stop asking 'why questions.'
Why did you do that❓
Why do you think that❓
Why did you say that❓
Why do you feel like that?❓
’Why questions’ assume two things, 1) that the ’why’ will somehow be helpful, and 2) that they know why in the first place.
What do ’why questions’ almost guarantee:
🚫 Over-intellectualization and rationalization instead of meaningful and open observation;
🚫 A defensive internal dialogue;
🚫 A ”I did what I thought was right at the time” response.
So why do so many rely on ’why questions’?
They seem deep 🧠. They sound psychological. We've seen it in the movies.
Instead of asking why, here's what you can do:
✅ Listen attentively and get the whole story;
✅ Ask open and inviting questions;
✅ Allow them to get to why on their own;
✅ Extract their motivations from what you see and hear;
✅ Reflect your observations to them; and
✅ Ask if you are on the right track.
Whether you are a trainer, coach, physician or clinical practitioner, avoiding ’why questions’ will show that you are listening, and you are empathetic. You will also prevent harsh and defensive internal dialogues.
Getting to why can be important, but asking why questions isn't the best way to get there. ✨
Have you ever been asked ’why questions’ and felt defensive or therapized?
Let me know in the comments!