What’s in a question?

Last week I was running a workshop for PSYBT on listening and questioning skills after our Quarterly Aftercare Advisors Meeting. One of the main points of discussion was how to convince clients to, for example, “keep up with the paperwork, accounts etc” These, as we well know, are very important to the success of any business, however, all too often it is not of importance, nor of interest to the client – they want to do what they like doing be it making jewellery, being a plumber or whatever.

How can we convince people to take our “advice” on board?

Well this is where good questioning technique is essential, as we have to find out what the individual values and gets most satisfaction from. We then need to ask pertinent questions for them to discover for themselves the relevance of the activity, why they need to carry it out and what is a realitic goal. This will be linked to what they value and want to achieve – which may not necessarily be the same as our own.

We had a really good discussion about this and then, a few days later, I found myself in a coaching session when I really had to put into practice those exact principles we had been discussing. Setting realistic goals is not easy for anyone and if an individual is unsure of what they want or may feel they cannot achieve it, it is imperative that questions are used to allow that individual to discover for themselves what is realistic and how they can achieve it by using the many resources available.

A useful model is the GROW model ref: “Coaching for Performance” by John Whitmore. The premise is to generate “awareness and responsibility” by using a series of questions to investigate the following:
G = goals i.e. What we want to achieve
R = reality i.e. What is happening now
O = options i.e. What we could do
W = will i.e. What we will do

So think of a goal you want, ask yourself these questions and even at a basic level there will be a greater awareness and commitment to achieving it. Good luck!