One consultant shared that he makes a handsome six figure income by simply asking four questions:

     1. What’s going well?
     2. What’s not?
     3. Where are you stuck?
     4. What needs to change?

When this consultant is meeting with an individual or a team, he spends the first half of his time on question #1 “What’s going well?”

He also uses a few follow-up questions – like:

  • Please tell me more?
  • Wow – where did you come up with that idea? What was your strategy? Incredible–please tell me more.
  • How did you build the team to get that done? How did you get everyone on board?  How did you build alignment?  Pure genius!   What else?
  • How did you persuade your clients/customers/members?  I am taking notes – you have a lot to teach me. What else?
  • How did you execute that?  What was the process you followed?  I see now why you are so effective – please tell me more!

How effective do you think this consultant would be if he began with question #2?

All the time spent on question #1 creates a safe encouraging environment for the individual or team to be ready to engage questions #2, #3 and #4!”

Might your tendency be to start with question #2, “What’s not going well?”

How will starting with question #1, “What’s going well?”  increase your effectiveness?

Do you have to be a “subject matter expert” to ask these four questions?

Or could you help a brain surgeon one day, a rocket scientist the next day and the president of a computer software company the day thereafter?

Who really provides the “meat” of conversation?  They do!  You simply ask the four questions with a listening ear!

Who could you help with these four Questions?

  • Yourself?
  • Your team?
  • A work group/task force/committee you are a part of?
  • Your family?
  • A young leader you are coaching?
  • Who else?

tomziglar&bobtiedeWisdom from Tom Ziglar:

When I recently shared these 4 questions on the “Ziglar Podcast” with my friend Tom Ziglar he shared that he is a bit of brain science nerd and asked me if I knew from a brain science point of view why beginning with “What’s going well?” was so wise?  I didn’t!  So I quickly asked Tom to enlighten us?  Tom shared “When the brain is focusing on the positive it produces endorphins – giving the body a sense of well being that in turn creates the perfect frame of reference for taking on challenges and tackling problems!”  Wow – thank you Tom Ziglar!


When I first heard these four questions and the importance of beginning with Question #1 – “What’s going well?” I cringed to think how many staff meetings I had begun in my career by immediately moving to challenges/problems before us without taking time to celebrate and appreciate all the things that really were going well!

Since then I have made it a point to begin many meetings by asking my team to join me in listing the things that are going well that we need to celebrate!

So when are you going to launch your consulting business?


For Valentines how about giving each other the Gift of a Great Conversation?  

The best remedy for marriage conflict is marriage...

Start With Thanks

Excerpted from Aileen Gibb’s just released book THE CONVERSATION EDGE which contains 49 conversation...

The important questions every middle-aged person needs to be asking themselves

Guest Post by Jonathon M. Seidl Originally Posted @ Remember those days watching Kirk Cameron...

Four Ways to Ask Questions Like a Leader

Guest Post by Dan Rockwell (AKA Leadership Freak) Curiosity takes you further than knowledge. The bottleneck...

20 questions for 2020

Guest Post by Jim Whitt If you are old enough, you may remember a game called 20 Questions. Here’s how it...

How Do We Navigate Messy Transitions with Honesty and Grace?

Excerpted from “Making Peace with Change” by Gina Brenna Butz  Change is hard on our hearts. It...

Four Questions Every Leader Should Ask Their Team

Guest Post by Ken Gosnell Originally posted @ Questions are a vital aspect of good leadership....

2 thoughts on “Would you like to know the four questions one consultant uses to make a handsome six-figure income?

  1. And… ask. What else? What else? What else?

    I’ve listened to or read your book 8 times.

    1. Bob Tiede says:

      Wow Jane! That must be a record! Good for you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.