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10 Brilliant Questions to help anyone get unstuck

10-questions-to-help-anyone-get-unstuck-image-by-matthew-broomheadI was reminded of these ten brilliant questions while attending a Frank Daniels coaching weekend course. They are described as Precision Questions and I believe they originate from the area of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming).

As you are a leader interested in influencing others and wanting the best for people, then I thought I would share them with you.

When people get stuck and find it difficult to progress, then they may verbalise their issue using the phrases below. Depending on what they say, will influence the question we use to open up new thinking. As we all know questions are powerful, so asking the most appropriate one is very useful. The sad thing is, unless you have done a decent coaching course or got yourself an experienced Mentor or Coach then you are unlikely to have come across these:

i) “I can never…” phrases

You may hear someone in your team or maybe even yourself start describing an issue by using one of these three phrases:

“I can’t…”

“It’s impossible for me to…”

“I can never…”

If you do hear these, then what if you were to respond by asking one of these three questions to unravel the issue more easily:

  • What would happen if you could?
  • What stops you?
  • Up until now…?

ii) “I have to…” phrases

These five phrases could be described as a “victim mentality” and would precede the actual issue:

“I shouldn’t…”

“I must…”

“I ought to…”

“I have to…”

“I’ve got to…”

If you heard one of these five phrases, then asking one of the following four questions would help the person start to uncover some new insights:

  • What would happen if you did / what would happen if you didn’t?
  • Who says?
  • What else could you do?
  • If you could choose, what would you do?

iii) “They make me…” phrases

And finally, you may have come across someone saying these and wondered the best way to respond:

“She makes me [e.g. Angry etc]”

“He [e.g. Annoys etc.] me”

Below are three simple, but powerful questions to assist the person:

  • How [specifically] does “this” cause “that“?
  • So how have you been making yourself feel like that?
  • How do you make yourself feel like that?

I suggest only using these last two if the person with the issue phrasing them in this way is familiar with personal development and they are aware of the idea that people don’t “do” things to us, we “do” them to ourselves. Unless someone physically touches us then they can’t change the chemicals in our bodies that create “feelings”. It is also very difficult to place pictures in someone’s minds. They are our thoughts, even though they are usually unconscious. It doesn’t seem like we are choosing how to think and feel because it is so automatic. Perhaps we have been thinking that way for so long that we have forgotten that once upon a time when we were younger we did not have that way of thinking about things.

The caveat to all these 10 brilliant precision questions is that they need to be asked while there is a good level of rapport between the questioner and recipient. The more rapport there is the quicker and easier the issue unravels using these simple questions.

It is up to you whether you decide to use some of these questions in the development of your teams. If you do, then feel free to share your results with me.

Matthew Broomhead
“Raising the level of Business Skills in Britain”
Creator of Broomhead Business Channel

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