How to Ask Questions that Matter

Here’s a wonderful resource to help craft and ask questions that matter.  The following bullets are excerpts from the book. Change Your Questions, Change Your Life: 10 Powerful Tools for Life and Work by by Marilee G. Adams, Marshall Goldsmith

  • Question Thinking is a system of tools for transforming thinking, action, and results through skillful question asking-questions we ask ourselves as well as those we ask others.
  • To solve our problems, we first need to change our questions; otherwise we’ll probably just keep getting the same old answers, over and over again.
  • Switching question. The one that worked for me that day was, How else can I think about him?
  • Really effective, intentional change begins with strengthening your observer self.
  • Do I listen to people’s questions and suggestions? Do people feel respected by me? Do I encourage others to take initiative, ask questions, and contribute their own ideas?
  • Ben’s Three Questions
  1. What assumptions am I making?
  2. How else can I think about this?
  3. What is the other person thinking, feeling, and wanting?
  • Where you stumble, there your treasure is. You’d ask yourself questions like What could I discover? What might be valuable here?”
  • “There’s really just one lesson here — with the questions we ask ourselves, consciously or not, we literally put ourselves either in Learner or Judger mode. And we’re most effective at virtually everything we do when we’re in Learner.
  • Really effective, intentional change begins with strengthening your observer self. The better you can see what’s already there — that’s where the observer self comes in — the better you can apply the right skills and strategies to make the changes you want.”
  • “You can separate your reactions from his behavior – and anyone else’s. Until you do, you’ll keep giving away your power. You’ll be just like a puppet, with no control of your own.
  • “Question Thinking is a system of skills and tools using questions to expand how you approach virtually any situation. You develop the skills to refine your questions for vastly better results in anything you do. The QT system can literally put action into your thinking — action that’s both focused and effective. It’s a great way to create a foundation for making wiser choices.”
  • Real personal power depends on how good we get at recovering from Judger once it takes over.
  • What assumptions am I making? How else can I think about this? And, What is the other person thinking, feeling, and wanting?”
  • “Whenever you’re interacting with other people as a leader,” Joseph said, “you want them to take initiative, ask questions, and come up with answers that maybe you hadn’t thought of yourself. Your accomplishments come from the total efforts of the people you’re working with, not just from your own solitary work.”
  • When two people are in Judger, the one who wakes up first has an advantage. That person can choose to go Learner and turn the situation around for both of them.”
  • “Things happen to us all the time. You don’t have much choice about that. But where we do have choice is in what we do with what happens.”
  • When two people are in Judger, the one who wakes up first has an advantage. That person can choose to go Learner and turn the situation around for both of them.”
  • What do I appreciate about them? What are the best strengths of each one of them? How can I help them collaborate most productively? How can we stay on the Learner Path together?
  • “Things happen to us all the time. You don’t have much choice about that. But where we do have choice is in what we do with what happens.”
  • The Choice Map is about developing ways to make intentional, conscious choices rather than just reacting and allowing ourselves to be controlled by events around us. These intentional and conscious choices, moment by moment by moment, are essential leadership qualities.
  • ‘Are you willing to take responsibility for your mistakes — and for the attitudes and actions that led to them?’ Then he said, ‘Are you willing — however begrudgingly — to forgive yourself, and even laugh at yourself?’ And finally, ‘Will you look for value in your experiences, especially the most difficult ones?’ Bottom line, ‘Are you willing to learn from what happened and make changes accordingly?’