Saturday afternoon I had the pleasure of doing a 4 hour Pursuit of Personal Excellence presentation at the Alberta Game Warden Association conference. It was a great afternoon with a very receptive and very interactive audience of law enforcement professionals and their spouses. That evening I had the privilege of delivering the after dinner keynote address. In the weeks leading up to the event I pondered various themes and topics for the keynote address. As I mulled over the many possibilities a question from Emerson came to mind. This question is often posed by my friend Bill Westfall, “What has become clear to you since we last met?”
What has become clear to me over the last few years is the power of questions. The most powerful of all those questions is What’s Important Now? (Which I now refer to in all my presentations as Life’s Most Powerful Question.)
As trainers too often you feel like you need to have all the answers. I have learned you do not. What you do need to have is the patience and confidence to ask good questions. As Dan James says “Asking questions will get you the performance you are after far better than dictating demands.” Questions help everyone involved to learn and grow through self-‐reflection which is a more powerful tool for creating lasting change than being told what to do by someone else. Questions guide people to discover the answers through their understand, knowledge, experience and perspective.
Questions are a powerful tool during debriefings. Questions such as
- How did you feel about your performance?
- What did you do well?
- What did you learn from the experience?
- What would you like to do differently in a similar situation in the future?
- What do you need from me for you to be more successful in the future?
I have discovered the key to effective debriefings is simply to Ask More – Tell Less.
I ended the keynote address Saturday night the same way I will end this post with the challenge to reflect on your life by asking yourself the following questions from Jim Rohn:
“You must constantly ask yourself these questions: Who am I around? What are they doing to me? What have they got me reading? What have they got me saying? Where do they have me going? What do they have me thinking? And most important, what do they have me becoming? Then ask yourself the big question: Is that okay? Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.”