Problems are Questions Unsolved

‘Problems are questions that are unsolved ’_Tony Robbins

Thinking about throttling that employee? What if you are looking for a way to break through and connect to a difficult employee and I say to you- use questions, what would be the first thought that crossed your mind? You’re crazy! Or, what does asking questions have to do with a difficult, disengaged employee?! I would answer- everything that you’re seeking!

Want to solve a challenge at work or home? Here are a few reasons why questions are the solutions to getting answers for problems at work or home.

quote03Asking the right question at the right time can:

  1. Get the answers you’re seeking
  2. Reveal people’s perspectives
  3. Influence people to change from inside out
  4. Get more buy-in to you and the idea from your team
  5. Clear up misunderstandings
  6. Prevent misunderstandings
  7. Help to understand resistance to transitions
  8. Prevent resistance to transitions when used first

How do you know what kind of question to ask?

Use AADCA- our acronym for the 5 different types of questions to ask:

  1. A- Assumptions.  Check your assumptions about the situation.  Ask questions to help your employees recognize their assumptions.
  2. A-Awareness.  Create awareness of the impact assumptions or a particular perspective have on the person and the organization.  Ask questions designed to achieve an increase in awareness on the part of the people with whom you interact.
  3. D-Discover Solutions.  Do stay out of the ditch by steering your employees to look for solutions rather than be crippled or held hostage by the circumstances they face.
  4. C-Change.  Ask questions of your employees what they would need to change first before they can successfully put in place their solutions.
  5. A-Action.  Always get your employees to identify what they will be doing based on the session.  Then get them to identify when they will do it and when they will follow-up with you.

For each of the above 7 benefits for asking the right question at the right time and the 5 different types of questions to ask, what will you be doing differently in your place of work? Please write your comments below.

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16 Replies to “Problems are Questions Unsolved”

  1. Today’s session made me realize that I am not very good at silence and I believe I tend to offer to finish peoples sentences. This week I am going to try and practice getting more comfortable with silence. It’s funny but I tried once already this morning and the staff member I was talking to actually said “Lori say something!” This proved to me that I DO finish sentences and made me aware that this is going to take some time for people to adjust to my changing style. I am excited to find out how it will go!!

    Have a great week!

    1. This is a great example Lori of the power of awareness at play- good on you for testing out the use of silence! You are bang on-people will need time to get used to you not always saying something and actually allowing them to speak without being interrupted. Best wishes ahead as you practice what you are learning in the course. Also, I encourage you to teach and coach your team on what you are learning. Best way to reinforce learning. Thanks and have a great rest of the week!

  2. I started my day off with a fun field trip and tested my assumptions out on three different levels. As usual with assumptions they can be risky business but I did not let that deter me from success. Instead of assuming that my co worker would be happy with my plan I went to her and showed her on paper what was ahead for her , she gave me feedback as to her comfort level and I was quickly able to adjust the group to suit her needs. Previiously I have been confused if I plan an outing and staff express concern about some group dynamics. I think this may have been due to an assumption on my part that they would feel fine about the plan if I made it. This assumption on my part caused me some stress. in the past but not today! Cathy

    1. Cathy, what a great story you have here! This is really a powerful example behind the topic of this post- problems are questions unsolved. If we do what you did more often- we would all have many more stress-free days! Well done on your part and I encourage you to keep coaching!

  3. I will be practicing asking questions so that staff will have input and more buy in to the end decision. I have been trying this already and I have a plan for our next staff meeting this is really exciting!

  4. Learning about the 7 benefits for asking the right question and the 5 different types of questions has been very informative for me. Now that i have this info this week i have tried to be more aware when speaking with co-workers. I have taken the time to prepare, ask questions that encourage them to find solutions without me always being the one talking.
    Thankyou looking forward to next week.

    1. Hi Teresa, This is great effort on your part- actually taking the time to prepare and ask questions- good stuff! What will happen when you continue this practice is the staff gets used to it and start modeling the same behaviour you are demonstrating to them. You will find your days and weeks go by with a greater sense of accomplishing your goals and dare I say it? less conflict/tension in the workplace. Keep coaching!

  5. I know that sometimes I am guilty of thinking that the staff should know how to do something, I think we are all guilty of making assumptions about their abilities. By being aware of this, I will be better able to help them going forward. Perhaps checking in with them to see if they truly do know, & what they can do if they don’t.

    1. Hi Suzanne,
      Great observation on your part! I know especially when the business of the day gets ahold of us the tendency is to lead with assumptions. Good on you for recognizing the need to just stop, check in with them and ask those simple yet powerful questions. Wishing you the best for the week!

  6. I am very much the person who always jumps to ask “why”? This weeks lesson was helpful for me to understand that asking why makes people defensive. I have practiced using other questions instead of why, it was tricky at first to have to think before I word my questions but I think in time it will bet easier.

    1. Thanks Sharla! You are not alone in how ‘why?’ is often used. Notice, it takes a moment to pause and think- this is what the silence does- it really helps you think more clearly and better able to support your team overall. Keep practising and as you rightly noted-it will become easier! Keep coaching.

  7. Brenda Gill – I was a little late viewing last weeks presentation,but as I watched today I realize that I ask a lot of why questions. “Why do you feel that is, why do you think…, why, why, why. Moving forward I will be more conscious of using the other forms of questions. Upon reflecting on past coaching sessions I believe I tend to offer my opinion instead of allowing the staff a chance to work it out. I use the following statements; In the past I have found.., I had a similar situation and I…, Too much “I”
    I need to sit back relax and embrace the silence and wait for the staff to communicate with me. Looking forward to tomorrows session.

    1. Brenda, this is powerful insight on your part! Once you practice using the other forms of questions and silence- you will be pleasantly surprised by the ingenuity that comes out of your team! Things you never would have thought about they come up with- this is what happens when we provide the space, the environment for people to grow and contribute to the pool of shared information. Thanks for sharing!

  8. I will work on asking the right questions to help the person figure out what they need to do, and I won’t answer my questions for them! I will stay quiet so they can reflect on their own answers.

    1. LOL:) Take comfort knowing you are not alone in answering your own questions-I have seen many people do exactly what you described. You are ahead as you now are aware and know what to do to correct this behaviour in order to get the best out of your team. Thanks for sharing and keep coaching!

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