Do you like being asked Questions?
Do you like to ask other people Questions?
Maybe I should have been told earlier that not everyone likes to be asked questions or like create questions for other
Last week it was pointed out to me that possibly I ask questions that people don’t like
I was told that often my questions contain phrases that may cause people (Coaches) to feel uncomfortable. More about being uncomfortable later in this post.
I’d published a post called “The Split Step Challenge” and was talking with coaching friend. I was complaining that not many people had replied. As I write this the post has been viewed over 140 times with only 1 reply.
“I’m offering to exchange views with them so that we can explore how this movement is coached”. That as my reply, it was my aim, my rationale for the post. Maybe to challenge but more to collaborate.
After all, I was offering to send people my already written reply and they could comment however they wished.
“Why haven’t people replied,” I asked
How can the post be read so many times and yet only 1 person has sent me an email reply.
That 1 reply made me feel so good :). It came all the way from South Africa and has hopefully started a coaching journey for the two of us.
My friend pointed out that the phrasing of the question could be too challenging. He also questioned if it was clear enough that my intention was to share my thoughts in a collaborative way.
I’ve realised that my approach isn’t suitable for everyone and it takes time to build relationships.
My friend was quite clear in his comment: “Andy, some Coaches just don’t like questions!”
We then discussed why that could be, well I listened mostly.
In his opinion, there were several reasons as to why some people don’t like questions
- They would rather not feel challenged
- Your request to collaborate also feels like a challenge to them
- They see no need to explore alternatives to justify a viewpoint, they are happy with their own
- They have self-doubt and anxiety and would rather keep to themselves
- They maybe have ‘Imposter syndrome’ (it’s not a bad thing) and don’t want to expose their views
How do questions make you feel
At this point maybe some of you have stopped reading or are about to 🙂
It could be that you don’t like questions and how they make you feel. That’s ok, it’s your choice, I respect that.
It could be that you just don’t like my questions, you wouldn’t be the first to say that. The way I phrase questions may not be to your liking.
That’s exactly what my Coach friend told me.
He told me that eventually he decided that he would engage with me because even though it sometimes felt like a struggle, he said that he started to enjoy that struggle. He added that he had to get used to that feeling but it wasn’t easy.
When I first met you, your questions made me uncomfortable. I had to get used to that
What did I do next
I felt embarrassed when I listened to the words my friend said.
I never intended to hurt him as I thought that he’d welcome a ‘soft’ challenge. Possibly he didn’t t see it as soft 🙁 my bad!
For a while, I stop asking him anything that could be in any way seen as a challenge. We just spoke about general badminton topics without really digging deeper. That was until we both decided that we wanted to have some chit-chat, but also to dig deeper into our beliefs.
Deciding that we could do both: ‘chit-chat’ and ‘deep dive’ has now made our conversations very rewarding, exciting and sometimes opens up new ideas that we can try on the court.
Ok. I also have friends that never ‘Chit-Chat’, they send me one line messages with what could be seen as direct, demanding questions. I really look forward to these messages 🙂
How do you talk with your close Badminton friends … do you explore the limits of your knowledge, what type of questions do you ask each other?
What can do you next
Here are the tips and advice that my friend and I created for your consideration.
Maybe they will help should we ever meet 😉
- A question is just an invitation to respond, please don’t feel that you have to
- Why not answer the question with a question of your own in return
- Never feel embarrassed or afraid to say “I’ve never thought about that” or “mmm, let me think about that while you give me your thoughts“
- Understand that a temporary struggle may happen, but it could be followed by deep satisfaction
- Have a few moments of general chat and then politely leave the conversation, of course, that’s ok
What I’ll do next
- Try to make my questions sound less directly challenging – that’s tough as they feel different to each person. Of course, I’ll try, I know it won’t be easy.
- Work on my ‘opening’ questions and try to make them sound like a request for collaboration
- Understand that every person is different and the way they hear the words will differ
- Be prepared to layer the questions so that the process may be longer but more worthwhile
- Now I’ve realised that my approach isn’t suitable for everyone, I will build relationships with those who like to be challenged.
- And of course, I will continue to ask questions for sure!
- I’ll show my gratitude to all my friends in Germany, Ireland, Ukraine, South Africa, Spain, Australia, Uk : all who know how to challenge me to grow
I’d be very grateful for any feedback, especially if you ask a Question 🙂