6 Powerful Benefits of Leading With Questions

ask vs tell coaching leadership Feb 16, 2022

Ask Vs Tell

The coach approach to leadership is based on the premise that asking questions is significantly more effective than telling others what you think they should do. It is a powerful approach with more than one benefit.

Here are 6 powerful benefits of leading with questions:

  1. It stimulates thinking and new ideas
  2. It supports discussion and transparency
  3. It fosters accountability
  4. It inspires action
  5. It builds relationships and trust
  6. It builds confidence

Think about this: What are your physiological and mental responses when someone asks you a question? Does your mind jump into action working to formulate your thoughts? Do you feel a surge of confidence knowing that the other person wants to hear your perspective?

Now think about a time when someone told you what to do. What were your physiological and mental responses? How did you feel: less confident, defiant, or annoyed? Every time you tell someone else what to do (instead of coaching them by asking), you could be making them feel that way too.  

There are so many positive physiological and mental responses to being asked a question. And it’s never too late to start leading with questions. There’s never a bad time to stimulate solution-based thinking, foster accountability, build confidence, and inspire action in others.

With this post comes a simple challenge for all current and aspiring leaders: Ask more questions. The best way to summon great questions to your mind is to become genuinely curious about what others are thinking.

Here are some example questions to get you started:

  • What would you like to achieve?
  • Why is this important?
  • What are a few things you could do to reach your goal?
  • Which option will best help you meet your goal?
  • How will you overcome potential roadblocks?
  • What, specifically, will you do and when?

Finally, here’s a question for you: now that you know some of the benefits to leading with questions, what are some ways you can start incorporating them into your leadership style? 

These tips are just the beginning of a longer conversation about the coach approach to leadership. For more insights, practice worksheets and expert guidance, join our monthly eLeaderHUB program

About the Author

Sandra McDowell, MA, PCC, CPHR, SHRM-SCP

As the founder and voice behind eLeadership Academy™, Sandra McDowell helps leaders and organizations increase performance and well-being by leveraging insights from cognitive science to harness the untapped power of the brain.

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