Four Types of Reflective Questions
When reflecting on a situation, coaching through self– individual– and team– reflective questions can support a healthy dialogue. To do so, there are four types of reflective or shared questions that can be utilized.
Questions focused on the “past or present”:
1. Awareness– questions aimed at determining knowns. Examples: What have I tried? When did that happen? How often does that happen?
2. Analysis– questions that dig a little deeper to uncover unknowns. Examples: What would this ideally look like? What is different now? How well is that working?
Questions focused on the “future”:
3. Alternative– questions that surface additional solutions to ideas/thoughts not previously considered. Examples: What do I think could work instead? What else could I try?
4. Action– questions that solicit the plan for what is going to happen. Examples: When am I going to do that? What is my plan between now and when I get together with my supervisor/team next?
Self-Reflection as a Tool for Learning
Self-reflection gives the brain an opportunity to pause amidst the chaos, untangle and sort through observations and experiences, consider multiple possible interpretations, and create meaning. This meaning becomes learning, which can then inform future mindsets and actions.
Through a reflection practice, you can rewrite old stories that don’t serve you, examine the “why” of what happened, and explore “what’s next.” Thinking about your past can help you find out what’s holding you back and get it out of the way, or find the insights you need to stay on target toward a big goal.
To get started:
- 1. Instead of simply pondering these topics, write out your thoughts. “Therapeutic or expressive writing” can help reduce depression, up your creativity and even make you physically healthier.
- 2. Reflect regularly for the greatest benefit. Set some calendar reminders to reflect on your birthday, at the end of each quarter.
- 3. Be open to using reflection spontaneously when you’re stuck, when you’ve failed miserably, or when your team just accomplished something major.