice when you can see he/she is headed for disaster, or remain silent?
Are you open to receiving uninvited counsel from a good friend if the situation were reversed?
Is it more important for you to win the power game or to know the truth?
What is more important to you – wealth or love? (No, you can’t have both so far as this question is concerned.)
Have you explored your creativity to your satisfaction?
What do you need to stop?
Do you dismiss your creative ideas based on financial thinking or lack of time?
Which would you prefer: Losing your creative energy and spark or gaining more free time in your life? (No, you cannot have both so far as this question is concerned.)
Can you actually name a creative project or dream that you would like to pursue now?
What do you notice about the reasons for your success?
What are you trying to accomplish?
How are you being helpful to your team?
What are you doing that hurts your team? (Insert customers, employees, manager, yourself, or organization?)
What’s working for you?
What could be better?
What matters most to your customers? (Insert you, team, employees, manager, or leaders?)
What are the most impactful things you do?
If things were going perfectly, what would it look like?
How does this support the company’s mission, goals and projected success?
What’s the most unexpected thing you’ve learned along the way?
If all jobs paid the same, what would you be doing?
What would you do if you knew you could not fail?
What does my (audience/customer/employee/partner/teammate) need to hear from me?
What kind of leader am I?
Do you know what I see in you?
How could we do that differently?
What are people concerned about, but no one says?
Did I help someone else succeed today?
What do we want to sustain?
What questions would you add to this list that have helped you in the past?