Ask, don’t tell (#7)

I've been writing a small series about Heartcore's foundational principles. You can find links to the previous posts below.

Number seven is "Ask, don't tell."

I once heard that the main thing causing disagreement in heterosexual couples is that men want to solve problems and women just want to be listened to.* That reminds me of some founder-VC relationships I've witnessed. 

Most venture investors I've worked with move way too quickly towards "solve" mode - essentially consulting or mentoring or (even) directing. When what's usually required is a coaching mindset: clarify, re-frame to overcome the block, forward the action.

The easiest way to do this is by asking open-ended, empowering questions in a spirit of humble curiosity

- What can you do about that?
- What other choices can you make?
- What's another way to look at that?
- What did you learn from that?
- What is really bothering you about this?
- What do you need to get that done?
- How can you find out more about that?
- Where do you believe that thought comes from?
- What will you get out of that?
- Why is that important to you?
- How is this an opportunity?
- How do you feel about that?
- If that doesn't work, what else could you do?
- What seems to confuse you?
- What beliefs are holding you back?
- How does that fulfill your purpose?
- Where are you limiting yourself?
- How can you stretch to get there?

Board members that focus on asking the right open questions rather than "telling" tend to be good board members.

I'd love to make this a more interactive blog. What are your experiences with asking questions versus telling? Comments are open below. 


Heartcore Foundational Principles

Founders first. Always.

#1 No fear, no greed 
#2 We're the coach, not the athlete 
#3 It is only with the heart that one can see rightly
#4 Energy attracts like energy
#5 “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
#6 "Love people, not things. Use things, not people.

* Anecdotally true. I love you, A.