100 Questions to engage people

Janet Langley
July 2, 2021

Powerful questions can be used to engage people, involve them and empower them. It is a way for us to find out more about people, without assuming we already know the answer. We can find out more about ideas and how to move forward as a team.

Questioning creates “involvement” from a brain level and commitment perspective. If we are told things and we agree, we may remember. If we are told things and we don’t agree, we may not even give it a second thought. The idea is to create “buy in”, involvement or engagement to ensure someone is committed.

"Questions wake people up. They prompt new ideas. They show people new places, and new ways of doing things". Michael Marquardt, author of Leading with Questions

One of the most effective questioning techniques is called the funnel approach.

Questions to engage people - Teamgage
  • Open – Start with open, broad, high level or strategic questions. For example: Please can you tell me more about that?
  • Probe Drill down or probe to find out more details. For example: How can you see it working in your team?
  • Closed – Get specific asking yes or no questions. For example: Do you enjoy that? Will that be today or tomorrow?
  • Check – Review your understanding and the outcome. Check if you are on the same page with a clear message. For example: So you implement this project by the end of next week?

How about putting that into practice?

Here is a list of questions you can use in your next conversation with your team and colleagues:

1. Please tell me more about that?

2. Tell me what your ideal role is?

3. Tell me what you love

4. Tell me about your strengths

5. Tell me about your successes

6. What is working well for you?

7. What challenges are you facing?

8. Tell me about you?

9. What would you love to accomplish in the next 12 months?

10. What do you want to get out of the meeting today?

11. How can you achieve that, specifically?

12. How can you write that in a positive way?

13. What can you do to break it down into bite sized pieces?

14. What is your ideal day / life / year / weekend?

15. Where is your life out of balance?

16. What new thing do you want to learn?

17. What have you done to improve things so far?

18. How does your goal impact others?

19. What is the impact of that?

20. What is the pattern you can see building here?

21. What changes will you see if you go down that path?

22. What is the worst that can happen? Can you handle that?

23. What is likely to happen?

24. Is that a want or a need?

25. What are you scared of?

26. What is holding you back?

27. Tell me about your hesitation?

28. What are you passionate about?

29. Where have you sabotaged yourself in the past?

30. What is your first step?

31. What would you do in my shoes?

32. If money was no object what would you do?

33. What would (person you respect or look up to as an expert) do?

34. What would be the most useful thing you could do now?

35. What decision would you make if you weren’t answerable to anyone?

36. What is the best use of your time?

37. How will you get this done?

38. What do you need to learn or read to achieve this?

39. If you asked your boss what would they suggest?

40. If this was your son / daughter, how would you feel?

41. How committed are you to finish it?

42. On a scale of 1-10 how committed are you / close are you?

43. What will it take to make it a 10?

44. Who can help you achieve this?

45. How will you celebrate your success?

46. What else do you need to consider?

47. What do you need to keep you focused?

48. What obstacle may come along?

49. May I ask a few questions please, I am curious?

50. What have you learnt about yourself with this challenge?

51. How have you grown?

52. How did your team benefit?

53. How are you grateful?

54. What could you be happy about right now?

55. Are you using this to develop or are you beating yourself up?

56. Does this story empower you or disempower you?

57. Do you mind if I make a suggestion?

58. How would you like it to go?

59. What can you do right now (when you hear “I can’t” often)?

60. What could the solution be?

61. What is stopping you?

62. Tell me what that means to you? What could it mean to others?

63. Is this a normal response for you?

64. Who are you aiming to please?

65. What if you did know? (When you hear “I don’t know” often)

66. What is your energy level? Are you feeling drained or energised?

67. What is one thing that will make the most difference?

68. What is your gut feel? What is your intuition saying?

69. Is this your belief or the truth?

70. How will this choice effect you?

71. What would it feel like if you succeeded?

72. What would you have to belief to succeed in this?

73. Have you experienced this previously

74. Who are you worried about upsetting?

75. What will you need to give up to succeed? What will you need to acquire?

76. Who or what is standing in your way?

77. What are you pretending about right now?

78. What are you procrastinating about at the moment?

79. What is the emotional impact?

80. What would it feel like to live and breathe your values?

81. How can you learn from this to prevent it happening again?

82. What would it look like if you planned for this?

83. How can you create more peace or calmness for yourself?

84. What would you do if you were the boss?

85. What are you willing to do?

86. What is one action you can do today?

87. How are you feeling?

88. Tell me about your expectations of yourself?

89. If you continue this way, how will you feel in 10 years time?

90. Is this a “head” decision or “heart”?

91. What does success mean to you?

92. Why does this matter to you? Why does it matter to Jack / me / your

colleagues?

93. What is next for you?

94. What do you see as the best solution?

95. How does the outcome reflect the intention?

96. What would you do differently if you had the chance again?

97. What do you enjoy about this?

98. What was annoying for you?

99. How will we do it again, yet better?

100. How can this change your life?

Janet Langley is an experienced leadership coach and team performance development specialist, having worked with thousands of people, teams and organisations to improve team engagement, people development and business success globally.