Strategic questioning is a special type of asking questions that creates a difference and brings about change in the personal and social aspects. It lets individuals explore their own tactics and techniques in going about the change. You can also use strategic questioning to help other people come up with their own solutions to any issues or problems.
In a larger scope, strategic questioning develops or creates new information instead of communicating what is already known and the person sharing new information has ownership of it. It generates active participation and creates strength for change. Since it encourages change, strategic questions motivate us to set aside old ideas and embrace new ideas and new ways of facing issues.
Strategic questioning can be used in establishing solid group collaboration and in designing strategies for a positive change. It also enhances good and active listening and innovativeness of individuals.
We ask questions strategically because we believe that we can be better than what we think or what other people think. Also, we hold the assumption that everyone has valuable knowledge to share. This type of question is also based on the realization that change can happen, although not in an abrupt manner.
Characteristics of Strategic Questions
A strategic question has seven distinguished key features or characteristics. First, a strategic question creates motion which means that it triggers us to be dynamic in dealing with a situation instead of getting stuck to it. In a situation wherein the person is not sure on what to do next, asking that person strategically will get the ideas running. Instead of asking “Why don’t you do it that way?” ask instead “How would you want it to be done?”
Next, strategic questions create options that a person could weigh as to benefits and positive results. In sorting out possible options to face an issue, be creative and learn how to think out of the box instead of just sticking to two options which limits our ability to think creatively of the other possibilities.
A strategic question also digs deeper and assesses the situation, so the questions are more dynamic and probing. Another characteristic of strategic questioning is that is avoids asking “Why.” This manner of questioning forces a person to make the present situation rational, making the person resistant to change.
Avoiding closed ended questions or “yes” and “no” answers is another feature of this type of question. It simply does not motivate new ideas and strategies. Next, a strategic question is powerful and empowering.
When a person is asked new ideas, the fact that the ideas are original makes the person feel empowered and confident. Lastly, strategic questions ask the seemingly impossible questions to ask. These questions challenge the assumptions and values on which the issue or situation is based on.
Seven Types of Strategic Questions
Strategic questioning has seven types: focus, observation, feeling, visioning, change, personal inventory and support, and personal action questions. Focus questions help determine the facts and understand the situation.
Observation questions are based on what we see and hear about the situation. Feeling questions appeal to the emotions. Visioning questions are targeted on a person’s dreams and possibilities.
Change questions are concerned with transforming the present situation to something different in the future. Personal inventory and support questions address more of an individual’s skills, interests, and contributions. The seventh and last type is the personal action questions where a person gets to share action plans about the issue.
Strategic Questioning Skill
Strategic questioning is also a skill or an ability in which people define their values and actions according to a more positive and persuasive outcome. These questions are meant to empower a person, drawing out one’s strengths and creativity. Strategic questions are designed to focus on what could lie ahead and what is in store.
As a skill, when we ask questions strategically, we must employ the various characteristics of this type of question. We must be sensitive enough to how people accept and embrace change. Some may be quite reluctant so they need a different approach in being asked. Ask questions such as “What can we do…” or “How would you…” since these elicit more ideas and possibilities. Always make sure that the strategic question is designed to make the person think and explore the possibilities.