How Much Mileage Do Your Questions Get?

Open Road

Do you need to have an important conversation? Do your want to encourage an open dialogue with stakeholders? Perhaps you are a coach/mentor and want to help your clients find the answers within themselves and draw their own conclusions.

Conversation is an art. It requires a bit of finesse to relate to folks on their level and to be able to listen with focus attention as they tell their story. People open up when they feel safe. They also open up when they know you are genuinely interested in what they are saying.

High-mileage questions are an effective conversation technique to use with clients, students, employees, stakeholders or even friends. High-mileage questions are open-ended questions that allow folks to dig deeper by exploring the topic after reflection. Once folks start talking, the role of the coach is to be present and listen then ask thoughtful follow-up questions.

I use high-mileage questions in coaching calls but I also started using them in my conversations with friends and at work. I’ve noticed a better connection and more engagement with folks. Folks can tell I am genuinely interested in hearing how they are doing and not just asking “How are you” as a reflex.

Below are a few high-mileage questions to experiment with in conservations. See if you notice a difference. Observe how folks open up and perhaps even trust you enough to share more of their story, issues or concerns. In my personal experience, people seem to appreciate my willingness to listen to their story. Often times, people just want someone to slow down and listen to them. As people talk, they seem to find their own answers. I then may offer suggestions related to what came up for them.

You can use high-mileage questions in conversations with clients, students, employees or even with friends. Feel free to change them around as needed. It is also helpful to keep an intention in mind when asking the questions. For example, some questions relate to the future while others relate to the past. Here are a few to get you started:

FUTURE:
How will it be different once you have a solution?
What would be the very first sign that things are getting back on track?
What would happen if you lowered your expectations?
What would happen if you raised your expectations?
What does success look like for you?

PAST:
What is your story around…?
What would it look like if you changed your story?
What have you realized about your priorities at this time in your life?

PRESENT:
What have you realized about your priorities at this time in your life?
What is working well in your life right now?
Where do you feel stuck?

ACTION ORIENTED:
What is one small step you could take this week that you know you could
do successfully?
What would you like to achieve in this session?
What would you need in order to move forward?
If you knew you had nothing to lose, how would you act and what would
you choose?

GOALS/VALUES:
How is your current situation meeting your value requirements?
How are you stopping short of your goal?
What did you learn about yourself/your situation/your values as you
completed this exercise/goal?

PEOPLE/PLACES/THINGS
How do you feel different when you are with this person?
How’s your love life?
What does it keep you tied to?

SELF COACHING
What would you tell a friend in the same situation?
What do you think you should do?

HOW TO ENCOURAGE CLIENTS TO REACH OUT FOR SUPPORT
How can I best support you?
May I tell you what I see happening?
May I tell you what I’m hearing?
May I tell you what I’m noticing?
Would you be willing to email me your progress?
May I hold you accountable to…?

Please remember to take good care of yourself this week. Here’s a direct link to my last post on Self Care Sunday.

Self Care Sunday Post

(C) 2018 Linda A. Long – Highest Good Holistic Health Coaching, LLC – All Rights Reserved

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