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© Article translated from the book “Ascolto attivo ed empatia. I segreti di una comunicazione efficace“. copyright Dr. Daniele Trevisani Intercultural Negotiation Training and Coaching, published with the author’s permission. The Book’s rights are on sale and are available. If you are interested in publishing the book in any language, or seek Intercultural Negotiation Training, Coaching, Mentoring and Consulting, please feel free to contact Dr. Daniele Trevisani.

Questions that Open Up the Person’s World 

As we listen, we know that every word or sentence does not exist alone but is part of pre-existing mental networks and knots, which are touched by communication. 

  1. Each message that touches a point inside a network of meanings stimulates the meanings close to that point.
  2. Messages that pass through cognitive networks and belief systems can change the structure of the network itself. 

Powerful questions can change your mind. Not only they can help us explore people’s inner worlds, but they can also change them by helping the client increase his/her own self-awareness. Receiving the permission/request to ask them, as happens in psychotherapy sessions, is enough. 

Here below you can find some examples of powerful questions, but be aware that they must be used wisely, with professional attitude, and only after receiving the client’s permission: 

  1. How long have you not felt happy? 
  2. What is the atmosphere in your home? 
  3. What do you think is possible and what do you think is impossible in your life? 
  4. What stage are you living in your life? 
  5. What have you not yet dealt with in your life? 
  6. What gives life meaning to you? 
  7. How soon would you like to feel happy? 
  8. What’s the worst thing that doesn’t have to happen in your life? 
  9. What were the worst moments of your life? 
  10. Why did we get there? 
  11. How long have you not felt carefree? 
  12. Who do you feel good with? 
  13. When do you feel good? 
  14. What are the people who give you energy and those who take away that energy from you? 
  15. Do you feel capable of planning your future? 
  16. Do you usually plan something in the day, week, month, year, several years, ever? 
  17. What is the worst offense they could cause you? 
  18. What does an existential refuge represent for you? Where do you go to heal yourself? 
  19. What would you like to do in life before you die?  
  20. How do you feel in the presence of X? (Where X is a significant person) 
  21. What do you need to pay attention to most, in order to improve your life? 
  22. Do you think you have the strength to change something in your life? 
  23. You told me that sometimes you feel like you are in a blender (reformulation). When exactly does it happen, in what situations? 
  24. Are there victims of your actions or behaviours or ways of doing things? 
  25. Who or what do you care most about in life? 
  26. If you had a magic wand and you could make 3 wishes, what would they be? 
  27. What are the quiet moments in which you regenerate? 
  28. Are they enough? 
  29. What are the confusing moments in your life? 
  30. Do you feel that you always have the right energy to face all the situations? 
  31. What is worth fighting for in life, in your opinion? 
  32. What are you fighting for? 
  33. How many energies do you have when you get up in the morning? 
  34. How are your energies when you go to sleep, what are the prevailing thoughts? 
  35. In which moments do you feel more outgoing and in which more introverted? 
  36. What is the thing that would make you say “I did it!”? 
  37. What battles did you give up? 
  38. What are the 2 most negative and the 2 most positive aspects about yourself, in your opinion? 
  39. What would a “plan B” be all right for your life? What options are there? 
  40. When did you feel hurt? 
  41. When did you feel happy beyond all limits? 
  42. If we could identify a micro-action already feasible today or tomorrow, what would that be? 

 

Some of these questions can be asked with special mental training techniques, while lying down with your eyes closed, but this requires a special type of training, because trying to read yourself deeply is not easy and, in that condition the complexity of your inner world increases, and so do the emotional responses, including emotions that lead to crying, anger, suffering, joy, etc. 

Being able to manage these reactions requires special training, at least a counselling course or an advanced coaching course. 

Releasing these responses and the emotions that accompany them is good, since it breaks the “Spiral of Silence” which, like a disease, suffocates people, companies, organizations and entire societies. 

Please note that these questions are specifically used in coaching, counselling, therapy, leadership, and other professional situations involving adults. They should not be used “just to try” especially in family environments and with children or adolescents who are unable to metabolize the emotional weight that these questions create. 

© Article translated from the book “Ascolto attivo ed empatia. I segreti di una comunicazione efficace“. copyright Dr. Daniele Trevisani Intercultural Negotiation Training and Coaching, published with the author’s permission. The Book’s rights are on sale and are available. If you are interested in publishing the book in any language, or seek Intercultural Negotiation Training, Coaching, Mentoring and Consulting, please feel free to contact Dr. Daniele Trevisani.