Powerful Questions – Resources

“It is quite easy to learn the basics of crafting powerful questions. However, once you understand the importance of inquiry, it’s hard to turn back. As your questions become broader and deeper than before, so does your experience of life. There is no telling where a powerful question might lead you.

“For organizations that need collaborative learning and breakthrough thinking in order to create a sustainable future, asking “questions that matter” and engaging diverse constituencies in learning conversations are a core process for value creation. Because questions are inherently related to action, they are at the heart of an organization’s capacity to mobilize the resources required to create a positive future.”

Eric E. Vogt, Juanita Brown, and David Isaacs in
“The Art of Powerful Questions: Catalyzing Insight, Innovation, and Action”


“Powerful Questions” (when used with deep listening) is the most powerful and versatile tool in my coaching toolbox. Heck – in my life toolbox!

I use this skill with teams and phone-coaching clients, and I’m part of a team that publishes a question a day! I use it to gently help friends, or when puzzling something out with my husband, and I have a personal coach who uses this skill with me, too. A truly generative question can wake me up, calm me down, refocus me or get my butt into action, depending on what I discover while exploring it.

I am so thankful for the people from The Coaches Training Institute who first helped me practice this skill, and to the authors of the article mentioned above and others listed below who help me to share it with my valued colleagues.

I seem to be giving these links out a lot, lately, so here they are in one place:


An exercise: The Powerful Questions exercise  which you can use with a friend or your whole team. It is designed by my AgileCoachCamp colleague Carlton Nettleton, and I later compiled it into one pdf with exercise cards for EN / FR / NL / DE speakers. (Apologies: it contains a dead video link… sorry, the conference site removed it. I’m working on a new one).
An oracle: My 100 Powerful Question cards to download, print, cut – for EN / NL / DE
And if you like this, follow @Retroflection on Twitter for a daily thought-provoking question. Designed for Agile software teams, it can inspire new perspectives on any kind of work you do.
An article: A well-designed question can bring “the right people” to your meeting, event or unconference. In fact, this is at the heart of both the Open Space and World Cafe methods. I discovered the thought-provoking article, quoted at the top of this page, on the World Cafe site:
“The Art of Powerful Questions: Catalyzing Insight, Innovation, and Action”
In english / En français / En espanol
A video: A quick intro to using Powerful Questions, made in one hour by a few of us at POcampCH 2015, with help from Karen Greaves and Sam Laing from South Africa. (You’ve gotta love the stuff that comes out of Open Space sessions!)
A cheat-sheet card: Powerful Questions CardsI give these to participants to use as a reminder, in my “No Fixing” Coaching Dojo.
A group facilitator guide: the Open Space Inviting Guide by Michael Herman helps frame helpful questions a facilitator can use
while preparing for an Open Space unconference, or any event, to design a truly valuable and memorable experience for both sponsors and participants. (If this topic interests you, I have more resources here)
A personal inventory: ready to try a powerful question on yourself? The Wheel of Life Exercise
is a standard coaching tool that helps you asses how satisfied you are
with 8 areas of your life, by asking: “How satisfied are you, in
relation to your own expectations?” Warning: it tends to trigger new
thoughts about life balance!
A team-building game: CultureQs is a facilitated game that encourages conversation and deeper conversation between colleagues on important themes, to lay the groundwork for effective teamwork.
A book…
or is it a puzzle?
“But how can I possibly be a LEADER when all I do is ask questions?” Check out The Tao of Holding Space, a free e-book in various formats, by Chris Corrigan, an experienced large group faciliator. Designed around the ancient Tao Te Ching, it is an invitation to view the world of leadership through a whole new lens!
A guide to using questions with your teams Appreciative Team Building: Positive Questions to Bring Out the Best of Your Team by Diana Whitney
A hashtag: use the #PowerfulQuestions hashtag on Twitter to see what I and others are saying on the topic. Or follow @PowerfulQuest
And a few practical books for leaders:
Know of another resource? Please add it here! (note: if your comment contains more than 3 links it will be held for moderation, which might take a day).

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