Practice Asking Questions

8by guest blogger Mikayla Phan

One of the things I am practicing from my coaching class is asking more questions.  For me, I feel this is really important.  Today with my son was a good opportunity because he was stuck on a particularly challenging assignment and his ADHD was making the task initiation difficult.  Instead of telling him about the subject, I asked him to share what he knew.  Instead of telling him a good place to start structuring the essay, I asked him what he thought.  In addition to him looking at me funny because Mom doesn’t usually talk this way, I noticed he was immediately relaxed from his slightly panicky state earlier.  It allowed him to explore his thoughts out loud and answer his own questions, even though I was asking them.  We were able to escape the usual power struggle that so often come with these teenage years.

In addition to asking more questions these days as a result of my coaching class, I am also wording my questions differently than before.  I focus on eliminating definitive words and using more possibility words.  Instead of saying something like, “Why is it hard for you?” I change the wording to, “What are the challenges for you?”  This allows the focus to change from being assumptive to being investigative.  One result of this at home is that my son is more comfortable coming to me with questions on his homework and when he is stuck.

I have noticed I really like the new changes I am making in my communication patterns, and I believe it will become easy fairly quickly because I like how it feels.  It feels more natural, and I like the results I am seeing.

Because today was particularly hectic, I decided to order carry out Chinese food on a whim today.  Who would have thunk – my fortune cookie message read: “One of the best ways to persuade others is with your ears—by listening to them.”

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