We live in a time that is often called the Golden Age of Questioning. We use our smart phones to research almost any question in the moment. Many of our questions have become so predictable that Google engineers can guess what we’re asking after typing into the query just a few words.
We may be asking zillions of questions, but are we asking the powerful questions that will guide us to breakthrough ways of living and working together?
When we are stuck in the reactive cycle of the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT)™ the questions we ask are designed to keep the Drama cycle going. For example, the person mired in a Victim role in response to a difficult situation may ask:
Why did this happen to me?
Why do I have all the bad luck?
Why don’t I get what other people get?
The Creator role that is the antidote to the Victim role, anchors TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic)™. A Creator asks questions intended to create new opportunities and ways of seeing. A Creator may ask:
Given the situation, how might I make the most of it?
What is mine to do here?
What do I really want given the situation?
The Persecutor in the DDT has a strong need to control and be right. In any situation they may ask:
Who is to blame for this?
I know I am right about this. Why don’t they listen to me?
How can I manipulate and get ahead in this situation?
The Challenger lets go of the need to be right and focuses instead on growth and learning, even in the face of very difficult situations. A Challenger may ask:
What is the surprise learning in this set-back?
What is true, given the situation?
Where can we stay consistent with our values and still move forward?
Rescuers love jumping in and saving the day, even when not asked to. A Rescuer may ask:
How can I take your pain away?
If I could do more, what else could I do?
How can I fix this for you?
Coaches partner with another person by asking better questions that create clarity, leaving the power and responsibility with the other person. Rather than doing for the other person what they can do for themselves, the Coach may ask:
What might be the opportunity in the change you are facing?
How might you make the most of the situation?
What is it that you really care about?
Better questions are built upon becoming interested in – and curious about – what you don’t know, rather than what you do know. The results we get are only as good as the questions we ask. By asking better questions we can calm the Drama cycle and step more fully into the TED* roles.