Open-ended Questions

  • Clarifying: improving the clarity of a message or statement; encouraging more elaboration – “How exactly would you like this done?”
  • Reflective: challenging basic assumptions – “Why do we always do it this way?” “Has this ever been tried?”
  • Probing: Getting more details; going deeper – “Can you elaborate on why this is happening?”
  • Creating connections: asking for systems perspectives – “What will be the consequences of this action?”
  • Exploratory: opening up new avenues and insights that lead to new explorations – “Have you considered such a source?”
  • Analytical: examining cause and effect, not just symptoms – “Why has this happened?”
  • Affective: encouraging sharing of feelings – “How do you feel/how excited are you about this strategy?
  1. What do you think about ..?
  2. What more could you say about .?
  3. What might happen if ..?
  4. Why do you think it is not feasible to ?
  5. How you intend to resolve this issue ?
  6. When would be the best time to invest in ..?
  7. When you say “difficult,” what do you mean?
  8. How will you use the information?
  9. Where are possibilities have you left out?
  10. What are you trying to understand?

Closed Questions

  • Limit debate and make decisions – “Is the team ready to make a decision?”
  • Find out specific information – “ When is the proposal due?”

Follow-up Questions

  • Leading Questions – “Isn’t it true ?”
  • Multiple-Choice Questions – When the team doesn’t make the proper connection desired by the coach. Feels like an interrogation.
  • Judgmental Questions – – Why did you make mistakes on this issue? – Can someone help Andrew understand this point? – Why is the team taking so long to come up with a solution?
  • Identify preferences – “Does the team like Plan A or Plan B?”
  1. Commitment to ask questions
  2. Courage and authenticity
  3. Timing for questions
  4. Active listening
    • Being able to hear what is said as well as what is not being said
    • Requires astute observation and note- taking to be in touch and in tune with who is saying what, how, when and to whom
  5. Strong commitment to learning
    • Belief that learning is critical to improving actions, and that questions are the best way to enable others and self to learn
    • Great leaders are eager to see individuals, groups and organizations learn
  6. Positive, supportive attitude toward others
    • Concerned with the well-being of each person
    • Committed to their success
    • Empathetic and supportive
    • See the potential in each person
    • Believe that everyone can change and learn
  7. Self-awareness and Self-confidence

    • Questioner is cognizant of his/her strengths and limitations, and the impact of his questions
    • Confident, yet humble when asking questions
    • Willing to learn and change self
    • Can handle rivalries, distrust and anger
    • Recognizes the power and importance of questions

    The Architecture for Great Questions

  8. Linguisticconstructionofthequestion,in order of generating reflection – what, when, where, which, how, why
  9. Scopeofthequestion–individual, group, organization, community, nation, global
  10. Assumptionswithinquestions–explicit, implicit, altering; e.g., “How would we approach this problem if we were engineers?