Curiosity, Courage, Growth, Possibility, Vulnerability, Hope
The Power's in the Question
Leigh Johnson | 25 November 2021
"The power of a masterful question lies not in the answers it evokes, but in the deeper questions it conjures up".
- Leigh Johnson
We are taught to believe that the purpose of a question is to produce an answer. And yes, this is one of the outcomes that is possible. However, the true value of a well crafted question is the deeper, ever-evolving thinking and feelings that are produced when we grapple with it. When we are stopped in our tracks, and pulled out of our usual stream of thought by a simple string of words that has been designed to open us up.
These questions contain a balance of three things:
1. A sense of hope and possibility.
Humans are designed to avoid pain and move towards pleasure. When a question contains just enough of a promise of pleasure that we are intrigued to know more, to delve deeper into
2. The hint of a hard truth
This is the ‘hook’ that gets us to engage, the part that creates some pain and discomfort. When we feel a sense of dis-ease, we want to move away from it. The strange truth about human beings is that no matter how tempting something else may be, if we feel content enough with ‘what is’, we will stay where we are. We will stick to the status quo and not risk losing this comfort for something better, unless where we are is uncomfortable enough. And this is what a great question can do.
3. They are challenging.
We know innately that anything truly worthwhile is not going to be easy to come by. And this is no matter how hard modern marketers try to tell us otherwise! We know that buying a cheaper option will most likely mean poorer quality. And so it is with the truths of life. Even if it is unconscious, we know that in order to get to the truth – which is often hidden deep down within us – we will need to work to get there. This is why a really good question, when engaged with properly, will lead us into more questions.
Let’s look at some examples:
- What would it take for you to start creating your dream business?
Hope: there is something I need to do to make this happen – it could actually happen!
Hard truth: it is me that is in the way. I will need to lose something to get this…
Challenge: I have to explore a little deeper into myself and run the risk of not liking what truth I find there.
The questions that this one opens up?
- How could I open up communication between myself and [insert name]?
Hope: ‘How’ means that there are ways to do it!
Hard truth: I have not been doing everything possible. Something in myself is getting in the way…
Challenge: I need to change something/shift in order for this to happen. Going deeper into this question will probably be uncomfortable.
The questions that this one opens up? What is holding me back from doing this? What is at the root of this? What assumptions have I been making?...
These questions are the power tools of any decent and reputable coach. The idea is not to tell someone how to do something, but rather to ask questions that unlock their own answers within themselves!
And the great news is that you can do this for yourself easily too.
I leave you with a favourite quote of mine:
“Look for the answer inside your question”
Author: Leigh Johnson
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