Posing Mediative Questions—Approachability

“One of the most exciting and energetic forms of thought is the question. I always think that the question is like a lantern. It illuminates new landscapes and new areas as it moves. Therefore, the question always assumes that there are many different dimensions to a thought that you are either blind to or that are not available to you. So a question is really one of the forms in which wonder expresses itself. One of the reasons that we wonder is because we are limited, and that limitation is one of the great gateways to wonder.” —John O’Donohue

A question is, in essence, a “quest” to seek, to explore, to illuminate.

In your Adaptive Schools Foundation Seminar and/or your Cognitive Coaching Foundation Seminar®, you learned that questions can transform thinking. The skillfulness with which you pose questions can be the key to inviting more complex thinking.

When posing a question, the coach/facilitator signals approachability, both verbally and nonverbally. The intention is to provide a sense of cognitive safety so that the coachee/group will feel inclined to volunteer new, sometimes vulnerable thinking.

Verbal approachability is signaled with a voice that holds a gentle cadence and offers a tone that rises and falls and typically ends on an upswing. Nonverbal approachability is communicated with a tilted head, uplifted palms, gentle gestures, quiet vocalizations, and a soft body posture.

This week, listen to how you pose questions. Notice how people respond to your questions when you offer the question with approachability.