What I love about growth-promoting questions


What is one of the most growth-promoting questions
you have ever asked or been asked?

What made or makes it so significant for you or another?


If you have been around for any length of time reading these posts, you would know that my mind rarely stops coming up with new ideas. 

A partial list of today’s “Connections” ideas includes:

·      Partnership

·      Letters

·      Beginning Anew

·      Forgiveness

·      Starting Over

·      Failure

·      Learning from Experience

We can look forward to future posts on these topics; maybe the list will whet your appetite.

Joyce White WhitesSpace How Failure Fuels Transformation

Why Camp Out on Growth-Promoting Questions?

Remember those journals (electronic or hard copy) we have encouraged the use of previously?  Here is our rationale for reflecting and writing upon these questions.

When we invest the time in extracting the gold in one of these questions we posed or was posed of us, two things happen:

1.     We are reminded of its previous merits.

2.     Having refreshed our appreciation of it, we can then examine its many facets for another go-round.  If it was so valuable then, surely there is more gold hidden within in it to re-purpose for today’s growth opportunity.

The Context for My Discovery

I hold the belief that a good coach must be coachable, teachable, and typically a practitioner of the methodologies he or she espouses for clients. This is a value and trademark many of my mentors ingrained in me by both their words and their example. 

In that line of thought, I regularly call on others for coaching and mentoring and am always the better for it.  One coach comes to mind whose series of questions led me to dig deeply, think seriously, and write extensively.  This earnest work laid the foundation for much fruit to be harvested in our future work.

The Pivotal Question

“Is there anything else it would be good for me to know in order to be most helpful to you in our work?” she asked.

I can’t count the times that I have posed this question in my mentor and coaching career. This time I was the beneficiary of its brilliant illuminating potential.   

My instant reply was “Yes.  Remember to ask me this question often: “If you were coaching or advising someone facing a similar situation as yours, what would be your best counsel for them?” 

The question was relevant for multiple reasons.

1.     Each of us has a deep well of wisdom within that simply needs to be accessed and listened to—usually by us most of all—and then acted upon. 

2.     It usually takes another person to pose the question for us to hear ourselves.

3.     I can be slippery in avoiding change along with the best!  When I gave her this question, I gave her an entry point to break a gridlock in some cases and to accelerate our work at others. 

Another Favorite

At family and friend gatherings alike, I love to propose a conversation where we share “What’s one thing you are grateful for?”

I often hear parents say that their teenagers won’t engage in conversation at the table, yet I see the young people in our midst share earnestly when they are included in this dialogue and when they see the “adults” take the conversation seriously and share openly and sincerely.  They might not share much the first or second time that they are asked, but they get the hang of it quickly.  I am always blessed to hear for what each person is grateful.  I am privileged and grateful to hear these gems placed on the table for others to see.

Would you be willing to set aside a few moments to answer this question in your journal?

One More

Here’s a rich one.  “What is one experience you have had and what have you learned from it?”

If we take that Purposeful Pause we encourage, what came up for you?  What is the experience and lesson learned?  Would you please take the time to makes some notes in your journal about this?

There’s gold in these reflections. Let’s extract some of it!

Questions matter. What are your favorites?

What is the question that has shed light for you or another, penetrated a gridlock, advanced your learning and application, or simply prompted a fun dialogue?

What benefit have you seen for yourself or another as a result of the inquiry that it prompted?

 here’s my challenge…

Today, if you are willing, let’s try something new.  Not only am I inviting you to mindfully consider the questions, I invite you to send us some or all your written answers (via your comment below) once you have done the reflection and writing.  Here’s the rationale:

1.     Your thoughts can be circulated at no cost to benefit others—you can “Pay it Forward” as the movie inspired us to do some years ago by using this forum to share with me. With your permission I will pass on to others either anonymously or with credit to the source.

2.     We can all learn more by our “collective pool of wisdom” than we can on our own. A main purpose of “Connections” is to expand our mutual learning and send out more ripples from the pool.

Some people are very private individuals and hesitate to share. Some love to do so.  Whatever your preference, we respect your choice.  I am eager to see what fruit we might harvest with today’s thought!

Email me personally if you’d like to discuss…

Joyce WhiteComment