Questioning For Success
We use questioning throughout our lives to check facts, to clarify understanding, to find out information, to challenge individuals or situations, and also to help an individual develop. It is a vital communication skill used in all careers whether in Human Resources when interviewing prospective candidates, whether as a manager in coaching and developing individuals within your team, or as a teacher/trainer to engage and challenge your learners. Therefore this is a key skill that is relevant within your personal and professional lives – effective questioning of your children can help to develop them to become a more inquisitive and independent learner which is essential from Year 9 right up to University and Masters level.
Throughout your education you will have asked your teachers questions and they will of you. When teachers ask questions it is usually for a number of reasons such as to:
- – involve the learner in the lesson
- – increase motivation and interest
- – clarify learner understanding
- – encourage higher order thinking
e.g John, tell me a little more about….. Julie, If you were stranded on a desert island what might you want with you and why? Farinaz, what is the square root of 100. Tim do you agree with Farinaz’s answer? Tim take the square root of 100 and multiply by 7, what is the answer now?
You can see that by asking these types of questions it is ensuring that learners are actively engaged in the class. Questioning ensures they are being kept on their toes and they are being challenged.
When we are interviewing, there are a variety of questions that we may use to establish our preferred candidate for our job vacancy. These may be to:
- relax the candidate
- clarify facts
- establish their motivations
- establish if they possess the necessary attributes for the position
e.g Tell me a little about yourself? When you say you hit your sales target of £25K per month how specifically did you achieve that? What is your motivation, what drives you to perform? What, in your opinion makes an effective team leader?
By asking a selection of questions like the above you will not only engage your candidate in the interview, you will get them talking and, if you listen effectively, you can ensure you probe further on the responses they give you.
When we are coaching and developing our team members we will use questions to help them see their own potential and help them to come up with their own solutions. This will naturally develop them to become more confident in their own abilities and create a more competent and self-sufficient team. Questions that may be used could be to:
- help them see their future success
- assist them to work out their own barriers
- support them to establish their own potential solutions
- help motivate them to take further action
e.g What will success feel like for you once you have achieved this objective? Who or what is stopping you from achieving this objective? What options do you have? When will you have achieved your goal or what will you have achieved by the time I see you next? What are your next steps?
Throughout a coaching session the individual is being asked to think for themselves and identify ways to help themselves. This is very empowering and will actively engage them in the process. So you can see that by developing our ability to question we will naturally engage, involve and interact successfully with people in all areas of our lives.
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