Curious Questions are Better than the Answers
By: Deb Maes
October 23, 2013
Have you noticed how you respond, quietly inside yourself, or loudly at times, when given advice? Another person’s solution can only be theirs based on their experiences, which cannot fully match yours.
We don’t like it for lots of reasons. Another person telling us the answer doesn’t help us to build our confidence in our self or enable us to discover our own resources. But, I do confess, I still want to help change or enhance people’s performance, support them in discovering more resources or just find more enjoyment in their lives.
How can we do that without giving advice? What most effectively enables this?
The answer is ‘a question’… What supports someone to discover their own internal resources and solutions?
Questions! Lots of questions!
Only a very small amount (some say less than 1%) of what we experience is available to us consciously. Luckily, much, much more is available and it’s just beneath the surface of our conscious thinking. And the good news is … hints about the underlying structure of our answer is revealed in our communication. So, if we ask questions about what people say (and their gestures) in their communication, they will discover this hidden treasure in themselves.
Which questions are the right questions?
There are lots of questioning tools that can help us access the deeper structure of the unconscious mind, such as: NLP Meta Model Questions, Clean Questions, Motivational Interviewing, Precision Questions and Motivation in a Moment.
Here are a few examples:
How do you know that?
What would happen if you did?
What will that allow you?
For what purpose?
What does that mean to you?
What do you believe about that?
But, what I have found most effective is genuine curiosity.
Once you know that you cannot know the fullness of what another person is experiencing, you can be genuinely interested in how they come to say what they say and what it really means to them at a deep level.
When you get curious, questions will come to you and as you ask them respectfully and with permission, they more fully explore beneath the surface, and as they do they discover more truthfully the structure of their ‘problem’ and the many possible solutions. And, at the same time, you’re gaining a more full understanding and appreciation of them as a person. This is true in my experience and this richer knowledge I find to be a beautiful by product of their self discovery – one that makes my heart sing.
So, the question begs … Where will you use this powerful tool?