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Questions to Improve Communication & Relationships

Updated: Apr 19

I believe questions have the ability to change our world. A sideways concept, maybe, but please stay with me.

Questions enable healthy inspection and adaptation, indicate curiosity, and demonstrate the art of listening. When we ask sincere questions, we seek to understand.

When people feel heard and seen, they tend to let down their defensive guard and allow the opportunity to begin building trust. Asking questions rather than prescribing solutions could make it easier for people to find and embrace objective truths. 

Questions are a powerful tool for gaining clarity, extracting more information and drawing somebody into a conversation.

**But some questions have more grit than others.**

The most powerful questions help to remove judgment and open ourselves to possibility.

When we ask “why” questions, most people feel pressure to justify their actions or at least to provide a socially acceptable answer. “Why” questions often (not always) have us looking outside ourselves for explanations. We get defensive.

When we ask “what” and “how” questions, most people will respond from a place inside themselves, an “internal locus of control.” They own (or at the very least, recognize) their own behavior.

When two humans enter into a conversation in good faith and aware of their personal inventory (values, biases, beliefs), there is a significantly greater chance the conversation will be productive and healthy.

The most effective questions are those spontaneous ones which naturally arise from the conversation however, enhancing your questioning skills and becoming comfortable asking powerful questions will help ensure you embrace the opportunity for deeper learning and understanding.

Clarifying Questions

Can you say more about that?

To be clear, this is what I heard... Is that what you meant?

If I have heard you correctly you …?

Can you help me understand what you mean?

Good Faith Inquiry

How do you think I came to my position or point of view?

What evidence, if presented, would bring you to my side?

Would you be open to sharing your thought process or decision-making process with me?


What will you have when you have what you want?

What would work for you?

What options do you have for moving forward?

What else could you do?

What gets in your way?

What's stopping you?

What's motivating that?

If anything was possible what would be your ideal course of action?

How have you handled this successfully in the past?

Who do you know who has been in a similar situation? How did they handle the situation?

If you were advising a friend what would you suggest?

If you did know what to do what would the answer be?

Stimulate deeper thinking

What are you not facing up to?

What are you pretending not to know?

If you did know the answer what would it be?

What is the real issue here?

What would your best friend be saying to you right now?

What is really important to you?

Building on progress

What is working well right now?

What can you do more of to help you move forward?

How can you ensure this happens again?

On a scale of 1 -10 what progress have you made so far in achieving your goal?

On a scale of 1 -10 where are you in relation to…?

Values & motivation

What is life asking you to do differently right now?

What is currently motivating you?

What is really important to you right now?

What would you like people to say about you?

When things were going well for you what was happening?

When did you last feel energized?

What makes you lose track of time?

What's your truth?

Where could you be more selfish?

Action orientation

What is your way forward?

What's your strategy for that?

Which option most excites you?

What one small action/step are you now going to take?

How are you going to do it?

When exactly will you do it?

What kind of support would be helpful? Who will help you?

On a scale of 1 -10 how committed/motivated are you to achieving this?

How will you ensure you do it?

Where might you be more selfish?

Where did you get stopped?

How could you simplify that?


Powerful Perspective

Questions help us move our energy from below the line in ego (the belief that we are disconnected) to above the awareness line to a powerful perspective.

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