Why when I smile do you smile back at me?

asking connection heart Dec 01, 2018

Such a simple, yet powerful question asked to me by my 3 1/2 year old this morning at breakfast. So many great answers came to mind; from the simple to the complex. But most surprising to me, was the power of this simple question in terms of grabbing my attention, evoking my passion, and making me feel alive. Often it is the simple questions that elicit the greatest thinking.

Although my son had his own reasons for asking the question and was not asking with an intention to foster my thinking, the simple act of ‘asking’, rather than ‘telling’ was the segue to a great conversation.

Are ‘why’ questions ok when coaching?

Another interesting thought to ponder about this question. There is much debate over the use of ‘why’ questions when coaching. I have a personal opinion about this that others may or may not agree with. I believe that when ‘why’ questions are asked from a place of curiosity (and not judgement), they can serve as a catalyst for great thinking. Much like my son’s question today; he was simply curious. In terms of being an effective coach and leveraging my own ability to ask powerful questions to move my coachee forward, I rely heavily upon my curiosity. When I tap into my curiosity, great questions come to mind. Sometimes these questions begin with ‘why’, and when asked, often evoke the feelings of passion for my coachee that my child elicited from me this morning. But, (and there is often a ‘but’), I do offer this thought with some caution. I believe that ‘why’ questions should be handled with care, and used sparingly.


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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