CheetahCountrySurprise We don’t care much about the ‘WHY’.

CheetahCountrySurprise#4 We don’t care much about the ‘WHY’. It is hard for me when Gianna comes home and notifies me that she is behind in Math minutes. I use the word ‘hard’ because I have to hold back the immediate question, I know all parents use- WHY? So of course, because I always remember my own advice (note sarcasm), my own deep rooted beliefs about children, ones that I have grown a coaching practice around- I do not ask WHY - except of course when I do. But when I do, and the drama and crying begins, I remember I caused the drama in the first place! Because when I ask WHY- about something I know I should not be tied to-something that I do not own, but she should- then I get crying, and disappointment, and I hurt the little girl I love. Cause when I use WHY, I know selfishness is my only reason. Maybe I can throw in a dash of convenience, and a dash of tiredness too! Instead of asking ‘WHY’- ask ‘HOW’ Why- the question why, if we ask why- we are saying “I need for you to explain” and typically that leads to disappointment, when we are speaking of people. Sure, ask WHY, when you are trying to figure out cause and effect in science, or questioning the basis for a historical document-it works. Why, when asking in wonder and curiosity is what makes humankind so amazing. However, when someone tells you something, and you ask WHY, as a basis for an explanation, it can often lead to the person feeling inadequate or questioning themselves-rather than moving them forward or building them up. The question, “why”, is the permission giver to miring in the problem. Asking ‘why’ tells the person you want reasons or excuses.When someone says something went badly, and you ask why it happened- that only helps them mire or stay in the problem. They are answering a question about the problem. The focus is still on the problem. Not the solution, not the possibility of growth, not the fact that every mistake leads us closer to success- no- asking WHY keeps us stuck if only used to explain, explain, explain. Having to explain why something went south is a form of shaming. HOW is the counterpart to WHY. HOW is the question that leads to moving forward. When used well, it leads to a new plan, new thinking, new ways, it leads to hope in the future. Instead of “why didn’t your presentation board have all the parts on it?” ask, “How does your presentation board meet the guidelines of the project?” There is no subtlety here. The Why would leave to answers that sound like excuses or cover ups, confusions or feelings of defeat, and to answers which focus on what was missing in the project, in what ways the project did not meet expectations and in the end lead to feelings that are negative. The How question is asking the person to analyze and reflect on the work and confirm in what ways the project, as it is right now, meets the expectations. It has no negativity tied to it- and if in fact the student found in answering the question something was missing, on his own, he is likely to want to fix it. He feels no shame in finding it because he found it. HOW… the question word that moves us forward... the question that grows. Try "how" out in your house... and we are not talking about the Native American greeting! Let us know how it worked for you. By the way if you are trying to shift your language and having a rough start? Any question word is better than WHY…. To move people forward, try to focus on ‘where’, ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘how’ and ‘who’. This approach has a lot more potential and power.