Curious questions hold within them the power to change lives. When curious questions are asked by loving human beings, the significance of the questions become exponentially more powerful. What do I mean by ‘curious questions’? I mean questions that come from a place of non judgment, they evoke internal thought and emotion, and offer an environment that gives permission to explore the potential answer.
Three curious questions changed the trajectory of my life, and they happened years apart from one another. The important aspect is that each question offered an empowerment as a byproduct from my internal exploration. I did not realize their power until I became a coach and spent time thinking about my journey, then I connected the dots and realized what had actually encouraged my change to begin.
Question one came from an individual that I would consider to be my first mentor. As a group, we were reading a passage together and he asked me, “Why do you believe the writer thought this information was important enough to include in this?” I must have looked perplexed because he followed it up with, “what does it (the passage) mean to you?” Wait, I’m here to learn this from you and everyone else and you just asked me to work internally for the answer. This self exploration to identify the answer to his ‘what’ question ignited a spirit of curiosity within me that continued to grow as I began to question the world in which I was interacting in.
Years later, another loving human being offered medicine in the form of a curious question. She is my person and I have shared this story before, but never in a timeline format. The question was related to my job at that time. The interesting thing about this question is that it was proposed as a task, which thanks to the empowerment of my previous life-changing question, I was able to ask myself the powerful question needed in order to complete the task. I was asked to “look for the good, because it’s there. You just have to find it.” That night at work, I heard her voice and then shifted it to, “what is good and where is it?” As many of you know, this night created a 180 degree shift in my life. What you may not know, it led me to the next powerful question.
After finding ‘good’ that night, and every other night after, I began to shift perspectives the way the two amazing people have done for me, and this attitude and these actions were being noticed. I was offered opportunities that were not available to me prior to my mindset shift. One of which landed me in a room of fellow innovators learning what is now one of my favorite practices, Design Thinking. It was here that I had my third powerful question from the third loving human being. This person was my greatest mentor and she asked me, “how can you change this?” This question, asked at the right time after the basics of Design Thinking had been provided to us, was like a wind that came in and utilized the previous two questions to turn that internal flame into a wildfire. This question, this timing, this passion awakened me to the need to shift paths by shifting focus. I suddenly had an understanding of who I was and how I can help heal the world, one question at a time.
How did these powerful questions work? More importantly, how could they work for you? Powerful questions work by empowering the audience (the person being asked the powerful question) to not only find the answer within, but to also formulate a plan to meet the exposed objective. Coaching is the understanding that the client already has the answer within them, it is just being hidden by a preconceived idea, a judgment, a paradigm, a situation, a person, or whatever the blocker is. It is our job as a coach to expose these blindspots and to offer our client the empowerment needed to identify the correct course of action. This is done through powerful questions and tools to assist in the development of these new ideas and constructs.
This process leads to the person becoming their best self. The beauty of this journey, the journey of Becoming Your Best Self, is that it never ends. We never reach our “Best Self” because as we grow, as we climb, as we become more loving human beings sharing our gifts with the world, as we reach these new heights, the more fine tuning we realize are available for us to work on. It’s as if we continue to remove a layer of the onion, only to expose the next, and this process is continuous. The outcome is that we continue to become a better version of ourselves and continue to be better than we were yesterday. This becomes our new understanding and this is what creates the Ubuntu mentality within us all- I am because we are.
I am because of the many that have helped me throughout my journey, and this plural understanding of life, of me, offers hope and love. This is what I offer you today. So, I ask you, when was the last time you were asked a powerful question by a loving human being?
Be well, Be love,