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Are you asking the right questions?

[dropcap style=”style3″]T[/dropcap]he art of asking the right questions can determine your effectiveness and influence as a leader. I have come to appreciate the “art of the question” after reading the book entitled “Change Your Questions Change Your Life.” The author, Marilee Adams Ph.D, characterizes individuals by the questions they ask. According to Adams, we fall into two distinct groups: “Judgers” or “Learners.” I would like to share with you my thoughts on this topic.

We seldom take the time to analyze the questions we ask in our day-to-day conversations. Our patterns of communication have been developed over time and have become an integral part of our personality. You are probably wondering, “What does this have to do with whether I am a Judger or a Learner.” I am glad you are thinking this way. How we approach our day is usually based on a “judger” or “learner” frame of mind. We make choices in the way we respond to circumstances and challenges around us from from the perspective and mindset of either a judger or learner. Our choices govern our situational outcomes and impact those around us.

The following commentary has been adapted from the work of the Inquiry Institute and Marilee Adams, Ph.D. Her book entitled Change your Questions Change Your Life should be on your reading list.

Evaluating Your Questions

Let’s assume that something just happened (work or home), now you have to solve a problem. Do this experiment while you think about the situation. First, ask yourself “Judger” questions. (see below). Now take a moment, take a cleansing breath, switch your mindset and instead ask yourself the “Learner” questions (see below). What was it like the second time? What about your mood and confidence? What solutions and possibilities do you see now?35810088_m

Questions influence outcomes

Judger Questions include:
– What’s wrong?
– Whose fault is it?
– What’s wrong with me?
– Why are they so stupid?
– How can I prove I am right?
– Haven’t we been there, done that?
– Why bother?

Results of Judger Questions:
– A mood of pessimism, stress, and limitation
– A mindset that’s judgemental , reactive, inflexible
– Relating with “attack or defensive” behaviours

Learner Questions include:
– What do I want?
– What works?
– What are the facts and what can I learn?
– What are my choices?
– What action steps make sense?
– What’s possible?

Results of Learner Questions:
– Mood or optimism, hope, and possibilities
– A mindset that’s thoughtful, understanding, flexible and curious
– Relating that is connected and collaborative

In conclusion

We really do have the power to influence outcomes. We need to stop and listen to ourselves and frequently ask the question: “Am I in Judger mode?” if yes, hit the reset button and flex into a “Learner” mode. We have the capacity to influence our workplace by the questions we ask. Start today!

Wishing you all a great week!

Committed to your success,


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Inscape Consulting Group
Greg Nichvalodoff, BSc. BM (Honors), MBA, PCC, CMC
Office: 604.943.0800
Mobile: 604.831.4734