Powerful questions catch your attention. They promote reflective practice. They help you figure things out.

You know a powerful question when you hear one. It stops you in your tracks and makes you think. Something new becomes clear to you as you consider the question. Powerful questions can be quite simple. Powerful questions avoid communicating judgment. Instead they focus on what can be learned (Williams & Menendez, 2007).  Often, helping others is less about knowing the right thing to say and more about knowing the right question to ask (Hyatt, 2012).

Examples of powerful questions that supervisors can ask staff, and that staff can ask parents:

  • What do you see as your role in this situation?
  • What have you tried already? What has the result been?
  • What’s a different or innovative approach that you could try?
  • What do you suppose the parent may have felt then?
  • What is that like from the baby’s perspective?
  • What happens for you when your child achieves a new milestone?

For more about how powerful questions get powerful results, see my guest blog for the Keys to Interactive Parenting Scale (KIPS).

Contact me for consultation, facilitation and training on powerful questions and other aspects of relationship-based and reflective practice.

First published 2-10-13. Updated 7-25-17.


Williams, P. & Menendez, D.S. (2007). Becoming a professional life coach: Lessons from the institute for life coach training. New York, NY: WW Norton.


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