Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Power of Inquiry: Coaching Tips for You! - Part 3

<<<< The Power of Inquiry:.... - Part 2                                 The Power of Inquiry:..... - Part 4 >>>>

When we ask questions, we reveal the scope. In every question there is a context. There is a scope – either implicit or explicit. Why does the scope of our question matter? Scope does matter because it can make the question fit to a context. It clarifies the purpose and hence adds more energy or weight to the question. Let us examine the following three questions.

1. How can we educate everyone in our organization in writing high quality code?
2. Why don’t you take ‘code quality’ as an initiative at our business unit level?
3. As a team member how can you write high quality code so that we can meet our goal of delighting our customer?

Depending on the context, the scope of our questions has to be made appropriate. Else, it can result in a shocking experience. For example the scope of the first are second question is not right to someone who is struggling to ensure code quality at project level.

In our questions we embed our assumptions too. In clear and powerful questions, assumptions do surface. Here are some examples.

• Can we do something to produce good quality code? (assumes that nobody in the team has written good quality code)
• How can we learn from the other project team about writing unit tests and adopting TDD? (assumes that nobody in your project can contribute)
• Why is it not working? Why has it crashed? 
• Can you help me understand the situation?

Questions reveal team spirit and your intention. Which of these two questions is better? Why?

1. Why do we receive these customer complaints? Who is responsible? What did we do wrong? Can someone explain?
2. What can we learn from our customer’s email and the current situation? What are the possible options do we have? How can we help each other and serve our customer better? Any ideas?

How about these?

• How can we improve quality and do things faster as compared to the other team?
• How can we collaborate with the other team and understand which of their practices will work for us and provide benefits?

The first question induces competition whereas the second question nurtures collaboration.

Becoming Collaborative Coaches:   The first step to become a collaborative coach is to be genuine. Ask genuine questions. Let them be powerful questions. When genuine questions are powerful they invoke genuine answers. That is a virtuous cycle!  Yes. Let me repeat!

• Collaboration can be nurtured through genuine questions
• Genuine questions, when powerful, will result in genuine answers
• That is a virtuous cycle!

Checklist to Formulate Powerful Questions:  Here is a checklist that can help us formulate powerful questions.  Try this out!

1. Is this question relevant?
2. Is it genuine?
3. What do we want to accomplish with this question? What kind of questions, conversations or emotions can be triggered when we ask this?
4. Will this question invite fresh thinking/feeling?
5. What beliefs and assumptions are hidden here?
6. Will this question increase our focus on problems and shortcomings? Or will this question generate hope, engagement, collaboration, action and new possibilities?
7. Does this question leave room for new and different questions to be raised as the initial question is explored?

Adapted from Sally Ann Roth Public Conversations Project c.1998

<<<< The Power of Inquiry: ..... - Part 2                                         The Power of Inquiry: ..... - Part 4 >>>>

1 comment:

Bob Jiang said...

Chinese version: http://bobjiang.com/blog/2013/02/13/scrummaster-and-coaching-part3/