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How to ask powerful questions

Elan Schwartz
Elan Schwartz
  • Updated

What is powerful questioning?

“Powerful questions are open-ended and empower the person responding to choose the direction they take. They create possibilities and encourage discovery, deeper understanding, and new insights. They are curious and non-judgmental as they seek to further learning and connection.” Source

Tip 1: Ask, don’t guess
If you’re not sure you understand, ask the speaker to explain by asking questions that get below the surface. Crafting great questions requires deep listening, curiosity about what they’re saying, and a desire to be helpful.

Tip 2: Ask open-ended questions. Not yes/no questions.
Open-ended questions give others a chance to elaborate or explore the topic further. This allows ideas to “bounce” between you without dominating the conversation.

Tip 3: Use questions to raise awareness
By asking the right questions, you provide an outside perspective that can help others work through a problem and see their issue in a new light. Their answer might already be there, waiting to be discovered.

Examples of Powerful Questions:

  • What challenges have you faced so far?
  • What support did you have?
  • What concerns you about this approach?

Learning to ask powerful questions and honing your ability to actively listen is an important leadership skill that builds on a foundation of good communication and rapport with your colleagues. 

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