Consider the person who has a fear of speaking in large meetings and has been requested to present at the next monthly meeting by her manager. We have a choice.
We can explore the cause of the problem, in this case the deficiencies of the person, by asking:
- “So what are you scared of?”
- “What do you think might go wrong?”
- And “What other bad experiences have you had in the past?”
Or by working in a solutions-focused way we can “reveal strength” and resources, by asking questions such as:
- “What skills did your boss see in you that she asked you to present at the meeting?”
- “What’s the best you’ve ever done when speaking at meetings?”
- “Suppose this meeting went well, what would be happening?”
Notice the presuppositions in each set of questions. The first set presupposes fear, bad experiences, and future failure. The second set presupposes resources, skills and a positive future.
“There are questions which illuminate, and there are those that destroy”.
.Let’s ask the illuminating questions.
Suppose you had an entire organisation communicating in a way that involves noticing what works, revealing strengths and illuminating success - what difference could that make?
Read more about this in my article "Creating a coaching culture one conversation at a time".
1 An international model of questions and therapeutic interventions - Dan McGee
2 Isaak Isador Rabi – Nobel Physicist