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Practice Makes Perfect Questioners!

Practice, Practice, Practice!

In our training programs I will usually end up the session by advising participants of the three P model. As I start to talk about this, people usually grab their pens ready to write down what the model is and then smile at me when I explain that it is simply to:

PRACTICE!
PRACTICE!
PRACTICE!

I often say that workshops can be like a ‘day spa experience’ which means you go along, have a good time and then go back to doing what you’ve always done – not very inspiring! So my advice to practice is to counteract this from happening to ensure that the opportunities presented at the workshop are maximised and turned into beneficial results.

I was so heartened over the past two weeks to hear from people that had recently participated in my training programs as they shared some situations where they had PRACTICED PRACTICED PRACTICED and immediately used the skills learnt to great effect.  One person had used it in a really simple scenario where their colleague had approached them for advice and they remembered to turn this around and asked a Better Question. This resulted in their colleague being able to tap into their own resourcefulness and come up with their own effective answer as to what they needed to do.

Another person advised me how they had used it with their two year old son. During the workshop they had expressed concern about whether it was likely to be effective with such a young child, and my advice is usually, that whilst there will be undoubtedly be times when telling is the way to go, that starting to use a questioning approach as soon as possible with children will be highly beneficial for the child.

Anyway, the situation that was advised to me was as follows:

A day or so after attending the Better Questions workshop the parent was doing a puzzle with their son and the son was having trouble connecting the puzzle pieces. The parent realised that they needed o step in to do some ‘telling’ and showed him how to do it. They then let him have another go but he was having trouble with another aspect and was saying, ‘I can’t do it.’ The parent persisted by saying ‘you can do it’ but he continued with ‘I can’t’. The parent then tried ‘We can do it together’ and he jumped right in. The next time, he did it himself!
No wonder I love teaching this skill.

The last situation that was shared with me was where a manager was going into a team meeting and needed to advise his team of a change that was taking place and he was ready to simply provide the details by way of an update together with instructions about how to go about making the change. However, because of the training in Better Questions he decided that once he advised the team of the change he would then simply ask questions to engage his team in thinking about and finding their own solutions as to how to best approach the situation.

He reported that his team enthusiastically participated in the discussion about the change and how they could implement it and actually came up with a number of ideas that the manager admitted he would never have thought of if it had been done his way. He said that he was so surprised by the level of engagement demonstrated by his team in response to him using Better Questions that he intended to keep using the approach going forward.

Of course I must say WELL DONE! to these amazing people for taking on board the Better Questions message and most importantly for being prepared to try it out in practice.

What will you do differently this week?


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