Sometimes We Need A Little Push

Written By smcneely

On November 1, 2011

Read more

A colleague of mine recently sent out the above video as a way to jump-start a sluggish Wednesday morning. It seemed a perfect metaphor to follow up to last month’s post about questions that get people moving. I’m here to report that posing those four little words: “What do you think?” generated all kinds of reactions including people solving their own problems, utter frustration (one gal was exasperated and said, “I don’t know what I think! That’s why I’m asking you!), to very thoughtful reflection that allowed time for me and the other parties to pause and get our thoughts straight before digging in to solve a problem.

But that isn’t the only question that can stir further thinking. I have a handful of prompts that can be just the right push. Here are some of my favorites:

  • What makes you say so?
  • Why?
  • How do you know?
  • And what else?
  • How would that look? sound?
  • What can you do?
  • What’s another way?

The balance of asking good questions and pausing to listen is so difficult sometimes, especially when we have a really good answer or quick fix that we know would make good sense. But the power of letting learners (of any age) wrestle with their own thinking is an important component of being an effective coach or teacher. What are your favorite questions that can turn thinking around or get thoughts moving? What’s that little extra push look like in the context of your work?