Vadim Kotelnikov    

Asking Effective Questions

The Art of Learning, Discovery, Achievement, and Communication


Business e-Coach     


Asking versus Telling: Main Benefits

Engaging people

Establishing rapport

Better listening, deeper understanding

Higher motivation, better follow-up... More

Getting Response You Need

Types of Questions


Searching for New Opportunities

"Why?" and "What If?" Questions

  • Why we always do things this way? What if we do it differently?

  • Why should we limit ourselves to getting better in what we are doing? What if we change things radically?... More

The 10 Essentials of Effective Communication

⑧  Ask the right types of questions at the right time – asking the right question is often more important than knowing what to say... More

The Four Principles of Natural Selling

By: Michael Oliver7

  1. The Purpose of a Business is Helping Other People Solve Their Problems.

  2. Asking the Right Types of Questions at the Right Time.

  3. Listening to What is Being Meant, Not Just What Is Being Said.

  4. Feeding Back What You Think You Heard.


Types of Questions

Searching Questions  ●  'Why? What If?'  ●  Inventive Questions

Coaching Questions  ●  Learning SWOT Questions

Clarifying Questions  ●  Socratic Questions

Achievement Management

NLP  ●  Coaching Yourself  >>  6Ws Questions  ‖  GROW model

People Skills

Create Greater Value for Others  ●  Active Listening


Coaching by Questioning  ●  Motivational Coaching

Ask/Tell Repertoire  ●  Bad Feedback vs. Good Feedback

Problem Solving

5-Why Method  ●  Solving People Problems

Creative Problem Solving  >>  Questions

Organizational Strategy Formulation

Critical Question Analysis


The Art of Effective Questioning

How you ask questions is very important in establishing a basis for your achievements. Effective questions open the door to discoveries, knowledge, understanding, and good communication.

The art of questioning lies in knowing which questions to ask and when. Address your first question to yourself: what would you search for if you had a magic e-book that had the right answers to any question?  The answer will help you compose the right questions.



Choosing Questions

"A prudent question is one half of wisdom." ~ Francis Bacon

Ask a specific question if you want to hear a specific answer. Open – as opposed to leading – questions are those that cannot be answered with a straight "yes" or "no". Use open questions to gain insight into the other person's character, and to invite the response.

Learning Questions

To profit from experience you must be open and willing to learn, even from what some people might consider a failure. What may seem to be a failure can actually lead to new opportunities. Effective learning questions can serve as a starting point for the assimilation of learning.

Learning SWOT Questions

Coaching Questions

Being the core component of the coaching ask / tell repertoire, coaching questions are "to prompt the learners into exploring issues in depth either by direct questions or by implied questions – even a raised eyebrow – so that they become more aware of what is going on and can eventually coach themselves and other. Feedback can then be used to discuss progress and provide guidance, but still by using questions and the main vehicle for progress whenever possible."4 ... More

Pretending Ignorance: Smart Is Dumb

Socrates used this technique more than 2300 years ago. He pretended ignorance in order to encourage others to express their views fully.  >>>

Today, many world's smartest and fastest businesspeople have perfected this art – consciously or unconsciously – of playing dumb. >>   Example  ... More

Question Based Selling (QBS)

In sales, asking the right question is just as important as knowing what to say. Salespeople must know how to ask the right questions at the right time to clients and customers in order to identify new opportunities, qualify accounts and uncover needs.  This is the principle behind Question Based Selling (QBS)... More

Selling Is Problem Solving

Business Communication: The First Contact

To build relationships and network with people effectively, the only thing you need to  do is to ask them all about their business and what they do. What questions should you be asking to create the right situation for perfecting it?... More

Searching Questions

Searching questions can help you discover new opportunities, uncover the roots of a problem, and find creative solutions to it.

Asking searching questions starts with challenging assumptions. If you do not check assumptions you cannot be good at asking searching questions. Don't ask one or two questions and then rush straight towards a solution. With an incomplete understanding of the problem it is very easy to jump to wrong conclusions.

Ask open-ended questions that elicit a wide rage of answers:

  • 'Why' questions  to discover the roots of the problem

  • 'How' questions to discover different routes to significant improvement... More

 Case in Point  Dell Computer Corporation

"It is really dangerous if everyone in a company starts thinking the same way", says Michael Dell2, Founder of the Dell Computer Corporation. "The danger comes when you fall into the trap of approaching problems too similarly. You can encourage your people to think about your business, your industry, your customers innovatively. Ask a different question – or word the same question in a different way. By approaching a problem, a response or an opportunity from a different perspective, you create an opportunity for new understanding and new learning. By questioning all the aspects of our business, we continuously inject improvement and innovation into our culture."... More

 Case in Point  25 Lessons from Jack Welch

To Jack Welch, the legendary former CEO of General Electric, business leadership is all about knowing what questions to ask of his subordinates. That's all managing is, says he: just coming up with the right questions and getting the right answers.

To understand the strategic issues within each of GE businesses and to see where these business units were going Welch asked the five questions... More



Chinese proverb

He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.



Albert Einstein quotes

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The most important thing is to not stop questioning.


Steve Jobs advice quotes

There’s a phrase in Buddhism, ‘Beginner’s mind.’ It’s wonderful to have a beginner’s mind.  >>>

Steve Jobs


Vadim Kotelnikov advice quotes

If you strop learning,

you stop creating history

and become history.

Vadim Kotelnikov




  1. "Super Communication - the NLP Way", Russel Webster

  2. "Essential Manager's Manual", Robert Heller & Tim Hindle

  3. "Strategic Learning in Action", T. Grundy

  4. "How To Be Better at Delegation and Coaching", Tony Atherton

  5. "Secrets of Question Based Selling," Thomas A. Freese

  6. It's not the BIG and eats the SMALL... it's the FAST that eats the SLOW, Jason Jennings and Laurence Haughton

  7. "Natural Selling," Michael Oliver