Begin with good questions

trish buzzone script

My approach: Listening “for” instead of listening “to”

Breakthrough begins by asking good questions, which create more questions.

I firmly believe leaders do not need to be told what to do and how to do it. By asking questions, my coaching clients reveal the answers to themselves. This form of dynamic interviewing has been traced back to Socrates and honed by the best mentors for millennia. There is a reason this timeless method continues to thrive: it delivers answers people are most likely to act on, while creating ongoing questions that lead to even better answers. Time and again, I have seen this process lead to breakthrough.

“Go in with good questions…”

When people ask me what I mean by “good questions,” the answer is found in defining what I mean by listening “for” rather than listening “to.” When we listen “to” someone, we hear what they are saying, and we often miss “why” they are saying it. That meaning fuels the words, and reveals who that person is being in that moment. Are they frustrated? Hopeful? Determined? Resigned? Are they focusing on positive choices, or are they stuck in negative thinking based on past experiences?

We act out of who we are being, not what we say. Why we do what we do is often based on our past experiences. Sometimes, this puts limits on the way we think and act in the moment.  That’s why a person will express a goal or an intention, then do something different, maybe even making a decision counterproductive to the expressed goal. We don’t do this because we’re foolish or shortsighted … we behave this way when who we are being is not in line with what we are thinking. Good questions open us up, so we see this for ourselves.

“Ask the right follow up questions…”

Listening “to” someone will reveal what they are saying, leaving the listener trying to decode that message. This often creates miscommunication and misunderstanding, which may not even be revealed until much later. Listening “for” someone puts the focus on who that person is being as they say what they’re saying: Are they in the present? Are they looking ahead, or are they stuck, making decisions based on their past?

“Give the person time to think…”

Accountability is a vital step in personal growth for every leader. Often, that accountability focuses on pre-determined and specific actions intended to create certain results. My approach may include this, however I’ve found it more effective to facilitate a conversation that causes people to shift their thinking in the moment in a way that identifies their best options, while increasing their influence and their capacity to lead on a continual basis. Once a shift in thinking is made, the possibility to choose freely is revealed and the follow through to action becomes natural.

“Come back, listen, ask…”

My intention is to help my clients identify and implement a shift in their thinking that leads to a consistent personal growth process. This will naturally reveal specific mindsets that will need to be shifted, without making a person feel “wrong” and prescribe a “fix.” Through questioning, listening and co-creating new questions, my clients are free to choose how they will address what’s been revealed. As we continue to ask and answer questions, we create  breakthrough, allowing further growth, in ourselves as well as others around us.

Adding value in this way causes transformational conversations leading to transformational leadership.

What People are Saying About Trish

“Trish understands how to help people shift their thinking, so they can get past whatever’s holding them back. Sometimes you’re just too close to a situation to see it clearly. Trish helps you see … she achieved results, and she did so faster than I thought possible.”

Valerie Sherman
CEO of United
Building
Maintenance, Inc.

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