Questions are the heart and soul of facilitation. They're the main technique for getting the client to open up, reflect, imagine, buy in, identify problems, and discover creative solutions.
It's important to understand that there's a lot more to good questioning than simply asking the first thing that pops into your head. Questions have structure and need to be carefully designed to ensure that they're sensitive and on target. That's why professional facilitators carefully plan the questions they're going to ask. Planning ensures that they're asking the right question, the right way, at the right time.
The Principles of Effective Questioning
One of the great challenges of questioning effectively is that there isn't a standard set of questions that works in every setting. A line of questioning that works really well with one group might confuse or upset another one. Even the questions contained in this chapter are only offered as food for thought. It's always important to remember that every question has to be carefully evaluated to ensure that it's appropriate. Keep these guidelines in mind:
- Customize for context: Be sure that questions are sensitive to things like the client's organizational culture, occupational group, gender mix, values, environmental factors, financial situation, recent history and current stresses.
- Create inviting questions: ...