Most parents are great advice givers. They are great at telling their kids how they should think and what they should do. "Mom, dad, and/or coach know best." The problem is, this approach will never help your child become a strong thinker, a wise decision maker, a creative problem solver, or great leader.
Leading a family, a team, your kids, or people in general is the single most challenging calling you and I have.
Honestly, I was a terrible leader (still a work in progress) for a long time because I did not know about what I am about to share with you.
I was a great advice giver but I rarely, if ever, honored the dignity and intelligence of the kids and adults I led by curiously asking them open-ended questions.
You are a parent so you know this struggle is real. It is so much easier to tell them what they should think or do. But the problem is, they never learn to think...
Am I asking my child questions that gives them a chance to process, strengthen their discernment muscles, think creatively, think strategically, and come up with their own answers?
Luckily for my family, I learned how bad I was at this by leading people in a professional setting before I had kids.
I wondered why I always had to give reminders and give the same advice over and over and over again.
Until I learned a better way...
One of the greatest opportunities parents and coaches have right now lies not in the advice they give but rather in the questions they ask.
"What do you think, Carly?"
"How do you think this could best be accomplished."
"How do you see it? I'd like to hear from you first, then I can share my thoughts."
"What are some creative ways you can think of that will make it better next time?"
Leading questions are ones that lead only to a "yes" or a "no" answer. They make for a quicker conversation, but a shorter duration of application and action.
Powerful questions on the other hand are harder to answer but always lead to a more empowered, equipped, enlightened, and encouraged person on the other end.
I'm telling you, this concept has rattled me, convicted me, and challenged me for 2 years now. I think it is because I was not asked open ended questions by my parents growing up, and I was not asked open ended questions by my mentors and coaches.
Pay attention to this in your interactions, start practicing today (and expect awkward pauses and little to no initial progress), and stick with it. We all deserve the chance to voice our ideas, thoughts, and opinions!
Dedicated to your child's success,
Coach Andrew Simpson