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It All Starts With a Question, a Powerful One! - Big Apple Scrum Day

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We enjoy having conversations. Who doesn't? We are social animals after all. We like to know more about each other's stories. It is a feature built-in by default. As coaches, it is vital to use this basic instinct to our advantage. The easiest way to influence people is to have a conversation with them. You can use it coaching, mentoring, transformation, or just building a relationship with them. Can you imagine any of the above not to start with a conversation? I can't!

Conversations are two-way streets. The easiest way to have a two-way communication is to ask questions. Questions can be dumb, unrelated, out of ordinary, crazy, or even beautiful. Can they be efficacious too? They can! An excellent communicator knows how and when to use Powerful Questions to make any conversation a mighty one.

Powerful Questions generate curiosity in the listener and stimulate thoughtful conversation. They are usually thought-provoking and challenges the underlying assumptions. Powerful Questions, if asked in the right tone and body language, generates creativity and new possibilities.

Is it hard to ask Powerful questions? It might be. It is not that easy, and indeed not natural for everyone. The good news is that it is something that can be learned, and relatively very easily.

I invite you to join me for a workshop on Powerful Questions. In this workshop, I am going to help you build your muscle to ask more Powerful Questions. I will give you an easy tool to make your questions more powerful, and conversations more enriched. Asking powerful questions will help you build bridges with people, you would become more empathetic with them, and do not be surprised you are going to listen more. Some of the characteristics of a great coach, one might say! Don't you agree?"

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It All Starts With a Question, a Powerful One! - Big Apple Scrum Day

  1. 1. Shahin Sheidaei | @sheidaei | sheidaei.com | © Elevate Change Inc. It All Starts With a Question, a Powerful One! Shahin Sheidaei @sheidaei
  2. 2. Shahin Sheidaei | @sheidaei | sheidaei.com | © Elevate Change Inc. Who Am I? Trouble Maker & Problem Solver! Shahin Sheidaei Founder & Principal Coach Elevate Change Inc.
  3. 3. Shahin Sheidaei | @sheidaei | sheidaei.com | © Elevate Change Inc. What are we going to talk about? ● Questions ○ Social Creatures ○ Like to talk ○ A good conversations is a two way conversation ○ Asking Questions
  4. 4. Shahin Sheidaei | @sheidaei | sheidaei.com | © Elevate Change Inc. All Fictional
  5. 5. Shahin Sheidaei | @sheidaei | sheidaei.com | © Elevate Change Inc. Writing a Playbook
  6. 6. Shahin Sheidaei | @sheidaei | sheidaei.com | © Elevate Change Inc. Writing a Playbook Why didn’t you deliver the playbook on time? What stopped you from delivering the playbook on time?
  7. 7. Shahin Sheidaei | @sheidaei | sheidaei.com | © Elevate Change Inc. Why didn’t you deliver the playbook on time? What stopped you from delivering the playbook on time? That is, while there is value in the question on the left, we value the items on the right more. Powerful Questions
  8. 8. Shahin Sheidaei | @sheidaei | sheidaei.com | © Elevate Change Inc. Powerful Question Exercise ● Group of 5 people (or so, max 8) ● Order questions from the most powerful to the least powerful ● Two Rounds ○ Silent Round (first 3 minutes) ○ Team Round (last 7 minutes)
  9. 9. Shahin Sheidaei | @sheidaei | sheidaei.com | © Elevate Change Inc. Let’s Pause!
  10. 10. Shahin Sheidaei | @sheidaei | sheidaei.com | © Elevate Change Inc. Powerful Question
  11. 11. Shahin Sheidaei | @sheidaei | sheidaei.com | © Elevate Change Inc. What Makes a Question Powerful? ● Generates curiosity ● Stimulates reflective conversation ● Thought-provoking ● Surfaces assumptions ● Invites creativity ● Generates energy ● Focuses inquiry ● Touches a deep meaning ● Evokes more questions
  12. 12. Shahin Sheidaei | @sheidaei | sheidaei.com | © Elevate Change Inc. The Architecture of A Question Construction Assumption Scope
  13. 13. Shahin Sheidaei | @sheidaei | sheidaei.com | © Elevate Change Inc. Construction of A Question ● Structure of a question ● A yes/no question ● An either/or question ● Starts with … (an interrogative) ○ Who ○ What ○ How Construction Assumption Scope
  14. 14. Shahin Sheidaei | @sheidaei | sheidaei.com | © Elevate Change Inc. Construction of a Question ● Order interrogative from the most powerful to the least powerful WHO WHAT WHEN WHERE WHICH YES/NO WHY HOW? Most Powerful Least Powerful Construction Assumption Scope
  15. 15. Shahin Sheidaei | @sheidaei | sheidaei.com | © Elevate Change Inc. Construction of a Powerful Question Construction Assumption Scope
  16. 16. Shahin Sheidaei | @sheidaei | sheidaei.com | © Elevate Change Inc. The Scope of a Question ● Domain of inquiry ● Aspects of the system ● How can we change the team’s culture? ● How can we change the program’s culture? ● How can we change the organization’s culture? Avoid stretching the scope of your question too far. Construction Assumption Scope
  17. 17. Shahin Sheidaei | @sheidaei | sheidaei.com | © Elevate Change Inc. Assumptions What did we do wrong and who is responsible? Assumes error and blame. What can we learn from what’s happened and what possibilities do we now see? Assumes good intent and potential to learn and course correct. Construction Assumption Scope
  18. 18. Shahin Sheidaei | @sheidaei | sheidaei.com | © Elevate Change Inc. Surfacing (or altering) Assumptions ● Create new opportunities ● New line of exploration ● New possibilities toward action Construction Assumption Scope
  19. 19. Shahin Sheidaei | @sheidaei | sheidaei.com | © Elevate Change Inc. The 3 Dimensions By understanding and consciously considering the three dimensions of powerful questions, you can increase the power of the questions you ask! Construction Assumption Scope
  20. 20. Shahin Sheidaei | @sheidaei | sheidaei.com | © Elevate Change Inc. Make it a More Powerful Question ● In groups of 3 (triads) ● 1 talker ○ Something you are passionate about ○ Close to heart ● 2 questioner ○ Having a conversation, asking powerful questions ● Pause Technique ○ Pause conversation ○ Write the question you want to ask, don’t think twice ○ As a pair let’s make it more powerful ○ Then ask question Construction Assumption Scope
  21. 21. Shahin Sheidaei | @sheidaei | sheidaei.com | © Elevate Change Inc. Let’s Pause!
  22. 22. Shahin Sheidaei | @sheidaei | sheidaei.com | © Elevate Change Inc. Any More Questions? Thanks
  23. 23. Shahin Sheidaei | @sheidaei | sheidaei.com | © Elevate Change Inc. More ● References: a. Powerful Questions Exercise, an exercise from Deborah on Powerful Questions b. The Art of Powerful Question, a great mini book from the University of Manitoba ● Some examples: a. Powerful Questions, samples from the Agile Coaching Institute b. Powerful Questions, a list from the Co-Active coaching program c. 56 Powerful Questions, a list from the GROW coaching model ● Images used: a. https://unsplash.com/photos/q3FihXQ-13M b. https://unsplash.com/photos/IiLFMkqiFrM c. https://unsplash.com/photos/slItfWbhijc d. https://unsplash.com/photos/Sot0f3hQQ4Y e. https://unsplash.com/photos/M-xaOaCzy_M

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