Every Tuesday we engage in one big question, topic or idea. You are invited to write in with a suggestion you want to share. I surely do not have all the answers but know that together we can generate some great conversation and have fun in the process. (Feel free to post your topics, questions, and your great thoughts in the comments below!) Together, we will stay informed and equipped about topics that matter!

Today’s Blog Contributor: 

Angela Craig

IMG_8145 squareI am a wife, a mom, a daughter, a friend, a writer, a minister, a coach, a social justice and non-profit junkie. Not necessarily always in that order. In my role as Director of the Women’s Department at the Northwest Ministry Network, I get to do what I like to do best: create, teach, write, and learn through others. I am also passionate about helping people discover and live out a passion and purpose filled life in my role as a certified Coach and President of the Give Good Awards Foundation. Devoted to helping others reach their fullest potential in life and leadership, Angela has authored two books, The Story of Leah: When life is not what you expected it to be and Pivot Leadership: Small Steps – Big Change (in stores July 14th). You can read her weekly blog encouragements and leadership tips on angelalcraig.com and on www.hervoiceblog.us, a blog specifically designed for women in leadership.

Creating Room for Change: Learning how to ask honest, open-ended questions

I am a teacher by nature. As a teacher, my goals are always for a heart transformed, a soul healed, or a mind stretched to new horizons. But what I have realized over time is that my way of teaching, however inspirational, is ineffective for any kind of long term change.

When I explore the ways in which my own life has been transformed, I realize it is not by someone telling me what to do, but by someone asking, listening, and encouraging what God was stirring in my heart. It was through reflection, and dialogue that significant change was found.

Ask-QuestionsWhen we ask honest, open-ended questions we give validation and confidence a person and tell them that the truth resides somewhere deep in their soul. We trust them to use critical thinking and different spiritual disciplines such as prayer, silence and solitude, and reading of scripture to arrive at the answer their soul craves.

Jesus give us the ultimate example of how to invite someone into a transformed life. Here are just a few examples:

  1. Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your lifespan? Matt 6:27
  2. Why are you anxious about clothes? Matt 6:28
  3. Why are you terrified? (Matt 8:26)
  4. Why do you harbor evil thoughts? (Matt 9:4)
  5. Do you believe I can do this? (Matt 9:28)
  6. What did you go out to the desert to see? (Matt 11:8)
  7. To what shall I compare this generation? (Matt 11:6)
  8. Who is my mother? Who are my brothers? (Matt 12:48)
  9. Why did you doubt? (Matt 14:31)
  10. But who do you say that I am? (Matt 16:15)

As a leader, people come to you for advice. Personal, I have found it challenging and hard to resist the temptation to give them an answer since that seems the logical solution. If you are as challenged as I am with the temptation to give answers instead of asking questions, here is some help from some incredible teachers.

From his book, The Courage to Teach, Parker Palmer describes the difference between a leading question and an honest, open-ended question.

“Have you thought about seeing a therapist?” is not an honest, open question. Palmer says that questions like these are asked out of personal arrogance and an agenda that we believe we know what is right for that person and can fix them (p. 126). Palmer suggests an honest, open question would be, “Have you ever had an experience that felt like your current experience” (p. 126). This type of question leads to open doors that the Holy Spirit can reveal truth to the person’s heart and soul.

In closing, I want to leave you with a few of my favorite coaching questions I learned from Tony Stoltzfus (Christian Life Coaching Handbook). I hope that these help and encourage in your walk as a leader. If you find it helpful, print them and post them in your office, refrigerator or make them the wallpaper on your phone. You will be surprised at how helpful they become!

1)      Tell me more about that situation.

2)      What has God spoken to you about it so far?

3)      What do you know?

4)      What is your heart saying?

5)      Is there a fear that is holding you back from taking the next step?

6)      If you weren’t afraid of ___________, what would you do next?

7)      Take your best shot: What do you think God wants you to do next?

The post “Creating Room for Change: Learning how to ask honest, open-ended questions appeared first on Angelalcraig.com.


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