Do you want to win, or do you want to work something out?

Do you want to win, or do you want to work something out?

Isn’t that a showstopper of a question?  I’ve been focused heavily on the power of the reframe with my coaching students and clients and want to introduce the angle of “asking different questions”. It’s no secret that I am a disciple of the northeast schools of thought when it comes to leadership, coaching, organizational development, and culture – Kegan, Lahey, Heifetz, Burke, Mezirow, Ochsner, Halvorson Grant, McGrath.

Jennifer Garvey-Berger is a student of Bob Kegan and in her work she talks about “asking different questions” in the time of quick change.  It’s a master coaching skill – that right unlocking move coupled with the right time.  Here are some suggestions brought to you by Peter Block and Edgar Schein:

4 Key Questions to Intimacy

  1. How do you feel? (about our conversations, about working with me?)
  2. What do you want from me? (Here’s what I want.) <– the heart of contracting
  3. What are you up to? (presenting problem is not often the root case)
  4. How do you feel about control and vulnerability?

Transformation is linguistic.
Tell people what they’re doing right. Self-improvement is an act of violence. Have more of a gift orientation – tell people what their gifts are.

  1. What are you good at? What’s your gift? What do you want to create together?
  2. What are we here for? What is the world asking from us?

Handling blocks and resistance:

  1. What’s your contribution to the problem?
  2. What are you doing to contribute to the very thing that upsets you?
  3. What’s the refusal you’ve been postponing? If you can’t say no, your yes means nothing.
  4. Do you want to be right, or do you want to work something out?
  5. I’m warning you, if you are going to give me a hard time, I’m going to take your side.
  6. What’s worrying you?