Say Less, Ask More

“Answers are closed rooms; and questions are open doors to invite us in.”- Nancy Willard

Are there any other chatterboxes out there? Do you catch yourself interjecting or trying to offer advice as soon as you can identify a problem? You just really want to help right? Turns out jumping to help can actually not help at all.

Has it ever struck you that the first problem might not actually be the problem that needs to be solved? I began studying coaching as a leadership style, after years of trying to help as soon as someone started talking, I realized my well-intentioned advice, and interjections have not been as helpful as if I had just simply listened.

While talking a “Leader as Coach” course I realized that I have always been quick to offer advice and slow to ask questions that would open up the door to what was truly the problem. The first hurdle or problem is rarely the one that needs to be solved.  Simply asking “what else” or prompting someone to further discuss the problem or situation has opened up a new avenue of leadership for me. Many times people need to be heard, need to have their feelings validated, and need a chance to conclude on their own. By truly listening to the person, speaking isn’t as necessary as it once seemed to be.

Over the last several months, I have begun to listen, to ask questions, and to understand what is happening on a deeper level. I leave you with say less, ask more.

-Richelle Williams

Recommended Reading:

The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever by Michael Bungay Staner

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