What is the aim of the exercise?
This exercise aims at raising awareness of the power that powerful questions can have. Sometimes the counterpart doesn’t need you to provide input or to relate to their story. Asking a powerful question can kick-start reflection in new, unexplored ways and thereby give space for new opportunities and ways of thinking. Participants practice vulnerability (by sharing a current challenge), active listening, open-mindedness, and asking powerful questions.
In what context is this exercise useful?
To support building better relationships. Whether you’re a manager leading a team, a parent raising a child, or a friend asked for advice, someone in the world might be looking to you to help guide them on a path. When this happens we jump into the role of a coach. Great coaches inquire: asking powerful questions to uncover what’s really important, then enable others to tap into their own knowledge and expertise. This exercise is especially useful after exploring active listening, as one can directly apply active listening skills to support you with the right questions.
Preparation time: 10 min
Online / Onsite: Both (check online option at the end of the document)
Workshop time: 1h 45 min
Ideal group size: 12/18 (groups of 6)
Contact of Workshop Developer: [email protected]
Equipment and tools needed:
Activity & Format
Check-in and Session Introduction
Start with answering the check-in question by yourself and then hand the word over to someone else, allowing everyone to share. Nice start for hearing all the voices in the room.
- Start creating the space for the reflections and conversations of today: you can ask the audience if they are used to receiving or giving powerful questions.
What challenges are you facing?
What matters to you right now?
What opportunities are you seeing?
Ask these to shift focus from what’s wrong to what’s possible:
What is the best possible outcome?
What are you trying to achieve?
What do you want to happen next?
What does success look like?
How will you know if you’ve succeeded?
Ask these to generate ideas:
What have you tried?
What options do you have? How possible is each option?
What would you have to believe for this option to be right?
Define next actions.
Ask these to clarify what should happen next:
What data/information do you need to make a decision?
What action can you take now?
What are you taking away from this conversation, as a next step or new way of thinking?
What support do you need? Where will you get it?
If there was no previous workshop about active listening before, help the audience to remember some important points of active listening.
Think of Challenge
Formation of Groups
Exercise Powerful Questions
- One cycle: 4 min sharing, 3 min thinking and posing powerful questions.
For each of the two groups one facilitator keeps the time and reminds them when to stop sharing and when to rotate.
- Facilitate the discussion into the feelings/ sharing/ impressions of the participants.
- You can ask them how their sharing time was; how this exercise made them feel, what stood out for them, what were the insights, what they have learned about themselves and about others.
- Don’t forget at the end to ask what were the key take-aways from the session.
- Provide logistical info about the next planned workshop (if any) or any necessary announcement.
- Check-out question: For example, get each person to say what they are leaving with from this session.
- Thanking people for joining and closing the session.
You can provide a document or in your preferred way the opportunity for them to provide feedback from this session.
Make sure to prepare yourself beforehand by for example meditating and being ready to give all your attention & empathy to the session. Focus on the present moment, speak slowly and clearly, breathe a lot and smile.
Also try to make it personal and share with your audience your experiences and how powerful questions helped you down the road!