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How Important Are Questions?

How Important Are Questions?

By Mary Verstraete, PCC

Brilliant thinkers never stop asking questions because they know that questions are the best way to gain deeper insights. Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, said, “We run this company on questions, not answers.” He knows that if you keep asking questions you keep finding better answers.

The coaching profession recognizes that questions lead to better answers. A common coaching term is "asking powerful questions" and is defined as open-ended questions that cannot be answered with yes or no, but instead evoke exploration, insight, discovery, and action. Often this is where the definition ends. There is more to this simple description.

Well-crafted powerful questions grab the person's attention, use the person's language as beneficial, and create a focused state of mind because of the mental images they create, highly motivating the person to consider and explore the answers.

Using a person named Jeffrey as an example. If Jeffrey is asked, "What is most important in your life?" he becomes curious about himself, focusing, exploring, and getting wrapped up in what is most central to him in importance. This one simple, yet powerful question can:

  • Lead to valuable self-reflection and self-awareness for Jeffrey to identity important beliefs, values, and perspectives that affect his current reality and future goals. 
  • Draw new perspective, ideas, and possibilities from within Jeffrey that perpetuate vision for the future. 
  • Help him discover new thoughts, perceptions, and emotions that strengthen his ability to take action and achieve what is important to him. 
  • Engage the client in discovering answers within himself, resulting in a greater degree of ownership. 
  • Challenge Jeffrey to explore new avenues. 

Powerful and explorative questions reach deep inside the client and generate insight.

- Mary Verstraete, PCC


Learning to ask effective and well-designed questions is a skill that can be learned. If you want to add another dimension to asking questions, we've created a webinar to do just that. Join Mary Verstraete on Tuesday, December 1, from 12 to 1:30 p.m. CT for the "How Important Are Questions?" webinar. 

Following registration, you will receive a workbook for the webinar.

Click here to reserve your spot!


Mary is a leadership consultant who works with organizations to establish a culture of synergistic teams, systems and processes for greater employee engagement, employee loyalty, and communication effectiveness. She trains leaders to maximize leadership competencies, develop greater agility, and achieve leadership influence through communication excellence. 

Mary is President and Cofounder of the Center for Coaching Excellence, a distinctive training organization that focuses on developing highly competent coaches through a mentor-training approach and a training model of coaching that easily transitions into professional and personal conversations. Mary continues to expanded coaching into diverse industries by developing customized coach training used in companies such as ExxonMobil, Chevron, and MJ Senior Housing.