Post-Christmas Resolution, Day 45 – Ask a Question Like a Mentor (Part 2)

Today’s giving: Helped a guy whose car stalled. (Frankly, I didn’t do much to help other than get his battery cable reattached. But it was enough to get the car started and moving. It was worth going out of my way on my morning run.)

Yesterday, I wrote about things to do before asking that first question. Today:

The Goals of Asking a Good Questionan empty picture frame

To help someone help themselves, its important to know how you can help them.

  • Goal #1: Framing – Taking the general to the specific. I can think of nothing more helpful than putting constraints on a problem.

Example – Someone needs help with a speech. They want to talk about their love of the ocean. You could ask, “Can you tell me about a memory you have of the ocean?” This takes the focus off the “ocean” and puts it on the “story about the ocean”. The latter is much more constrained and thus easier for the speaker to manage.

  • Goal #2: Finding Their Goal – Identifying the end goal helps find direction and purpose.

Example – A child might ask a parent for help writing an essay about a happy experience of the child. The child can’t get started. A parent might ask, “What is something you would like to write about?” This helps the child think of things he/she likes and focuses on the pleasure the child will receive.

  • Goal #3: See the Bridges – Visualize an ocean with a sea of islands. Although there are many islands, you see a lush tropical island and an island full of industry. There is a bridge between the two islands. You know that bringing the products from the industrial island to the tropical island will create a paradise. The person you’re with can envision paradise, but doesn’t see this bridge. Your questions can help him see the bridge.

Example – A neighbor says they want to exercise regularly, but can’t seem to stick with it. You know that they regularly go to work and take out the trash. You see the bridge between the scheduling island and the exercise island, but your neighbor doesn’t. So you might ask, “What time do you exercise?” This may help them see the relationship between exercise and scheduling time to exercise.

To the reader:

“What are the three most important things a mentor can help you with?”

About Eric Winger

Our perception of time is key to how we use our time. The most fundamental way to change that perception is to give our time. This opens us up to new opportunities and ideas from which we can build to really make a difference. ... Yes, we *do* have time to make a difference!
This entry was posted in In the community, Toastmasters. Bookmark the permalink.