Turning Things Around Together

Guest Post by Aileen Gibb

In my most recent book The Conversation Edge, I outlined five elements of conversation:

  1. Connecting
  2. Caring
  3. Curiosity
  4. Clarity
  5. Completion

To be honest I chose these five elements mainly to give some structure to my book and as a way to categorise the 49 daily practices I suggest for better conversations.

Little did know how much the coronavirus pandemic would change our global conversations  – and how quickly we’d find ourselves asking very different questions around these five elements.

One meaning of the word conversation is ‘to turn things around together’ and turning things around at this time starts with asking different questions together.  We don’t have answers for this moment in time. With the five elements in mind I offer the following questions as inspiration to you and your team to explore together.


  • Who needs to connect with whom?
  • Who is feeling disconnected and what can we do about that?
  • How do we make time to connect with our community?
  • What connections are most at risk and what steps can we take to strengthen and safeguard them?

CARING:  Questions like:

  • How are you doing?
  • What’s worrying you today?
  • What do you need?
  • How can I help?

Are powerful ways to show you care about someone else. In our normal busyness we don’t always slow down enough to ask these questions or to really listen to the reply before dashing off to our next commitment. These times invite us to stand still long enough to create genuine moments of caring questions and generous listening.


A powerful way to frame your questions at this time is to open with words such as “I’m curious to hear/understand….”. Curiosity helps trigger the creative brain cells and even by asking a question in this way you’ll be lifting people’s sprits around you. Engaging in this way also gives people a sense of feeling valued and reminds them of their contribution even amongst the chaos. Here are some questions to experiment with:

  • I’m curious to hear how the pandemic is affecting you?
  • I’m curious to learn more about how you are approaching this challenge?
  • What are you most curious to hear how you are leading differently because of the pandemic?
  • I’m curious about what questions you might be asking your Staff? Colleagues? Customers/Clients? Family? Friends?

Personally I find strength in curiosity. It keeps me out of fear and judgement and helps me keep an open mind as to what’s possible.


Oh my, wouldn’t we all like this storm to clear and to see a clear path ahead? I encourage you to ask your team and your family lots of questions using the word “clear” so that you get clearer on small steps and to open up their minds that clarity can be found even amidst the chaos:

  • What’s become clear to you in this moment about this time?
  • What do you wish was clearer to you at this time?
  • What would help you gain clarity about how to more forward during this time?
  • What steps might you take to gain that clarity?


Whilst this journey is to some degree just beginning and far from complete, I urge you to slow down enough amid the chaos to give your team, family and friends a sense of completion and fulfilment with even the small things they achieve daily. Take time to finish your questions and your conversations. A simple question like : “Does our conversation feel complete to you?”  will ensure you are giving each person the attention they need and not rushing on too quickly to the next thing.

Asking new questions is key to opening up new conversations. And as one of my favourite podcast hosts, Sam Harris said recently: “Conversation may be the only tool we have to get major change happening in the world.”  I might add that the questions we ask are the real tool behind those conversations that turn things around.

Note from Bob:  You will want to get both of my friend Aileen Gibb’s books today:

Asking Great Questions

The Conversation Edge





Aileen Gibb


Aileen Gibb is a Master Coach and Facilitator of Conversations, who asks the questions that need to be asked to inspire personal, organisational and societal change. She believes in creating new futures through new conversations which shift life and leadership. Her books ASKING GREAT QUESTIONS and THE CONVERSATION EDGE are an essential toolkit for all walks of life, inviting daily practices on a small scale with the power to impact on a large scale. Aileen is inspired by the landscapes of both her Scottish homeland and her adopted home in Alberta, Canada. Opportunities to work with Aileen can be found @InspirationCoach.CoachesConsole.com or by emailing her at AileenGibb@icloud.com


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