Coaching the Creative

Living in the Question

Wouldn’t it be grand if any random question would generate awareness and responsibility? But, it won’t.

“…asking closed questions saves people from having to think. Asking open questions causes them to think for themselves.”Sir John Whitmore, Coaching for Performance

Most of us understand this concept. We agree that closed-ended questions can narrow answers down to binary responses such as: yes or no, black or white, good or bad, this or that, etc.

And we know that open-ended questions allow for thought-provoking answers.

However, a couple practicing Feldenkrais here in Salt Lake recently shared a post that opened my mind to a deeper layer of why the wise coach asks the skillful, open-ended question.

Let me share Rilke’s poem posted by Erin and Carl

Be patient toward all that is

unsolved in your heart,

Try to love the questions themselves,

like locked rooms and like

books that are written in a very foreign tongue.

Do not now seek the answers,

which cannot be given you

because you would not be able to live them.

And the point is

to live everything, live the

questions now.

Perhaps you will then gradually,

without noticing it,

Live along some distant day into the answer.

-Rainer Maria Rilke

From reading this composition from Rilke  today, a new layer of respect has formed for the questioning process used within coaching.  Equally evoked is a deeper honor for the open-ended question.

Consider allowing it to give you a new, fresh invitation to become more alive, and to eventually live out everything that it might evoke.

Also see:

Coaching for Performance by Sir John Whitmore

Erin Geesaman Rabke and Carl Rabke- Center for Somatic Education

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