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

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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?"

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

Editor's Notes

  • We as human beings are social animals, we like to talk and communicate with each other. There are lots of aspects of having a good conversation. One is asking questions.
  • Scenario 2 - Misinterpretation
    On your first day, your manager asked you to create an Agile playbook. You delivered but it wasn’t what your manager had in mind. You are in a team meeting. Your manager is asking you the following:

    Q1
    Why weren’t you able to deliver the playbook on time?

    What would go through your mind?
    What would be your potential answer?

    Q2
    What stopped you from delivering the playbook on time?

  • Scenario 2 - Misinterpretation
    Silent Brainstorming
    On your first day, your manager asked you to create an Agile playbook. You delivered but it wasn’t what your manager had in mind. You are in a team meeting. Your manager is asking you the following:

    Q1
    Why weren’t you able to deliver the playbook on time?

    What would go through your mind?
    What would be your potential answer?

    Q2
    What stopped you from delivering the playbook on time?

  • I am too lazy to define what powerful question is, let’s see if you can figure it out!
  • Which question in at the bottom of the pile?
    How was the questions in between?
    How was the silent brainstorming v.s. the team one?
    what happened?
    what surprised you?
    what complicated your discussions?
  • https://unsplash.com/photos/R47Tq7gGHv0
  • Similar to your exercise, they have conducted
    https://unsplash.com/photos/I621uimW8p0
  • A team issue, people not owning the team delivery, they own what they are working
  • Assumptions are nature of language
    Explicit
    Implicit

    it is a safe bet that whoever is responding will feel defensive.

    Encourages reflection and is much more likely than the first query to stimulate learning and collaboration among those involved.
  • The art of reframing questions in this way has important implications for not only shifting our assumptions,but also creating new possibilities for constructive action.

  • Here are some questions you might ask yourself as
    you begin to explore the art and architecture of
    powerful questions. They are based on pioneering
    work with questions being done by the Public
    Conversations Project, a group that helps create
    constructive dialogue on divisive public issues.
    ■ Is this question relevant to the real life and real
    work of the people who will be exploring it?
    ■ Is this a genuine question—a question to which
    I/we really don’t know the answer?
    ■ What “work” do I want this question to do? That
    is, what kind of conversation, meanings, and feelings
    do I imagine this question will evoke in those
    who will be exploring it?
    ■ Is this question likely to invite fresh thinking/
    feeling? Is it familiar enough to be recognizable
    and relevant—and different enough to call forward
    a new response?
    ■ What assumptions or beliefs are embedded in the
    way this question is constructed?
    ■ Is this question likely to generate hope,
    imagination, engagement, creative action, and
    new possibilities or is it likely to increase a focus
    on past problems and obstacles?
    ■ Does this question leave room for new and
    different questions to

    https://www.iconfinder.com/icons/2120159/space_and_astronomy_telescope_icon
    https://www.iconfinder.com/icons/298826/microscope_icon
    https://www.iconfinder.com/icons/103177/eye_see_view_watch_icon
  • How was the exercice?
    What did you learn?
    What was working for you?
    What new things you tried?
  • How was the exercice?
    What did you learn?
    What was working for you?
    What new things you tried?
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