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October 21, 2012

Asking the Right Questions

Big questions require context

What it is

Relevant questions suited to the context of the situation.

What is Context?

The meaning of a situation understood as part of its interrelated circumstances. Context tells us how to interpret and prioritize everything.

Why it's Important

Connection and influence are created out of the new conversations that arise from asking the right questions.

The Problem

If the wrong question is asked, answers are misleading.


Small mistakes with a question can result in huge misunderstandings that may not be discovered for a long time.    

The Tip

Establish context before asking the big questions with the 3 “Ds”

Three types of smaller questions can help you zero-in on the context of a situation before diving in.   

Duh Questions

Obvious and innocent questions intended to scrape off the first layer of a story.

·        Do you really want that?

·        Why do you do that?

Deeper Questions

Questions without expectation intended to separate facts from truth. 

Facts  are objective examples waiting for meaning to be assigned.

Truth  is the meaning your child has given to facts.

·        Is that accurate or your interpretation?

·        What else might that mean?

Doubting Questions

Questions intended to clarify YOUR understanding—to make sure YOU understand what’s going on. 

·        I hear what you’re saying and I don’t hear something I might expect to hear …

·        I hear what you’re saying, though something must not be getting through to me because I feel like I’m missing something.

 Some Dos and Don'ts

Do listen for energy cures found in his tone, a sigh or giggle, the pace of speech, and canned responses.

Don't multi-task because it limits your intuition.

Do be excited when she is provoked into conversation.  Champion the courage it takes to engage!

Don't define too much.  Allow him to interpret your words and see what happens.

Do shorten your comments and questions.  Give plenty of room for your child to engage.



Like pulling the rug out from under her but leaving her on her feet.  There’s a huge WOW factor.


Power questions demand engagement and from the engagement a sense of accountability is created-even if the question is not answered.


Finding context before asking bigger questions moves the conversation out of fear and blame into mutual respect.


Understanding your child’s context is required before you can influence him.

Promise Kept

We promise  to teach our kids how to stand behind the decisions they make.  By gradually turning over small responsibilities, you’ll make good on your promise.


Related Articles: Thinking in Shades of Gray, Snap Judgments,

Related Tip of the Week: Trust,  Lunch Notes,


  Chime in >> What do you think?


Peacemaker Coach Tip of the Week - Asking the Right Questions

  Email Lorraine with your question


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