S:0868 Principle: Asking Effective Questions

(Principles are basic truths that, when applied, cause success to come to you easier and quicker.)


Okay, this may seem a weird example, but have you ever baked a cake and had it fall in the middle? If so, your first response was probably, “What ingredient did I leave out or which ingredient was bad or old and ineffective?” However, experienced bakers will tell you, “Don’t open the oven door during the baking because a rush of (relatively) cold air will hit the top of the baking cake and cause it to fall.”

Now, you suspect, if you’ve been a reader/ subscriber to the S3MC for a while, that this one is probably not about baking. You are correct. It’s about asking effective questions.

Here’s the thing. The questions you ask narrow the answers you can receive, to the point that asking the ‘wrong’ questions will keep you from seeing the correct answers. In the cake baking example, the questions, being focused on the ingredients, precludes noticing the cooking process, e.g. opening the oven door during the cooking.

One of the hallmarks of an aware person is their ability (which is a learnable skill, not simply a function of innate intelligence) to step back from an issue and see several avenues of questions to pursue. The less aware person will jump at the first question which comes to mind and, if no useful answer is forthcoming, feel stuck and frustrated.

By the way, frustration at not seeing an answer is a good indicator that you are not asking effective questions.


Coaching Point: Any questions about this?


Copyright 2012 Steve Straus. All rights reserved.