Blog Post: The Quickest Path to Better Questions


I pick up my son from school.

  • How was school today?  Good.
  • Did you learn anything new today?  No.

I counsel someone in my office.

  • What do you think the problem is?  I don’t know.
  • What could you do differently?  I’m not sure.
  • Is there anyone who could help you?  I don’t think so.

Powerful questions can make all the difference.

Bill Copper with Coach Approach Ministries shares a story of when he was being coached.  His coach asked him, “Is there anyone who could help you with this problem?”  He thought carefully about this question and answered honestly, “No.”  Later his coach came back to this train of thought.  She changed the question, “Who could help you with this problem?”  Suddenly he was able to name two or three people who could help.

Look at the difference between the two questions:

  • “Is there anyone who could help you with this problem?”
  • “Who could help you with this problem?”

The difference is immense.  You could answer “No” to the first question.  The second question infers that there IS someone who could help.  It is a powerful difference.

  • When was a time you had success in this area?
  • Who do you know who has made progress on a similar project?
  • What is the worst thing that could happen if you take this action?
  • What has stopped you in the past from taking this step?

It can be a struggle to stop asking Yes and No questions.  Make a practice of listening to your questions.  You’ll be surprised how many can be answered with one word.

What is the last powerful question someone asked you?  Give an example of how you could rephrase a question to make it more powerful.

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