complexity and change coaching questions

When consulting a team of managers in the Understanding organizational complexity and change process, one of them asked me what types of questions I may ask a team or person to understand better how to support their progress in change and complexity. I smiled, and we worked out a series of questions. Many of them are solution-focused (I am biased).

Asking questions and listening for responses is a vital piece of change in complex environments. Conditions where an expert opinion is not as useful and what works and does not work cannot be determined until a step is taken and we can somewhat understand what happened.

Understanding Complexity and Change Questions
Here are some questions I may ask them to determine better what they are looking for:
  1. Describe the challenges you are having?
  2. Share what evidence you have to show that these challenges are how you describe?
  3. What would you prefer to have happen in place of these challenges?
  4. On a scale of 1 – 10 with 10 we are sure of our next step and 1 being the opposite …. each person write down where you feel you are on the scale.
  5. Using the same scale, where are you as a team?
  6. In reference to what you would prefer to have happen, where is this happening? Even just a little bit?
  7. How did you make those differences happen?
  8. How do you see someone like me partnering for progress with this team?
  9. Share an example of when this team worked in a similar capacity?
  10. How does this team work best? What do you do, personally, to make progress?
  11. Min and Max expectations from our work together
  12. What 2 things must be accomplished – how can we measure or evaluate those 2 things?
  13. Explain how these 2 items are what you would like to have happen, and fit into your earlier score on the scaling questions?
  14. Who needs to be a part of this that currently is not?
  15. On a scale of 1 – 10 with 10 be very and 1 being the opposite, how much structure makes this team successful?
  16. Who is my main point of contact?

Using the coaching and understanding questions removes the ‘follow the recipe‘ process and constructs a ‘partner for progress’ process.