A dear friend from Brooklyn asked me this when we last saw each other:
Snark aside, he’s not far off: the power of coaching lies in asking powerful questions that people haven’t yet asked themselves, and then helping them uncover and make sense of their answers. These questions are designed to dig deep and get to the bottom of what’s going on in any situation. And here’s some good news — you don’t have to be a coach to reap the benefits of asking powerful questions.
I want to share with you one of these high-impact questions. It’s super simple, low-risk, and incredibly versatile. You can use this question to take your personal and work relationships to new heights, get lit-up about your work, un-suck your meetings, and set up your days (and nights) for fabulous success.
The question goes:
What do you want to get out of our conversation / this relationship / this job today?
What’s your intention for our meeting / our marriage / our friendship?
Follow that with:
And how can I support that?
The power in this question lies in its ability to get people to connect deeper to their intentions. Intention setting is powerful because it primes our brains to notice the people, actions, and opportunities that can bring about our intentions, once they’re stated (Daniel Siegel explains this concept in his book, The Mindful Brain). Whoa.
Asking this simple question has a couple of powerful benefits, some that last long after asking it:
For one, it ensures that the conversation is focused, and that all parties are aligned and on the path to get where they need to go — this is especially useful when the conversation starts to get off track, or when there are multiple people involved. I start every coaching session by asking it, and recommend anyone running a meeting to ask it to ensure everyone is aligned from the beginning.
Another beautiful bonus of asking this question is that the other person feels truly cared for. By asking this question and really listening to the response, you give your friend/partner/colleague the gift of authentic curiosity, which I find energizes people and allows them to think more creatively and gain clarity.
Simply put, asking this question strengthens your relationships and the trust in them.
Lastly, I recommend regularly asking yourself this question: Start your day by writing down what you intend to accomplish (feel free to dig deeper and go beyond your regular to-do list).
Ask it also of yourself before you catch up with an old friend. Before a date night with your love. Before a feedback session with your business partner. You get the idea.
Somehow, you’ll begin to magnetize your desired outcomes more easily, simply because you’re focusing on them consciously from the very start. Amazing how powerful that can be.