Stop Telling and Start Asking

By Jessi Brandt May 17, 2022

Let me ask you something… When someone shares a challenge, problem, or decision they need to make, is your typical response to ask questions or to tell them your thoughts on the situation? 

If you fall into the “tell” category, you are not alone. Most people, in an attempt to be helpful, default to responding by sharing their personal opinions, solutions, or advice. But, here’s the question—is “telling” really the most helpful response?

Truth be told, when people share what’s going on with them, rarely are they looking for you to give them answers or to tell them what to do.What they really want is an opportunity to self-reflect at a deeper level by sharing out loud. 

When you respond by asking questions rather than giving answers,you create space for people to actively explore the situation, their goal, their thoughts and feelings, and different options for how to best move forward. Asking questions is helpful and empowering.

Asking questions helps people GROW!

The GROW Model provides a simple 4-step process for asking powerful questions that will help anyone figure out how to achieve a goal, tackle a challenge, solve a problem, and/or make an important decision.

Here is a snapshot of the GROW model process:

G = GOAL questions help people gain clarity around their goal, what they are trying to achieve or solve, and why. Examples: What do you really want? What’s your larger goal related to this issue? Why is this important to you?

R = REALITY questions help people reflect on the current situation and barriers. Examples: Where are you now? What is your biggest concern? What have you already tried? What barriers do you face?

O = OPTIONS questions allow people to explore all available options. Examples: What are your options? What else could you do? What is in the way? Do you want to brainstorm some options?

W = WILL questions help people move forward. Examples: What are your next steps? What will you do? By when? What support or resources do you need? How will you celebrate your success?

The GROW model was developed in the United Kingdom in the 80s and has been used as a primary tool for coaching in the corporate world.

The GROW model is a process I have taught to hundreds of managers as a way to move from “boss” (and micromanager) to “coach,” to empower their people to look within to confidently and successfully find their own way forward.

Jessi Brandt is a 3 Voices master facilitator and a CliftonStrengths & Energy Leadership coach. She helps leaders and teams increase self-awareness, awareness of others, and performance in all areas of work and life. If you are interested in leadership, team development, or coaching for your team contact us today! We would love to help!