Wouldn’t it be great to be able to ask a question when you’re dealing with a difficult situation with your teenager, your spouse, or at work—a question so powerful that it turns the moment into an occasion for a new idea, a new possibility, and deeper relating rather than more fighting? What does it take to ask questions that change what might otherwise be a continuous no-win argument?
Having a conversation for making a difference takes asking powerful questions. To do this we must get more interested in what the other person is thinking and feeling and ask questions from a place of not knowing the answer.
A great question provokes thinking and emotions that can lead to discovering something new. It can be a crucial step in getting unstuck during challenging situations.
Great questions come from a place of caring and being interested in the other person. When we care about someone, we wonder what they are thinking and feeling. We ask them, and as this happens, both of us relax a bit.
Questions become empowering when we can let go of the need to give answers or advice. Great questions come to us as we become more interested in understanding the other person’s point of view than in proving ours.
Letting go of our thoughts and good ideas in order to be really interested in who we are talking with allows for something new to show up. It brings out both of our brilliance. We can be surprised with the new awareness that comes to light. New possibilities are generated.
When we get out of our “all-knowing” mind and move into the openness of our heart, we can shift an ordinary conversation into one that can make all the difference.
Sometimes it takes letting go of being certain, allowing for the uncomfortable sense of doubt—the possibility that we might not have the best solution.
Can you think of a time when you let go of being so sure of the answer, when you allowed yourself to feel doubtful, and then a whole new opportunity opened up?
When we accept the idea that uncertainty may not be something to fear, we can more fully ask questions from this place of not knowing. Our uncertainty means we won’t be leading the other person toward a particular solution. We can then listen to their responses with our heart and allow for new solutions. This is one of the main ingredients of a conversation for making a difference! And it’s how we empower ourselves, those we work with, and those we love the most.