What are powerful questions and what makes them so powerful?

powerful questions

By asking powerful questions, you can change the power dynamics in a conversation, so the person who asks no longer appears to be in charge, and rather appears to be a facilitator, helping the other person discover their own solutions. When someone asks you a powerful question, it has a profound influence on them. They feel understood, valued, and in control of their own lives.

Providing room and expressing interest while challenging others to be more proactive and creative is one of the simplest ways to open new lines of inquiry in talks.

What are powerful questions and what makes them so powerful

How do powerful questions look like?

Powerful questions are Open

We minimise the choices when we pose questions that can be answered with a simple “Yes” or “No”. When we replace a closed Yes/No question with an open one, we open up a dialogue and help people to discover new ideas for solving their problems.

Example:

What are your thoughts on how this will be put into practise? Instead of, Does this look feasible to you?

Powerful questions start with “who”, “what”, and “why” (with the exception of “why”)

We would recommend you commence an open question using words such as “What,” “Where,” and “How.” This kind of adverb encourages the opposing side to explain themselves and to consider all the ways a certain situation could play out. They show that we are prepared to listen to the person and that we truly care about their opinions.

Example:

Where is the prospect for this? Is this really something you want to spend your time on?

Creative inquiries don’t begin with “Why?” Why? To help alleviate this “pressure,” another individual could feel the need to justify his or her point of view. Because of this, they may close up or become protective. You can learn to “neutralise” open inquiries by substituting Why with What, but only with a little practise.

Example:

What are you concerned about most? How will you find this difficult?

Powerful questions are short & to the point

Another point to make is that open questions empower you to make decisions. When our query is concise and specific, we have more room to ponder and play creatively in the other person. Let any needless words or statements that assume your opinion or belief be removed.

Example:

Is this significant to you? Instead of asking yourself what this information is vital to you right now while we’re all busy with other work and the holidays are approaching, why not ask yourself, “What about this information are you interested in?”

Emotionally charged queries are formulated in the moment.

For a start, it’s almost certain that you’ll discover countless listings of sample forceful queries on the internet. They may be very instructive to observe as instances, but the truly impactful questions are formed as a result of listening that is truly focused.

As a follow-up to something that was just mentioned, ask your forceful questions. Letting the other person know that you’ve actually heard them will empower them to move into thinking thoroughly about their answer. When the other side is interested in what you have to offer, people are more open. As a follow-up, some powerful questions serve as an open invitation to take time to contemplate, come up with, and work on a concept right then and there instead of having everything “figured out” previously.

Example:

It’s much appreciated that you were able to tell me about your concerns. What’s the hardest part about it for you? Try something different instead.


When people feel encouraged, acknowledged, and competent, they generally take leadership. As far as most people are concerned, the main problem is not to surrender their authority. They’ve been socialised to go along with the herd and honour conventional hierarchies.

Persuasive questions can greatly influence interpersonal dynamics in any setting. Coaching your employees, by asking effective questions, empowers them to take responsibility for their job, their growth, and their participation

Recommended Reading: Get Comfortable with Mindful Silence and used to the power of it

ICF Core Competency “Powerful Questions”: ICF CORE COMPETENCIES

About Srinivas Saripalli 49 Articles
Hi! I'm Srinivas Saripalli. For over eighteen years I've been building high-performing software development teams and organizations through the use of agile and Scrum. I've worked with startups and some of the largest organizations in the world. To find answers to specific questions about Scrum and agile, scaling agile, agile transformation and leadership coaching browse my blog. I am an Executive Leadership Coach handling select clients in the are of Agile & cultural Transformation. I am a Certified Scrum Professional, a seasoned strategist in executions of Coaching Agile Transformations. I am also a SAFe Program Consultant. I have also held positions of process quality consultant in CMMI and ISO doing harmonising process operations for customers, including the implementation of quality programmes in Hi-tech, Retail, Media, and Publishing.

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