Powerful Questions Can Change Your Life

Question Your Way to the Top

Bill Abbate
8 min readApr 18, 2020


Photo by Emily Morter on Unsplash

One trait you will find to be common in every great leader is the ability to ask powerful questions. Curiosity and questioning stand at the foundation of learning. Questions lead to knowledge, understanding, and increased awareness, without which no one can lead effectively.

When you turn questions to yourself, you can gain knowledge and awareness about your very being. You see more of who you are and better understand what makes you tick. Understanding yourself is another prerequisite to leading effectively.

Let’s look at what it takes to create powerful questions.

The importance of questions

“In the presence of the question, the mind thinks again.” Nancy Kline, Time to Think

Did you know that responding to questions urges your brain to grow new cells (neurogenesis), regardless of age? Your mind is wonderfully complex and doesn’t take kindly to being told what to do, but questions are a different matter! In her book Time to Think, Nancy Kline stated:

“The mind resists commands and responds to questions.” Nancy Kline, Time to Think

The benefit of asking questions to yourself and about your world often increases your understanding of who you are and how things around you work. This can only enhance your life. If you don’t ask questions about yourself, you’re leading an unexamined life.

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” Socrates (470–399 BC)

While harsh, there is an element of truth to that statement. Think about this: The quality of a question determines the quality of your thoughts. Your thoughts, in turn, determine what you learn, affecting your growth as a person and leader. Or, put another way, the more powerful the question, the greater the potential to expand your understanding. So how do you ask more powerful questions? Following are some rules of thumb:

Types of questions

The least powerful questions are closed-ended and result in a simple answer like yes or no. They can also ask you to make a choice — such as, which is better, this or that?



Bill Abbate

Leadership Writer and Editor in ILLUMINATION, Leadership/Executive Coach, Author www.BillAbbate.com