Asking Questions is foundational to CO2 Partners and the founder Gary Cohen. Mr. Cohen is not alone in his remarkable approach to leadership: ask great questions. In this series of posts, I am discussing “Change Your Questions, Change Your Life” by Marilee Adams, MSW, Ph.D. She offers 10 very powerful tools to improve communication–both personally and professionally by how you ask questions. Today, I’ll focus on tools 5 & 6.
Tool 5: Ask Questions that Challenge Assumptions
We did a post on assumptions a while back. An assumption is something that we take for granted–a foregone conclusion, if you will. Life experience and past knowledge of an outcome lead us to make assumptions. We assume that if “A” happens then “B” will occur; it has to because it has happened in the past. This is our bias. It comes from a deeply entrenched belief system that we develop throughout our life. We don’t typically hold assumptions as strongly as we hold beliefs, but the longer we hold assumptions without being disproved, the more likely they are to turn into beliefs. Your assumptions feed your JUDGER!
In her book, Change your Questions Change your Life, Dr. Adams ask questions of her own to help you discover these assumptions and make changes where necessary.
- What assumptions am I making about myself?
- What assumptions am I making about others?
- What am I assuming from the past that may not be true now?
- What am I assuming about available resources?
- What am I assuming about what is impossible–or possible?
When you test assumptions and uproot faulty ones, you get empowered to make better decisions.
Tool 6: Ask Questions that are More EMPOWERing
Rather than sit in judgment–and “sitting,” it’s worth noting, implies inaction–let your curiosity run wild. Your curiosity will lead to empowering questions–ask questions that will both empower you and others to find creative solutions. Here are some great empowering questions:
- What about that makes it work?
- What do you need to get that done?
- What do I want?
- What are the facts?
- What is the worst thing that could happen?
Related Posts on how to ask questions: