Guest Post by Colin Boyd

I think all great leaders are exceptional at asking good quality questions.

I’m going to show you the secret to asking a good quality question…

The other day, I was running a Coaching Skills for Managers workshop. I was teaching them how to be coaches as a leader. One of the skills of a great coach is their ability to ask exceptional questions.

What do people really want? People want answers. But to get an answer, you have to ask a question. The problem is, people ask really dumb questions!

For example, have you ever asked yourself the question: ‘Why is this always happening to me?’ And the answer comes in your head: ‘Because you’re an idiot.’ Or something like that. When you ask a dumb question, you’re going to get a dumb answer. So you need to learn how to ask really good quality question.

The secret to asking a really good quality question is a presupposition.

A presupposition is a linguistic assumption that helps someone move forward. For example, if I were a leader in an organisation and I were to ask ‘Can you do that?’ — there is no presupposition in that question. If I were to ask that question with a presupposition, I would say, ‘How can you do that?’ There’s an assumption in that sentence that they can do it; they just have to work out how.

Another example is, you might say ‘Is this working?’ — but a presupposition would be ‘How is this working for you?’ There’s an assumption in that sentence that it is working for them on some level.

Learn to ask good quality questions that helps to move someone forward.  for example ‘How can we turn this around?’ or ‘What would be a great outcome in this situation?’ or ‘What is the one thing that we could do right now that would make the biggest difference?’ These are all really good quality questions because there are presuppositions or linguistic assumptions in those questions that assume that there is a solution, that we can move forward, that we can make progress.

So think about this….”what is the linguistic assumption that you want to insert in your sentence to move the person forward”. So that  if they accept the linguistic assumption, that question becomes more powerful.

If you can ask really good quality questions with linguistic assumptions in them that actually help people to move forward, you will become a more effective leader. 

I trust this has been valuable. Please like it and tweet it.

My Question of you: What’s a great quality question that you use in meetings or as a leader with people? Please comment below.

Colin BoydColin Boyd is a leadership expert for medium to large corporations. He arms everyday leaders with game-changing leadership strategies. He believes most leaders are promoted to leadership but not equipped properly for it. This is where he steps in. His workshops, keynotes and coaching sessions have been field-tested over 10 years and leave a positive mark every time. He is warm, insightful, and his drive is contagious. After a session with Colin, his clients never go back to ‘business as usual.’ They go back to work with absolute clarity… and a game plan to implement. You can connect with Colin ColinBoyd.com.au/

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