The below are some of the questioning types we might employ, with a simple traffic light system.
Red = Avoid
Multiple - Questions that come in a burst, or ones that cover multiple topics all in one go. It will just lead to shorter answers and confused answers.
Marathon - A long-winded question wrapped up in an anecdote or a story. Perhaps trying to get your point across more than it is asking the question.
Amber = Use Sparingly
Closed - These are often leading and should often be avoided, to not bias the answers. These can also just seem like advice dressed up as a question. "Did you try...". "Have you thought of...". These can sometimes be helpful to move a conversation on or confirm you have understood something.
Hypothetical - Can be useful to get a conversation moving or if someone has got a bit stuck in their thinking. "What would you do differently?". "If money were no object what would you do?".
Green = Go!
Open - These allow the client to answer freely.
Probing - These are simple follow on questions to get more detail and specifics. To help us get a real understanding. "Go on...". "Do you have an example?". "Can you be more specific?".
Open questions are the aim for the trusted advisor, trying to get the most information out of a client and get them talking to you.
Think of questions that start:
Please describe …
Tell me about …
The attached handout will help you practice these open questions in groups.