Here are 12 action-oriented questions that instill accountability, fuel momentum and inspire people to create their own solutions.
We’re all looking for results today – fast. But standing at the podium preaching to your team about change and needing to work harder gets real old and tiring for both you and your team. Moreover, it simply doesn’t work to effectively and consistently drive the changes and the activity you need for the long term.
Accountability-driven questions get people out of their head, challenges their well crafted stories (excuses) and redirects their focus towards a solution they generate which in turn, gets them inspired and into action.
Rather than continually over-engineering the conversations with your salespeople, shift the conversation towards the actionable, measurable tasks they can engage in to achieve the specific and measurable results you seek, rather than you telling them what they should do or believing you need to know every painful detail about every situation so that you can then rebut with advice or a solution. After all, if they come up with the solution, then they own it. And if they own it, they’re going to be more willing to act on it.
Treat these questions like a buffet. So, take what you like and leave what you don’t. Depending upon your situation and the individual you’re coaching, every question may not work for everyone. However, since we’re all looking for new and better results, take some of these questions out for a test drive before you dismiss any of them or assume they won’t work (on you or your team), as you will not know how effective they are until you actually try them out.
- What is most important for you to achieve now?
- What’s the right approach for you to take in this situation?
- What are the steps you are going to take in order to resolve this? What are you willing to do or change in order to achieve this goal?
- What are the three measurable activities you can commit to this week and the outcomes you expect that will move you closer to your goal?
- What change in your thinking would help you achieve your goals faster and in a more enjoyable way?
- What drastic change can you make today that would support your goals?
- What would you like to have completed by our next (meeting, coaching session, etc.)?
- What’s the biggest change you are willing to make this week, starting today?
- What are you going to begin doing immediately after our meeting that would reduce your stress and help you hit your sales objectives?
- What are you willing to commit to this week that would give you a sense of accomplishment?
- What behavior or assumptions do you need to give up or abandon in order to achieve your goal? This holds true in thinking as well as strategy, action and habit. Sometimes in order to grow, you have to let go.
- If I wasn’t here, in your opinion, how would you move forward? (handle this, respond to that customer, etc.)? This one is one of my favorite coaching questions for managers who are looking to reinvent their role and move away from being the chief problem solver and solution provider and instead, help their people grow and develop the mental muscle to confidently generate solutions on their own. After all, everyone has an opinion, whether right or wrong, good or bad. It’s your responsibility when coaching not to judge but to seek to understand the other person’s point of view. The benefit here is, when you respect someone’s point of view, they, in turn, will respect yours.
Remember, the answer you get is only as good as the question you ask. So, make sure you give each person the time and space needed to truly process the question in order to come up with a more structured and thought out, honest answer that would shift outcomes and create new possibilities.