Coaching Tips #5: Going Layers Deeper in Your Questions

question marks
question marks

As we ask questions, we discover “reality” and get the fullest insights from a leader when we learn to ask questions several “layers deep.” Here are some word pictures help illustrate this—

1.  Helping the leader paint a clear and detailed picture of the situation…each question is a brush stroke.

 2.      Each question opens a door to a “room” of information, and each good follow-up question opens a door to a bigger “room” of information and discovery.  The ultimate goal is to get “a tour of the whole house.”

3.       Finding treasure…as we ask questions, we dig further and go “layers deeper” to discover more treasure below the surface.

4.       “Going on an adventure and discovering things along the way as we ask good questions.”

I.   Remember Three Kinds of Questions

a.       Information—helps us get what we need to help the leader discern, discover and develop.

b.      Awareness—these questions help us get to the “ah-ha” or “uh-oh” moments that are so vital.  Be sensitive to body language and emotions…they can be indicators of “hot” issues. 

c.Action—helps the leader move to practical action steps.

II.    Remember, Behind Every Great Question are More Questions Waiting to Be to Asked!

a.  This is essential in the “R” (Reality) and “O” (Options) in our “G*R*O*W” strategy and the “Discern” and “Discover” of our 4 D’s.

b.  In your mind, always be thinking “what else” and “tell me more” as you ask and listen.  Then, ask “what else” and “tell me more.” 

c.  Don’t settle for one word or one layer answers…always encourage your leader to paint a fuller picture by asking more good questions. Great questions are easily understood. “The most effective questions for raising awareness and responsibility begin with words that seek to quantify or gather facts, words like WHAT, WHEN, WHO, HOW MUCH, HOW MANY.”

d.  Another approach comes from the “Great Commandment” verses: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength…and your neighbor as yourself.”  Using this approach, we can help a leader “walk around” issues from a variety of perspectives:

“Heart”—pay attention to spiritual (what has the Lord been saying to you about…) or intuition (what has your heart/gut been telling you…)

“Soul”—emotions.  Pay attention to feelings…they are indicators.  (how are you feeling about…)

“Mind”—reason.  Pay attention to more logical, reasonable, linear viewpoints…facts and information.

“Strength”—physical.  Pay attention to their health, energy levels (what energizes or drains you…) or tangible resources needed for a situation.

“Neighbors” “(“other shoes and views”)—what others say.  (What does your wife or friend or other ministry leader say about this…)

e.  The ministry of summarizing—sometimes we can summarize what we’ve heard the leader say succinctly in a way that clarifies things for them…leads to better discovery insights and makes the next question more obvious for us as a coach.

III. Remember to Guard Against…

a.  Interrogation—tends to come across as judgmental or harsh.

b.  Manipulation—makes the leader feel like you are forcing them to go a certain direction (yours) rather than helping with self-discovery.

c.  Setup—asking a question where you already know the answer.  Often is an excuse to tell our own stories.

d.  Random—questions that have no purpose or sequence—they don’t help the leader!

Practical Ministry Implications

These skills develop as we are conscious of them and usually follow a progression:

      Ignorant and incompetent…

        Conscious but uncomfortable…

           Comfortable and becoming competent…

Supernaturally natural!

Action Point:

How are your skills at asking questions developing, especially in light of the progression we noted above?

How can you improve your skills when it comes to asking great questions?

From: “TransforMissional Coaching” Clinic

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Dr. Tim  Roehl                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Dr. Steve Ogne