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Tag: good questions

3D Ideas 929: Answer Smash

Claire writes: “ I wonder if you have got hooked on quiz shows in lockdown?  We love the BBC quiz Richard Osman’s House of Games.  The last round is called answer smash.  You have to identify a picture and a word and then the answer connects the two.  You have to be syllable perfect to win the point.  And the only way to win is to think yourself into the quiz setters mind to understand what they mean.

In conversations, we often ask complex questions where people have to play mind games to understand what we mean.  And if we aren’t word perfect, they will answer the question they hear – that may not serve their thinking.

Great questions come from what we see or hear or sense (or a great question we read in a book or heard someone else asking).  Saying what you see – without judgement – is the most powerful thing you can do.  And it unmashes the smash.”

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3D Ideas 926: Let Go of the Baton

Claire writes: “Zoom world is loved by some and hated by others.  One thing I love is that when I watch coaches coaching, I get the same view as them of the thinker thinking.  My neighbours must be fed up with me saying loudly: ‘Please. Stop. Talking!’”

Coaching is about keeping someone’s thinking in flow so that they feel heard and get new insights into their own stuff. Sometimes that’s by keeping them in flow – sometimes it’s by asking a question from a different place. But what I observe a lot of the time is that the thinker has picked up the baton and is ready to move on… while their companion keeps talking. By the time the coach has stopped talking, a question that was powerful has become less effective. The thinker was sitting waiting for you to let go of the baton so they could speak.

When we are listening to the recording together, I stop it as soon as we see the thinker pick up the baton – in their face.  It’s a bit of a game. And it’s deep learning. At that point the question was 10 out of 10. Then we count down for every word the coach says while they are holding on to the question. What they need to do is let go and let the question do its good work.  That’s what the thinker is waiting for!”

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Ⓒ 3D Coaching Ltd 2021

May be distributed freely.  Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com If you would like to get this by email every week, you can do that here!

3D Ideas 918: Whose Question is it?

Claire writes: “I’ve been listening to people from all over the world having conversations with one another this week – and exploring with them how to work more simply. I’m learning loads.

When people talk with someone about their own stuff, they often ask themselves questions – out loud – and in their head.  This week I have heard a thinking partner answer the question – because they hear it as a request for information. Another thinking partner heard a question and then thought for a long time as they turned it into a question they asked back… which had less impact than the question  the thinker asked themselves. And I heard someone stay silent and allow the thinker to find a way through. It was like watching the thinker squeeze quality ingredients out of a tube.  This was followed by another silence and even more good stuff came out.

Noticing when someone is asking their own question is an art that is hard to learn when you are the thinking partner. You’ll learn it when you’re listening to the radio or watching TV or listening back to recordings of your own coaching.  That’s the place to refine this deep art.  Another way is to commit never to break the silence until someone asks for a question or an observation – whether that’s verbal or visual. My learning this week is that this is much easier to see someone ask for a question – or indeed tell you they don’t want one yet – on Zoom than it is face to face. Try it!”

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3D Ideas 917: I Was There

Claire writes: “Welsh comedian Max Boyce was famous for the phrase ‘I Know ‘Cos I Was There’. Which brings me to the subject of asking questions.

I notice that in conversation, the question-asker will often take time to explain their question to make sure that the thinker understands it.  This can make questions grammatically correct, yes. And also very long! If, like the best questions, yours comes from what you hear or see or sense, then a few words will be enough to provoke more thinking.  Use too many words, and the question loses its impact.  They’ll understand. After all they were there! (And if they don’t understand, they can ask you!)”

Ⓒ 3D Coaching Ltd 2020

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3D Ideas 901: The Problem with Problems

Claire writes: “The problem with using the language of problems or issues in conversations is that there is a hidden assumption that someone has to find a solution.  And that someone is often the person who is perceived to have more power.

What’s your question for today?’ or even ‘what’s our question for today?’ has many benefits. It enables us to get to the heart of the matter more quickly.

I want to talk about having a holiday’ turns into ‘How can I have a week off that gives me enough rest?’

It also takes the pressure off the end. ‘Have we moved this forward?’ is less anxiety inducing than ‘Have we (in any way) solved your problem?’.  And as Amabile and Kramer say in The Progress Principleany progress is progress.”

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Moving from the language of problems to questions brings all kinds of benefits to conversations #coaching

 

3D Ideas 871: Not a problem

Claire writes: ‘Last week I spent a day in the Maths classroom in a secondary school.  I was developing teachers who are using a coach approach with colleagues. There was plenty of learning and a recognition of how much coaching can easily seen to be a way of fixing under-performing teachers. Here’s one picture from the wall display about how Maths can change the world!

When receiving coaching makes someone feel done to, it’s painful for both colleagues and at best can only move things forward in a transactional way.  As long as there is enough trust, there is potential for transformation – when people have deeper insights that will change how they think about something.

The first step is to stop talking about problems that need fixing.  I like to start a conversation asking people ‘What’s your question for today?’.  It’s optimistic and future focused. It shows respect and makes the conversation easier.  And it shifts thinking.”

Ⓒ 3D Coaching Ltd 2019

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3D Ideas 843: The Story I’m Making Up

Arcaion / Pixabay

Claire writes: “What a lot of data flies around organisations

  • anecdotal data – what I tell you about someone else which we pretend originally comes from observable data and may not
  • self reported data – what I tell you about myself
  • imagined data – or as Brene Brown says ‘the story I’m making up about this is’
  • real observable data – what was actually seen

Whether we are simply having a conversation, or are interviewing or coaching, we notice how useful it is to be honest about what kind of data we are discussing. ‘What did you see?‘ is a much better question than ‘what do they think?‘ which leads us to assumptions and stories and more…”

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3D Ideas 790: Punctuation

A very Happy Christmas to you from the 3D Coaching Team. We are shutting up shop on 20th December and will be back on Monday 8th January. Book onto any of our online training before 4pm Wednesday 20th December 2017 and get 15% off.

Claire writes: “Thanks to Julia who responded to last week’s blog – ‘Perhaps we should be talking about jive conversations as well as live ones! Thinking about it – the other thing about music is that the pause is often as important as the note – if you listen to Jacquelin du Pre playing the Elgar cello concerto the wonderful thing that brings it to life is partly the pause or hesitation before a note – it makes it electrifying.’

A great conversation is appropriately punctuated. An electrifying pause brings challenge and insight. An ‘I don’t know what to ask you next’ pause is stilted and make me stop someone thinking. The best interventions are often very short – they just need to keep the thinking flowing.”

© 2017 3D Coaching Ltd
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3D Ideas 776: What’s a question

Claire writes: ‘A question isn’t a question if it contains the answer! ‘

 

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3D Ideas 764: I’m thinking

Claire writes: “Coaching isn’t about telling people what to do. Neither, actually, is mentoring. What you are thinking might be useful. Naturally we switch to questions like ‘Have you thought about…’ ‘Why don’t you…’ ‘What I would do is…’

It might be useful but leading them down your track might not. And you will only know if you ask. Not lead! Then don’t chase it if it isn’t! I was in dialogue with someone this week who was talking about starting a business. He talked a lot about what he was going to be selling. I was listening to the gaps so my question became: ‘As you’re talking I’m thinking about all kinds of questions – who are your customers? where will you find them? what will you say to them? have you done the Maths…?’ I guess that I was sharing my stream of consciousness. Of course he had thought about many – and picked up the one that needed some thinking aloud.”

© 2017 3D Coaching Ltd
May be distributed freely. Please retain contact details: www.3dcoaching.com and send a copy/ link to info@3dcoaching.com  Register here to receive our blog posts every Monday by email

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