Socratic Questioning

Socratic Questioning

In a stunning and ironic twist of fate, I hereby offer a rambling and prescriptive solo podcast on utilizing Socratic questioning in elevating the thinking of both employees and coaching clients.

As someone who is prone to being – let’s say – argumentative and potentially even bossy, I’ve had to learn to back off from telling people what I think that they should do.

I’ve learned this lesson with coaching coaches at South Loop Strength & Conditioning, since I used to dominate our coaches meetings with long theoretical lectures on advanced topics in fitness coaching.

While I’m sure that some of this stuff was potentially interesting and occasionally valuable, it resulted in very little change in the actual daily actions of our coaches when they were coaching.

Based upon that, I’ve completely retooled how we run our coaches meetings to focus on creating opportunities for our coaches to present problems that they are struggling with and for us to work through the assumptions and thought processes necessary to solve them as a group.

Sure, I can still sometimes jump in and tell everyone how I think something should be done. And I’m sure it’s also occasionally obnoxious when I keep asking leading and clarifying questions to try to get a specific answer that I’m looking for, but I’ve seen massive changes in our coaches’ abilities to think through complicated problems based upon these meetings.

For anyone who is looking to teach something complicated or create behavior change, learning to back off and instead facilitate an environment for others to come to conclusions on their own is a crucial skill.

Check out the full episode to hear:

  • Why some people build mental models and others form collections of rules – and how to push everyone to create more robust mental models
  • How to help people recognize their own sticking points and problems – since people only work to solve problems that they know that they have
  • How to cultivate a genuine curiosity – since this is crucial for your Socratic questioning to be authentic

Check out the episode at the links below. If you enjoyed the episode, the best way to support the show is to share with your friends, so send them a link.

Listen Here

Show Notes

  • [00:00] How to become an obnoxious person who people don’t want to be around in social situations
  • [05:45] How some people build mental models of the world – and how they constantly check their models against both their real life experiences and theories from experts
  • [13:52] People only work to solve problems that they know that they have. Everything else is just intellectual entertainment.
  • [21:57] How to cultivate a genuine curiosity to guide questioning rather than being a pedantic blowhard

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