The Power of Questions
Although I don't remember the specific instance when I asked my first "stupid" question during a meeting, I do remember the result. Even though I figured everyone else must have already considered or knew the answer to my question, I asked it anyway, hoping it wouldn't make me look completely incompetent. Instead, everyone stared at me and then someone said, "That's a good question."
I've had this happen many times now that I've had more confidence to ask questions that no one else has asked or addressed. I used to think that the answers to questions helped people learn - made the proverbial "lightbulbs" go on in their minds. I now believe and have seen that it's the questions that make the lightbulbs go on.
I no longer fear looking incompetent by asking questions. In fact, I feel like that is one of my strengths now - to ask the question no one has asked yet because no one wants to ask or no one has thought to ask it yet.
A well thought out question can solve a problem, create a new process or product, open up new perspectives, open up possibilities, establish priorities, or motivate people. Questions can affirm or deny assumptions and establish facts. "What about...?", "What if...?", "How could we...?", "Have we considered...?"
Here are some links to my favorite resources for questions:
Change your Questions, Change your Life by Marilee Adams
The Book of Beautiful Questions by Warren Berger
The Coaching Habit by Michael Bunger Stanier
The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander
Coaching Questions by Tony Stoltzfus
One of my favorite questions for tapping into my resiliency: What if this was an adventure, rather than a problem?
What's your favorite question?