Years ago when we lived in Dallas, we took our kids to the circus. We loaded up the car and headed to Reunion Arena, where we had a great time watching “The Greatest Show on Earth”. At certain times during the show, my wife and I noticed that our third-born, Zach, was not enjoying the experience as much as the other children. He seemed particularly focused on the clowns.
After the circus ended, we were walking back to the car when we caught a whiff of some pretty potent elephant dung. We were all talking about the smell when Zach asked a question that will forever live on in Beshear family history. He turned to me and asked “Dad, do clowns poop?” After we stopped laughing and caught our breath, we explained that clowns were simply people dressed up in costumes with painted faces. The question was hilarious, but I think it provides some insight into the area of asking questions.
Asking Questions Requires Courage
We must become vulnerable in order to ask the best questions. Imagine if my son had simply asked me “Dad, are you afraid of clowns?” I would have waxed eloquent about how clowns are nice and I am not afraid of them. But, such an alternate question and answer exchange would have missed the root cause of Zach’s misunderstanding about the strange fellows called clowns. Likewise, we must exemplify courage to sometimes ask the most basic of questions in order to fully understand a topic or point of view.
Asking questions unlocks the door that is currently prohibiting our growth.
Zach was not going to ever have the correct perspective on clowns if he persisted to believe that they were some sort of other-worldly creatures. Likewise, particular things that we don’t know about our surroundings, work or relationships can effectively keep us locked in a room of misinformation. There are even things that we need to discover about ourselves through self-directed questions that, when answered, will escort us out of our current situation and into the next, more meaningful and rich experience.
As a member of the John Maxwell Team, I’ve asked a lot of questions – and a good many of them have been directed at myself. That’s the thing about joining up with this Team, the training and mentoring foster growth in yourself, and raise your level of awareness. As I have grown, so has my ability to impact and lead others. The in-depth John Maxwell Team training taught me how to ask better questions – of myself and others.
One of the most powerful things a coach can do is to ask questions. Notice that I did not say “One of easiest things a coach can do is ask questions.” Asking good questions is not easy. Answering good questions in not easy, but great people ask (and answer) great questions. Just like my son Zach exemplified with his clown question, a good question can bring multiple benefits to the ‘asker’:
Asking questions takes us to a new place of understanding.
Asking questions helps to eliminate fear.
Asking questions requires humility, which is a great position from-which to learn, grow and excel.
The number of questions asked in a group, company or family is directly proportional to the health of the organization. As a leader, are you fostering an atmosphere that encourages questions? Would you like to supercharge your ‘question-asking’ abilities – and use them to grow and impact others? If so, your most important question may be, “How do I join the John Maxwell Team?”
About the Author
He asks great questions to help his coaching clients discover their full potential, train and teach on leadership and personal growth, and inspire others through public speaking.
Contact Brady at http://www.johncmaxwellgroup.com/bradybeshear