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ASK, NOT TELL

....and many other thoughts about facilitation, coaching ( teams & individuals) and learning

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  • David

"I know what you should do, and so I tell you..."

Updated: Mar 5

I was chatting with a senior professional today. He was real kind and he tried to coach me on my future career direction. I was really glad that someone would spend his precious time to talk about ‘me’.


I was delivering the SPIN class in the few days before that. Whilst SPIN is very much about influencing, my instinct in the meeting was to see how effective this senior professional was in influencing me. His kind intention, experience and seniority is superb in making me ‘into’ the conservation, as the starter. However, somehow, I noticed that there were a few moments which I was not engaged. I mean – words were coming to my ear, but they did not touch on my heart much. It was like – I was running on auto-pilot!!


Why? Thinking retrospectively, one possible reason is that he talked quite a lot. A rough estimate is that his talking time vs mine was 70/30. I could imagine that if he had asked me question, I would be more compelled to think, or simply compelled to be engaged!! As I discussed in the class, the other benefits of asking instead of telling (in the context of coaching rather than selling) are that questioning:


· shows concern and interest

· helps you to control the discussion

· uncovers and develops thoughts


My learning is – when you try to provide guidance, use more questions and avoid talking. I believe that it is especially true when the recipient is an adult…. Cos an adult can actually be more easily be distracted in his / her own thought!! The same applies in class delivery (see my last post) – you should ask to stimulate thoughts rather than just tell!!


Still, I respect the senior a lot in being so kind to share his thought with me…..!!

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