Here are my favorites:
Someone comes to you about a decision he or she wants to make and would like you to approve:
What is the worst that can happen if we do this, and can we live with that if it happens?
Someone comes to you with a complaint about Noah, a co-worker:
Sounds as if you need to have a conversation with Noah. How can I support you in doing that?
Someone comes to you about a problem he or she can’t solve:
Who knows the answer to this and how might you reach that person?
The key is to develop a set of questions that get to the heart of the matter.
Here are some others you might practice:
- To nail down a commitment: When do you think you’ll be able to complete this?
- To respond to a complaint: What is your request?
- To check for alignment: Are you okay with this?
- To push back on whining or griping: What might we do to change that situation?