How and why to tame your 3 advice monsters

Doing so will encourage you and your team members to ask more questions.

A few months back, an article in HBR proclaimed the power of questions. It’s not a bad article, and it mentions lots of sensible things: more questions are better than fewer; some questions are better than others; open questions are effective, but there’s also a place for closed questions; questions are the not-so-secret sauce of a great sales conversation. There are even suggestions on how to sequence questions to positively (or negatively) affect the outcome of a conversation. So far, so good.

There was one assertion, however, that had me shaking my fist at the sky: “Most people just don’t understand how beneficial good questioning can be. If they did, they would end far fewer sentences with a period—and more with a question mark.” To me, that’s a little along the lines of asserting: “Most people don’t understand how beneficial exercising regularly can be. If they did, more people would be working out and not just staying at home and watching TV.”

The Real Barriers to Asking Questions

You won’t be surprised at all to know that we at Box of Crayons are fierce believers in the power of questions. We believe that coaching is the fundamental leadership behavior, and we’re a champion for coaching as a force for leadership development and culture change. What do we mean by “coaching”? Staying curious a little longer, rushing to action and advice-giving a little more slowly. And questions are the sine qua non (a thing that is absolutely necessary) of curiosity.


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