It’s been 12 months since I formally started my coaching journey and have now accounted for hundreds of coaching and mentoring hours with tens of clients. One of the assignment I had to do for my final exam was to write my coaching model (which will be subject for another article) and this offered me the nudge to analyze my practice.
Looking back at my clients, my evolution and our work together, I see one red thread spreading throughout the sessions and that is the fact that they started to question their surroundings, their situation, they started to see new opportunities, new perspectives. They started thinking about what could become possible, they started to wonder.
Photo by Bruno Scramgnon
“I know you won’t believe me, but the highest form of human excellence is to question oneself and others.”Socrates
This is socratic questioning. Socratic questioning involves asking a series of open-ended questions to explore a concept or idea in depth and to challenge assumptions and beliefs. This method is often used in education, as it helps students to think critically, examine their own beliefs and better understand complex concepts. Socratic questioning can also be used in everyday life to encourage meaningful conversations, to facilitate personal growth and self-discovery and to gain a deeper understanding of different perspectives. The key to Socratic questioning is to ask questions that challenge assumptions and encourage reflection, rather than simply seeking answers.
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you felt like no matter what you did, you couldn’t quite seem to get people to understand you or your perspective? It can be frustrating, to say the least. But perhaps, instead of trying so hard to make people understand, we could focus on making them wonder.
When we make people wonder, we open up the possibility for them to come to their own conclusions and understand things in their own way. We give them the space to think critically and to ask questions. This can be especially important in situations where there is disagreement or conflict.
So how do we make people wonder?
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- Ask thought-provoking questions: Asking questions that challenge the status quo or push people to think differently can inspire curiosity and spark discussion.
- Share obscure or little-known facts: Whether it’s a trivia tidbit or an interesting fact about a lesser-known subject, sharing obscure knowledge can get people wondering and wanting to learn more.
- Present an unusual perspective: By presenting an uncommon or unexpected point of view, you can challenge people’s assumptions and inspire them to see things in a new light. OR Explore different perspectives: Ask questions that help you understand different points of view, such as “What do you think the other side of this argument would say?” or “Can you see it from another perspective?”
- Create a sense of mystery: Whether it’s through storytelling, an intriguing image, or an cryptic message, creating a sense of mystery can spark people’s imagination and leave them wanting to know more.
- Showcase the impossible: Demonstrating something that defies conventional wisdom or challenges people’s understanding of the world can get them wondering and seeking answers.
- Encourage reflection: Ask questions that prompt people to think about their own beliefs and experiences, such as “What led you to believe that?” or “Can you explain why you feel that way?”
- Foster critical thinking: Ask questions that challenge assumptions and encourage problem-solving, such as “What evidence supports this?” or “How could we test that hypothesis?”
- Enhance communication: Use Socratic questioning to encourage meaningful conversations and to delve deeper into topics, rather than just exchanging surface-level information.
- Encourage self-discovery: Use Socratic questioning to explore your own thoughts and beliefs, and to better understand your values and motivations.
By making people wonder, you have the power to inspire curiosity, spark creativity and foster critical thinking. So go out there and start making people question, imagine, and ponder. The possibilities are endless.
If you want to get in touch and talk more about wonder, drop a line in the comments.