I recently came across this article by Marshall Goldsmith, author of “Coaching for Leadership,” in which he explained daily-questions process. Since then I have been using this process with my great friend, Suzy. We are amazed at how well this process works.
The process goes like this:
- Each person writes down their own questions
- Each question must be able to be answered with an easy ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ or a number: this helps the process to move quickly
- Each person then asks the other person the same questions every day for a week
- The results are summarized at the end of each week
The process is guided by two rules
- There must be no negative feedback, regardless of what the other person has or has not done. We steer away from passing judgement on good/bad: this only strengthens the omnipotent reward/punishment system that shapes our society
- We acknowledge breakthroughs and celebrate successes.
Let me clarify this process by sharing with you how the process has worked with Suzy. Every day Suzy asks me the same ten questions and I ask her the same twelve questions. Please note: our questions reflect our own values. They might not necessarily work for you, so design your own question in keeping with your values.
Suzy’s first question for me is: “How empowering was your day?” I answer on a score of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest score. This question supports me to keep aligned with my vision of empowering people one person at a time, with each encounter – face to face, telephonically, or in any other medium. It may be the person I meet in the shopping mall; or my trainer; or my friend; or my daughter or son… If I didn’t get to reflect on this question each day, I could easily get caught up in day-to-day stress. Answering this question reminds me that I am living what I’m passionate about, and how grateful I am to be able to do so.
The next questions are around health, such as: “How many minutes of physical activity did you do today?” and: “Did you drink your six glasses of water today?”
Then there are questions around relationships, such as: “Did I say something nice to my son and daughter?” The purpose of this question is not so much to affirm that I am such a great mother as to support me in being an even better mother.
My questions are all aligned with my short term goals. Because I am confronted with these questions on a daily basis, I can reflect on whether or not I am on target to achieve these goals. If not, I can put new action plans in place. Because I share these questions with a friend, they are not so easy to just dismiss. Disciplined follow-up is key to the success of my coaching.
Imagine your friend called you every night to ask you the questions that represent your values. What questions would you want this person to be asking? The results can be very revealing and profound.
I invite you to try out this process for yourself. Write down your own questions and then reflect on how you live them – or don’t live them – on a daily basis. Why not recruit a friend and start asking daily questions to each other?
Please share your experiences with me: I would love to know what new insights came up for you.