Are You Asking the Right Questions?

This post goes back to my last post on transition, change and the the Clinical Health Coach course that I attended. I want to get more into Motivational Interviewing, how it works and how it can help you in the workplace, at home and it even works great with teenagers!

now-thats-a-good-question1Motivational interviewing is defined as “person-centered counseling style for addressing the common problem of ambivalence about change” – or in my words, it’s all about how you ask a question to get the desired outcome that is a collaborative effort to elicit a specific goal.

So, let’s talk about an example¬†of this; maybe someone tells you their goal is to make more money so they can retire in 5 years. Great goal, right? Well, it could be if there is a clear cut plan based on SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timed) goals.

Some people may want to ask, why is this important to you, which is relevant, but I might ask; What steps have you taken to ensure this will happen? Maybe they have taken steps, maybe they haven’t. To keep the conversation going you could say, “Tell me what has been working for you so far”. This keeps the conversation focused on the positives.

When you ask the WHAT’s it is not as simple as a yes or no question. You can also say, Tell ME MORE, or IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE?¬† If the person hasn’t put much thought into it, I would ask another open ended question to see if they have really thought this goal out. The key to motivational interviewing have to do with this entire process:

  1. Ask the open ended questions to keep the conversation moving
  2. Affirm the strengths, efforts and character and worth
  3. Reflect upon what your client, employee, child, etc. says to keep focused on them and convey understanding and empathy
  4. Summarize the big picture at the end and transition to the task at hand

I have found myself using this with my personal training clients, trying to get more answers from my children, and even coaching clients and my children on how to get the answers and desired outcomes they are seeking from others. Take some time. Think about how you ask your questions and how you can get more out of your clients, employees, family, whoever it is!

Be happy. Be healthy. And ask GREAT questions!

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