One of the most important concepts introduced in my book, Beyond Success! is the master skill of Enabling Questioning, which is absolutely essential to quality leadership both inside the self and outside to others.
When we ask enabling questions of others, we gain a new understanding of the unique qualities of each individual so we may truly help them be the best they can be. The following excerpt from Beyond Success reveals the essential qualities of these magical tools of leadership that enables rather than disables, lifting, building, and freeing individuals to access their true potential.
Only through enabling questions do we gain the insight to flexibly fine-tune our approach in working with each member of our team so that ultimately, they all mesh into a synergistic unit. At the same time, enabling questions catalyze self-discovery by helping us clarify our most important and compelling beliefs.
What, then, is an enabling question? Very simply, it is a question that induces genuine engagement. It enables an individual to move from the head to the heart. It is enabling because its aim is constructive, allowing its recipient to tap into feelings, thoughts, and experiences that will assist him or her to gain greater inspiration, insight, or resourcefulness.
It is very important to distinguish between enabling and disabling questions. The difference lies in the emotional direction in which the questions lead. Disabling questions leave us paralyzed with fear and doubt because they do not focus on solutions, but on the severity and intensity of the problem. The aim of disabling questions is control – keeping others in check by pulling in the reins. We’ve all experienced disabling questions like; “Why are you so X?” “Why can’t you ever X?” They lead us away from joy, solution, confidence, and positive energy.
Enabling questions on the other hand, unleash our potential for positive visualization. As we fully engage in response to enabling questions, we suddenly envision new creative solutions, and feel the surge of positive emotion that accompanies the accomplishment of important goals or the knowledge that we have made a difference for our team. Enabling questions create ‘aha’ answers!