By Barb Ward 

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone when they asked you a question that stumped you? On one hand, the answer seems simple, but then on second thought, maybe that isn’t the answer you really “feel”. These questions cause you to pause, and really consider the answer before you speak. Even if you’ve never put a name to in before, the question asked is likely a powerful question. When you are asked a powerful question, it causes you to think deeply, consider the possibilities, and many times the resulting answer changes the direction you are moving.

In leadership coaching, powerful questions are used to invoke meaningful thought, they cause you to engage more authentically or gain a deeper understanding or insight into the subject at hand. They allow you to explore your views and perspectives and gain a more informed understanding of the situation and the options available to you. As if that weren’t enough, they also make us aware of how we show up and how we act or react in certain situations.

Here are some facts about how powerful questions work their magic.

Powerful questions:

  • Start with what, how, where, or if to promote possibilities
  • Never suggest a solution or justifies why it was asked, it simply asks
  • Allow for discovery, oversight, commitment, and action
  • Are open-ended and go beyond a simple yes or no response
  • Invoke curiosity
  • provide a compass for learning
  • Are expansive
  • Help us step into the unknown with more confidence and clarity

Next time you are trying to make an important decision, or you are trying to help someone else make an important decision, try a powerful question, and see where it leads you.