April 11, 2008

The usefulness question

A question which is used a lot in solution-focused coaching is the so-called usefulness question (sometimes referred to as the useful-question). The purpose of this question (of course) is to make conversations as useful as possible for those involved. Solution-focused coaches use usefulness questions at the beginning of conversations, during conversations and at the end of conversations.

At the beginning,
of conversations questions like these can be used:
  • How can we make this conversation as useful as possible?
  • What do you want to come out of this conversation?
  • How would you notice afterwards that this conversation has been worth your time?
    During the conversation, questions like these can be used:
    • So far, has this conversation been useful to you?
    • (if yes) What was useful? How was it useful?
    • (if no) What are your ideas about how we can make the conversation more useful?
    • How can we make the remaining time as useful as possible?
      At the end of the conversation, questions like these can be used:
      • Has this conversation been useful to you?
      • How is what we talked about useful to you?
      By posing usefulness questions, it becomes easier for people to focus on what they want to come out of the sessions. By asking the question, they will remember their goals and linking the conversation to these goals. The question has an activating effect. By asking the question people will usually become actively involved in the conversation right away. The interesting thing is that the usefulness question can be applied just as well in one-on-one conversations as in group sessions.

      1 comment:

      1. Good summaries of questions Coert. I would like permission to use this as a handout for a session on Solution Focused meetings.


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