Which Question Should I Ask Now?

By Susan West
Women as Leaders
Which question should I ask now?
I love questions. I have even started to collect my favorite questions in a folder. Maybe it is my love of learning, maybe it is my training as a coach, maybe it comes from being a Mom – I am not sure which has contributed more to my affinity for questions.

What I do know is that more often than not when I ask a question I receive more information than I expected. So before I know it, out comes another question.

My favorite questions are those referred to as open ended. Often I find myself having to restate a question to present in in an open ended manner. I do know my training as a coach has certainly enhanced my skill in asking the “right” questions.
As a leader managing a large staff questions became a great resource tool for me to uncover the real state of a project, the satisfaction level of my customers and what motivated my team. Even though my agendas for meetings reflected typical topics such as project updates, customer concerns, etc. I always had the questions I wanted to ask outlined before the meeting.
Some of my favorite questions include:

What can I do to support you?
What do you need from me?
How can we add more value?
What can we do to be more effective?
How can we communicate more effectively?
How are we doing in meeting project dates?
How are we doing in meeting client expectations?
Where might we improve?

Questions have become a powerful tool for me as a leader. I encourage you to gather your favorites and begin to use them more in your staff meetings, client meetings and employee meetings. You will be amazed with the information that questions asked in an open-ended, probing style will reveal.
Questions beginning with How and What are the most effective. A great resource on questions is one of my favorite books, QBQ – Question Behind the Question. I recommend this book for all managers and leaders.

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