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Making Questions Work: A Guide to How and What to Ask for Facilitators, Consultants, Managers, Coaches, and Educators

ISBN: 978-0-7879-8727-5
272 pages
November 2006, Jossey-Bass
Making Questions Work: A Guide to How and What to Ask for Facilitators, Consultants, Managers, Coaches, and Educators (0787987271) cover image

Description

This book is an invaluable desk reference for facilitators, leaders, coaches and anyone who wants to engage in more effective learning and decision-making conversations. It offers over 1700 rich questions that you can borrow or adapt to improve your inquiry skills, and provides clear frameworks that point to when, where, and why particular questions are most useful.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments.

The Author.

Preface.

Introduction.

PART ONE: HOW TO ASK QUESTIONS.

1 Questions That Work.

PROCESS FRAMEWORKS.

CONSCIOUS QUESTIONING.

Framing Questions.

Planned Questioning.

Closed and Open Questions.

Closed Questions.

Open Questions.

SKILLS FOR CONSCIOUS QUESTIONING.

Customize for Context.

Create Inviting Questions.

Clarify Assumptions.

Ask with Sensitivity.

Accommodate Risk and Anxiety.

Maintain a Participant-Observer Stance.

Consider “Why?” Carefully.

When in Doubt.

REMINDERS.

2 Core Facilitation Values.

VALUES INTO ACTION.

INTEGRITY.

Guidelines for Asking Questions with Integrity.

Maintain Objectivity.

Clarify Confidentiality.

Be Sensitive to Conflicts of Interest.

Avoid Collusion.

Ask Questions Fairly.

Determine Authorship.

Address Imbalances in Power and Information.

Operationalizing the Value of Integrity.

AUTHENTICITY.

Guidelines for Asking Questions with Authenticity.

Build Group Ownership for Outcomes.

Minimize Self-Deception About a Process.

Be Clear About Intentions.

Acknowledge Problems.

Be Honest About Your Competencies.

Be Present; Tune In.

Hear Your Client’s Perspective.

Operationalizing the Value of Authenticity.

MUTUAL RESPECT.

Guidelines for Asking Questions with Mutual Respect.

Enable Equity.

Clarify Group Norms.

Respect Exchange Times.

Encourage Direct Interaction.

Be Patient; Whose Silence Is It?

Respect the Energy in the Group.

Operationalizing the Value of Mutual Respect.

LEANING ON VALUES.

3 Follow-up Questions.

PROMPT FOR CLARIFICATION.

PROMPT FOR PERSPECTIVES.

PROMPT FOR RATIONALE.

PROMPT FOR OPTIONS.

PROMPT FOR IMPLICATIONS.

PART TWO: WHAT TO ASK WHEN.

4 Questions for Opening a Session.

PROCESS FRAMEWORK.

GUIDELINES FOR QUESTIONS TO OPEN A SESSION.

QUESTION BANK.

Getting to Know One Another.

Focus: Sharing Personal Information.

Focus: Exploring Work Experience.

Clarifying Expectations.

Focus: Understanding Hopes and Concerns.

Focus: Meeting Objectives and Outcomes.

Building Commitment.

Focus: Developing Group Norms.

Focus: Building Ownership.

COMMON CHALLENGES.

When Time Is Short.

Opening a Workshop on a Specific Topic.

Opening a Series of Workshops.

Loosening Up a Tight Group.

5 Questions for Enabling Action.

PROCESS FRAMEWORK.

GUIDELINES FOR QUESTIONS TO ENABLE ACTION.

QUESTION BANK.

“What?”: The Notice Questions (Observations).

“So What?”: The Meaning Questions (Reflections).

Focus: Relevance and Fit.

Focus: The Organization.

Focus: The Individual.

“Now What?”: The Application Questions (Actions).

Focus: Personal Change.

Focus: Organizational Change.

Focus: Building Ownership.

Focus: Operational Planning.

COMMON CHALLENGES.

Supporting Action After a Meeting of a Network or Coalition.

Enabling a Structured Approach to Reflection and Action.

Discussing and Making Decisions That Affect Organizational Policies.

Applying Research (Knowledge Translation).

Workplace Stress: Personal Change.

6 Questions for Thinking Critically.

PROCESS FRAMEWORK.

GUIDELINES FOR QUESTIONS TO ENABLE CRITICAL THINKING.

