Posing Questions That Mediate Thinking

When we pose questions, our intention is to broaden thinking and invite exploration. Good questions should be open-ended, that is, avoiding a yes or no answer. When we begin a question with a verb, such as “can,” “will,” “did,” it closes the question. A good coaching question usually begins with “what,” or “how.” It invites a thoughtful and extended response.


When our intention is to inquire, we want to use tentative language, such as “could,” “might,” “possible,” etc. Combining such language with plural forms causes a person to search for more than one answer. Compare your thinking when asked, “What strategy will you use?” to “What are some strategies you might use?”


Be deliberate this week in asking the kinds of questions that invite thinking. Experiment with plural forms and tentative language. Give careful attention to asking open-ended questions.