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What if developing leaders isn’t about what you put within them?

The best question ever

What is the best question you have ever been asked? I asked a friend to give me some personal coaching several years ago. He started by listening to where I thought I was in my personal development. I rehearsed the list of things I felt I was called to do. In addition, was a longer list of things I felt I should be doing or doing more of.

How would you answer?

He reminded me of the story of Blind Bart in Mark 10. You remember, he was the beggar on the roadside, shouting at Jesus for help. Jesus called him over and asked this question ”What do you want me to do for you?” (Mark 10:51) My friend then asked this powerful question: “How would you answer Jesus if he asked you that question?”

Asking good questions

It may sound simplistic, but leadership development starts with being a good listener. Being able to listen means getting the other person to communicate with you. The way to get a person to communicate, meaningfully communicate, is by asking good questions.

Impact of a powerful question

He went on to say, “Chad, you have this long list of all the things you should be doing for God. Also, you admitted the guilt you feel for not doing all of them. You need to stop should-ing all over yourself! Have you ever stop to ask what God wants to do for you? I hadn’t. It was a marker in my life. I began to see there was more I was to receive from God than accomplish for God. That is the impact of a powerful question.

Draw it out

You can’t develop someone until you know what you have to work with. You will not know what you have to work with until you know what is in them. You will not know what is in them until you draw it out of them. You can draw it out of them by asking good, appropriate, timely, purposeful, questions.

Get leaders talking

I have seven questions that I work from in all my interactions with leaders. I don’t know if anyone has caught on yet. I hope some have and I hope they have started the practice with others. I found these to be effective questions to get leaders talking.

Then listen

Then I listen. If something surfaces in which I feel I can contribute, I step in and offer my advice, make a connection, or bring someone else into the conversation who is needed. There is an input piece to development, but you will not know what is needed until you know what is already there.

Investment of listening

I don’t think you can play a part in developing a leader without this initial investment of listening. You have to become a world-class question asker and then actually listen to the answers the other gives you.

Not counseling

Development is not a counseling situation, in that, there isn’t a lot of dipping into the past. Development is about the future and moving forward toward the good works God has prepared beforehand for a person to walk into.

Not mentoring

As well, development is not a mentoring relationship, in that, it’s not largely about how a person is supposed to do things. Development is about coming along side to draw out what God has already been placing within him or her.

What is Jesus doing in them?

I am convinced the most effective way of drawing out of a person what Jesus is doing in them, is getting really (I mean really) good at asking questions.

Last week

Last week I began this conversation on leadership development by addressing why leaders have reluctance in developing leaders. You can read that article here.

Next week

Next week I will talk about the role delegation plays in developing other leaders. In the mean time, explore the SUMS Remix below on the question: How does developing someone else actually develop my leadership? There are some great exercises to further engage in this idea.

Question to consider:

What is one of the best questions someone has ever asked you?

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