QUESTION BANK.

Making Assumptions and Perspectives Explicit.

Focus: The Individual.

Focus: The Team or Organization.

Focus: The Broader Context.

Understanding Interests and Power Relationships.

Focus: The Individual.

Focus: The Team or Organization.

Focus: The Broader Context.

Exploring Alternative Ways of Thinking and Acting.

Focus: The Individual.

Focus: The Team or Organization.

Focus: The Broader Context.

Making Ethical Choices.

Focus: The Individual.

Focus: The Team or Organization.

Focus: The Broader Contex.

COMMON CHALLENGES.

Thinking Critically About the Future.

Acting Ethically in Low-Resource Countries.

Thinking Critically About Policy Changes.

7 Questions for Addressing Issues.

PROCESS FRAMEWORK.

GUIDELINES FOR QUESTIONS TO ADDRESS ISSUES.

QUESTION BANK.

Understanding the Situation.

Focus: Internal Considerations.

Focus: External Considerations.

Clarifying the Issues.

Focus: Issue Description.

Focus: Why This Is an Issue.

Focus: Stakeholders.

Generating Options for Action.

Focus: A Positive Future.

Focus: Solutions.

Focus: Learning from Others.

Testing Options for Action.

Focus: Rationale.

Focus: Potential Impact.

Focus: Strategic Fit.

Making a Decision.

Taking Action.

COMMON CHALLENGES.

Encouraging Candor and Confidentiality.

Putting Sensitive Issues on the Table.

Issues Management in a Nongovernmental Organization.

Issues-Based Planning: A Redundancy Program.

8 Questions for Closing a Session.

PROCESS FRAMEWORK.

GUIDELINES FOR QUESTIONS TO CLOSE A SESSION.

QUESTION BANK.

Looking Backward.

Focus: Midway Through a Process.

Focus: The Experience as a Whole.

Focus: Learning.

Focus: Productivity.

Focus: Management of the Process.

Looking Forward.

Focus: Celebrating Success.

Focus: Building Ownership for Follow-Through.

Focus: Taking Action—Knowledge Translation.

Focus: Future Collaboration.

COMMON CHALLENGES.

Bringing a Multisite Project to a Close.

Closing a National Issues-Based Workshop.

Conducting Exit Interviews in Small Groups.

Reviewing a Pilot Workshop.

In Closing: About Questions—What I Know for Sure.

References.

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Author Information

Dorothy Strachan is a partner in Strachan-Tomlinson, a process consulting firm based in Ottawa, Canada. She has been a professional facilitator since 1974. Dorothy's practice is in three main areas: process design and facilitation, organizational interventions such as strategic planning and team development, and the creation of customized workshops and learning programs. She is the author of several publications in areas such as leadership development, facilitation, strategic planning, and effective coaching in high-performance sports. Strachan-Tomlinson has a special interest in the health sector.
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Reviews

"This book is an invaluable desk reference for facilitators, leaders, coaches, and anyone who wants to engage in more effective learning and decision-making conversations. It offers over 1700 rich questions that you can borrow or adapt to improve your inquiry skills, and provides clear frameworks that point to when, where, and why particular questions are most useful."
—Anne S. Davidson, consultant, Roger Schwarz & Associates, and coauthor, The Skilled Facilitator Fieldbook

"Everyone who facilitates should have this book on their desk!"
—Ingrid Bens, consultant and author, Facilitating with Ease!

"There is everything from cultural and contextual sensitivity to effective use of body language in this richly detailed and flexible facilitation text."
—Valerie Alia, professor, Leeds Metropolitan University, United Kingdom

"An indispensable, time-saving thesaurus of powerful searching questions linked to simple but powerfulframeworks for structuring workshops, meetings, interviews, and surveys."
—Allan Mees, change consultant and facilitator, Standard Life plc, Edinburgh, Scotland

"Provides facilitators and managers with a road map for group processes by building our capacity to ask the right questions in almost any situation."
—Felipe B. Alfonso, vice chairman and executive director, Asian Institute of Management Centre for Corporate Responsibility and vice chairman, Manila Electric Company, Philippines

"Strachan's book is a must?read for facilitators who need to organize professionals and professionals who don't think they need to be organized."
—Dr. Sam D. Shemie, Critical Care, Montreal Children's Hospital, McGill University Health Centre, and the Canadian Council for Donation and Transplantation

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