As a personal coach, I use pointed and thoughtful questions to help my clients gain more clarity about themselves and to help me better understand my clients and their goals.
I generally ask open-ended questions that can’t be answered with a simple “yes” or “no” so that the client is encouraged to dig deeper and uncover answers they may not have realized previously. Often after I ask a question, a client will say, “I’ve never thought about that before.” Once they ponder the question and their feelings about it, it can lead to a profound insight or an “ah ha” moment.
Even in social or casual settings, asking the right questions can stimulate deeper and more interesting discourse. It can set the stage for discovering common interests, developing a more authentic connection, and fostering mutual empathy and understanding.
There is an art to asking good questions. No one wants to feel as though they’re in a job interview or being grilled for information. A big part of asking questions is listening mindfully to the reply in order to hear beyond the words spoken.
Mindful listening requires watching body language, hearing tone of voice, and being sensitive to what is left unspoken. It also requires asking thoughtful follow-up questions or making reflective or supportive statements. By learning to ask good questions and taking the time and interest to listen mindfully, you are setting the stage for more intimate, fulfilling, and enjoyable relationships.