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
- How do you feel? (about our conversations, about working with me?)
- What do you want from me? (Here’s what I want.) <– the heart of contracting
- What are you up to? (presenting problem is not often the root case)
- 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.
- What are you good at? What’s your gift? What do you want to create together?
- What are we here for? What is the world asking from us?
Handling blocks and resistance:
- What’s your contribution to the problem?
- What are you doing to contribute to the very thing that upsets you?
- What’s the refusal you’ve been postponing? If you can’t say no, your yes means nothing.
- Do you want to be right, or do you want to work something out?
- I’m warning you, if you are going to give me a hard time, I’m going to take your side.
- What’s worrying you?