We often chide children for asking too many questions, failing to embrace this primal instinct as instrumental to growth, in every aspect of life, be it while growing up, in building relationships or in our mundane business environments.

The art of questioning is no skill monopolised by the likes of journalists, lawyers or investigators. Anyone can benefit from developing tactics in questioning, not only to gain a better understanding but to moreover, spearhead the best possible outcomes.

In our hectic open offices and overcrowded marketplaces, we are almost obsessed with reaching conclusions. We frantically launch products ahead of competitors, failing to realise the importance of pausing to ask the right questions.

Notwithstanding the importance of pausing prior to taking the next step, choosing the right questions can also help save time and draw us closer to the desired destination. And it is here where we need to assess the different outcomes and to hit the sweet spot between efficiency and the perfect outcome.

The art of questioning has equal benefits to start-ups as to seasoned businesspersons taking their final career leap

Asking the right questions has endless benefits for both start-ups, leaders as well as seasoned businesspeople seeking to diversify their already established business. These are just a few:

  1. Understanding the needs of the market
  2. Understanding clients’ frustrations and choosing the right remedial tactic
  3. Ensuring middle management execution is in line with strategy company vision as set out by Board of Directors
  4. CEO’s during board meetings, both with Directors as well as his/her subordinates
  5. Closing the chasm between strategic vision and execution
  6. Developing new business based on changing market trends

An instrument for coaching

As mentioned in point 3 above and as cited in modern business theory, coaching utilises questioning as a manner of developing management.

Modern business psychology postulates questioning rather than bluntly telling employees how they should behave. This allows coaches to extract knowledge from employees, who change their behaviour by drawing their own conclusions, rather than following a set of pre-defined rules.

The right type of question

A badly timed or ill-placed question can have the exact reverse effect as a ‘good’ question. Choosing the right question in any given situations is instrumental in steering one in the right direction

Here are a number of questions to be used in different instances based on the view of the problem and the intent of the question.

Using Open and Closed ended questions, at the right time

Many exalt the concept of ‘open ended questions’ but are they always the right tactic to utilise? Not always, especially when you want to conclude a discussion, move to the next course of action or clarify a point. Inversely, whilst encouraging your team to think outside the box in for instance brainstorming; open ended questions may suit the situation better, enabling a conversation to flow and the ‘creative juices’ to flow.

The importance of tone

Coupled with the right questions, the importance of tone cannot go unmentioned. It does not take a genius to pick up on sarcasm, offence, irony or rhetorical questions. Choosing the right body language and tone go hand in hand with the right choice of question.

Changing a culture

Encouraging employees to ask the right questions is not something one can achieve overnight. As leaders, we should encourage an open culture where team members are neither intimidated nor over-worked to ask more questions and challenge the operational status quo. As we set the agenda of meetings, it is our responsibilities as leaders to encourage a culture which strikes the right balance between challenging yet being proactive – to launch, conclude and make success of projects.


 from start-ups, CEOs to Board Directors

We are here to coach the whole spectrum of professionals from those occupying Board Director roles, Chief level strategic coaching as to ensure there are no gaps between strategy and execution as well as mentoring start-ups as they commence their business venture. Remember Strategy is a Process not a Destination, and The Pace Company are here to help you every step of the way.

The Pace Company – Growth beyond boundaries. One step at a time.

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