Woody Allen fans will likely remember the scene from Stardust Memories where aliens with an IQ of 1600 tell his neurotic character “These are the wrong questions!” (It’s about 1/3 of the way through this clip)
I just had a call from Bank of America’s research company to survey me about how satisfied I am with their service. The call was, from my view as a customer, useless. It was clear that they were after a directed answer to a specific question. So they know that I am not happy about my experience with the branch- but have no idea about why.
For coaches, as well as leaders, questions are the tool of choice. But the questions must be meaningful, and lead to deeper understanding. The leaders who can stay in inquiry mode, asking questions that help to create a deeper understanding of the any situation will engender more engagement from employees. Directed questions get defensive answers- and for leaders, just like for banks, what you do not know will hurt you and your business.
And after all, it was Voltaire who said, “Judge others by their questions rather than by their answers.”
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