Leadership is comprised of many important ingredients. Amongst them we find: a clear and inspiring vision, a core set of guiding-values or principles, good communication, the ability to engage others, visible action and consistent presence. Combining these ingredients successfully is both an art and a science. How you combine these ingredients in your context is unique to you and will impact your success as a leader.
As a leader you hold many conversations. Very often in the course of these conversations, you get to be the ‘one who tells’. In other cases, you pose important questions. This is an important act to balance and many leaders are tempted to veer on the side of ‘telling’. Often, we feel this is what is expected of us as leaders. Many also believe that asking questions, as good as they may be, can never match the act of telling, when it comes to driving actions and results. Some leaders might even feel that asking a question exposes a potential vulnerability (i.e. will they think that “I don’t know”?).
What is your balance between ‘telling’ and ‘asking’? How many questions do you ask each day? What do you get in response?
In this article, I’d like to invite you to reflect on your inquiry skills. What do you already know and use? What could holding a greater posture of inquiry contribute to your leadership?
Through my journey of learning about coaching and about leading positive transformation, I have become deeply aware of the power of questions to not only generate insights but to also help drive change. In fact, asking powerful questions can be transformational – both to those who inquire and to those who respond.
Whilst there are many types of powerful questions, I now tend to focus on a particular type of questions – Generative inquiry. Generative questions hold the power to generate something positive. They connect people, help them move forward, see something from a new angle, gain new ideas and find or activate their own strengths, resources and abilities. All of which are helpful in driving change.
I have learnt that “What we inquire into, we create”. This means that if we want to create a positive transformation, we should focus our inquiry on what we want to have or to create, rather than on what we want to change, reduce or eliminate. I know from personal experience that it can be quite a change of mindset for many!
What questions do you use in your role as a leader?
Have you ever stopped to reflect on them and the impact they create?
Which ones are your favourite? Why?
Do these questions help you create what you want to create as a leader?
If you’d like to learn more about the power of questions to drive a positive change, I invite you to check my podcast series “Powerful questions”. Each episode is dedicated to one type of powerful question – a bite-size introduction to the question, what makes it powerful and how you could use that question in your professional and even personal contexts. If you are curious and would like to expand your “questions toolbox”, the series could give you some inspiring ideas.
I hope you find this resource useful in further building your inquiry skills and options and in deepening your leadership impact.
About Turningpoint coach, David Shaked :
David has over twenty years of experience in designing and leading successful change, organizational development interventions and training programs particularly in the areas of strategic planning, efficiency improvement, team building, coaching and leadership development, stakeholder/employee engagement and regulatory compliance. David has been a part of the Turningpoint Coach Community since 2016.
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Turningpoint’s approach to transformation is based on the systemic, appreciative and narrative methods of resource-oriented collective intelligence, as opposed to the more traditional corrective approach. These approaches and tools can be deployed for teams and large groups.
Turningpoint specializes in executive individual and group leadership and coaching and development.