Questions are the most powerful language-device we have. Communication is more efficient and more effective when we use well-formed questions and results are more tangible.

Conversely, poor questions will get poor results and may even hold up progress or leave others feeling ‘ticked-off’, blamed or interrogated.

Questioning ourselves carelessly and without direction can lead to us getting stuck in an endless loop of helpless rumination. In my experience, this one of the main difficulties for people suffering with depression. Many of the questions we ask ourselves are a reflex to a situation or circumstance we don’t like, and they have no clear answer (“Why me?”; “Why can’t I…?”; “What’s wrong with people?”).

Questions are powerful, but they have to be the right questions for a given purpose. A well-designed question will take you, or the situation, forward.

I often think of questions as seeds to solutions. Once sown they germinate ideas and courses of action that can lead to positive outcomes. From this perspective, not all questions need an immediate answer. Karl Tomm (Family Therapist, psychiatrist, and author), says that a good question goes on working long after it has been asked.

Using questions well enables us to start conversations – with ourselves and with others – which can lead to a fundamental shift, change or insight. Conversely, questions that are poorly framed repetitive or just plain lazy, can make a situation appear worse than it is.