Wednesday, 15 December 2021

Career Practitioners as Askers of Questions

I have written before about leaders as askers of questions (here). However, I have not written about career practitioners as askers of questions of our clients.

While good leaders ask questions, so too to good career practitioners. Good career practitioners ask questions to hold up a mirror to the client. The client gets used to the idea that they will not be given answers, but will dig into themselves to find their own solutions. The conversation is what creates a free flow of information, reflection, and empowers the client to make decisions. Asking encourages thought, solutions, responsibility, and sharing. That provokes critical thought processes & deeper learning (Daft & Pirola-Merlo, 2009).

I was watching a video recently where ten counselling questions were suggested, to be slipped into the conversation wherever they best fitted, to prompt a check in of the client, and addressing a range of human needs (which are in brackets afterwards). I was thinking that these could be relatively easily adapted for career practice. We just need to confine or focus these to the workplace, work transitions, education, or training. The original question is in black (Tyrell, 2019), my suggested change in blue:

  1. How often do you get to meet up with friends? (need for attention and community). Do you get to see your team members often enough? 
  2. Can you and your partner really talk together? (attention and intimacy). Do you feel able to talk to your manager? 
  3. How are you sleeping these days? (mind body connection). Is work keeping you awake at night? 
  4. Are you happy with your diet? (mind body connection). Are you able to take breaks at work? 
  5. How much exercise are you getting? (mind body connection). Are you able to move around enough at work? 
  6. Is there anyone who you feel really understands you, and is close to you? (intimacy). Are you well connected with colleagues at work? 
  7. What choice do you have about what happens in your life? (control and security). What choices do you have about what happens at work? 
  8. Do you have a clear sense of where you want to take things in life? (purpose, what gets me out of bed in the morning). Do you have a clear sense of where you want to go at work? 
  9. Do you feel excited by stuff in your life? (challenge purpose meaning). Do you feel excited by work? 
  10. What involvement do you have with people around you? (community and status). What involvement do you have with those who work around you? 

What are your thoughts? 



  • Browne, N. M. & Keeley, S. M. (2007). Asking the Right Questions: A Guide to Critical Thinking (8th ed.). Longman
  • Daft, R. L. & Pirola-Merlo, A. (2009). The Leadership Experience (1st Asia-Pacific ed.). Cengage. 
  • Tyrell, M. (9 January 2019). 10 Therapy Questions to Get to the Root of the Problem [video]. Uncommon Practitioners.

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