On a teleseminar for our future Remarkable Leadership Certified Coaches and Resellers (if that thought intrigues you, let us know and we will tell you about the benefits and when the next session starts) last night I urged them to become collectors of questions.
This is an important idea, one that few coaches and leader think about. If you want to ask great questions (and there are probably 20 reasons we should all want to do that), you need to have great questions at your fingertips (and more than just a few).
I gave them five steps to do start their collection:
1. Think of a time when you use questions, and write five new ones now – questions you could use in that situation.
2. Create a place to collect them. A Journal, in your PC, on note cards – you decide, just do it!
3. Identify, find or create one question each day (starting now) – this is the best long term collection strategy.
4. Categorize them – identify the times and situations you use questions as a coach, leader, parent, co-worker, etc. and group questions for those uses. (Make a category for powerful questions to ask yourself too!)
5. Use them – some people collect figurines, memorabilia (or even tractors) mostly for the exercise of the collecting. This collection is different. This is a collection for use!
After that discussion one of the participants asked me how I “find” questions to add to my collection.
Since I’ve been in collection mode for so long, it was hard to answer at first, but let me share at least a few ideas here:
- Listen to other people’s questions. When you like them, write them down.
- Look and listen for nuance. There can be big differences in results from questions that are different by just one word – collect them all.
- Listen to and watch for statements and quotations that make you think. Often in the statement is the core of a great question.
- Watch and observe great interviewers. While their purposes might be somewhat different than yours, Charlie Rose, Larry King and Barbara Walters, to name just a few, are great people to learn from (and take great questions from).
This is by no means a complete list, but it is one that I hope will help you to start and build your question collection. If you have an additional idea – or a great question to share, I’d love to your comments!