in     by Mary Britton 30-10-2015
  1. Can you ask better questions?

“The failure to ask questions, allows us to operate with a distorted sense of reality. Sometimes they’re afraid of asking dumb questions, but what they don’t realize is that the dumbest questions can be very powerful. They can unlock a conversation.”      

Being a leader does not mean knowing all the answers, it means asking better questions. Starting with your own internal processes, try noticing what sort of questions you ask yourself.

The quality of your thinking affects the quality of your speaking; builds your presence, and calibrates the effect which you have on others. In turn all of these generate the actions which you take and, as a leader, the actions which others take following their interactions with you.

Questions improve the quality of your thinking. Improving the quality of your thinking improves the quality of the actions generated, which improves results.


  1. Can you stay with the questions longer: and maybe in different ways?

“It is not that I'm so smart. But I stay with the questions much longer.”

Albert Einstein

Your brain is the result of centuries of evolution, and contains within it different brain structures – which give rise to different aspects of thinking.

Your brain processes information in different ways. Albert Einstein was a great exponent of using the power of your whole brain when seeking to solve a problem. He used the analysis tools of the logical brain – availing himself of the facts and the figures involved – and he used the creative brain – by day-dreaming, sleeping on it, or allowing his ‘what ifs’ free rein. For example he conceived the notion of curved space (which forms a cornerstone of his theory of relativity) by imagining himself sliding down a beam of light. Whatever your problems, issues, vexing ambiguities, releasing your ability to think further, better and in more than one way will shed new light on both those issues and paradoxes and on your own habitual ways of thinking and acting.

3.    Can you grow your ability to listen for greatness?

Coaches listen for greatness. It is our job to walk alongside our clients listening for what is great about them, for their potential, for all the possibilities contained within them and the context they are working with.

In 2004 Steven Covey amplified his seminal seven habits series with a new piece of thinking. (“The 8th habit”, Steven.R.Covey, Free Press, NY,2004) In this work he addressed the ‘pain’ of 21st century organisations, facing the new paradigm of knowledge workers who must be less managed and more led to express their ideas and take innovative action. He identified the need for every leader to find their own authentic voice, and then to work towards freeing up and listening to the unique voices of each team member.

Listening for the greatness of your team members and colleagues changes everything. There’s no more favouring team member x ‘s ideas over team member y’s: now there’s a persistent commitment to understand all points of view. An emerging understanding that there is always more than one way to see things, and that fresh perspectives offer fresh possibilities, configurations and outcomes.

If you'd like more information , or to consider your own responses to these questions , just be in touch?