Most of us are hardwired to look at the negative. We see the mistakes, we see what’s not working. And people who come in for coaching are usually focused on a problem of some kind. Yet looking at the positive is what gives us more success and more energy to keep moving ahead. Instead of looking first at what isn’t working—look at what is working. When we look at what’s working and begin to see patterns… that’s when things really take off.

One man told me that someone in his life transformation group (LTG) had helped by asking him questions about when he felt most successful. The man realized that all of his joys had to do with when he had enough structure. All his sorrows were when he didn’t have enough structure. Suddenly he had clues about what to do and what could be duplicated. The conversation was eye-opening. He decided to experiment at the next board meeting he was leading. He opened the meeting with a time of celebration. He asked people what was working and what successes they were seeing. He told me afterwards that that was the best board meeting he’s had in the whole five years he’d been with that organization.

Here are some questions to ask:

  • What can you celebrate?
  • What’s working?
  • Tell me more stories about what’s working.
  • What commonalities do you see?
  • How can you get more of those wins?