Simple questions, deep answers

I’m not sure what to do next. What do you think I should do?

There are any number of ways to handle that question, but what you do next depends on what you are doing right now. Depending on the specific situation, I might ask you the following questions:

Where do you want to go, or what is your vision?

What’s most important to you, or what do you value?

What steps have you taken to get to this point?

This line of questioning helps me to quickly assess where a client stands right now. It helps me to see the following:

  • Whether or not this new project, initiative, or new company is a passing idea, or if it has legs on which to stand.
  • The amount of work that has been put into the project to date.
  • What is most important to you if this project starts moving and succeeds.
  • If you are solving a specific problem.
  • If you are more interested in making money than anything else. This is not a negative, but it’s helpful to know up front.
  • The factors that are driving you forward.
  • The amount of homework you have done to date on your effort.
  • Whether or not you understand the context in which you are working.
  • How you think. Are you process oriented? Do you work best going task by task on a list? Or do think holistically? Can you consider multiple factors at once?
  • The resources you may have available with which to work.
  • If you have a business partner or if you need to build a team.
  • If you have an understanding of the impact of your actions.
  • Whether or not you are committed.
  • What drives you.
  • If you are more interested in talking about entrepreneurship than doing the hard work required to make it happen.

I can usually work through these questions over the course of an hour. At the end of the session, I’ll have a much better sense of what I need to do next and how I can best guide my client forward to achieve their goals.

The most important answer for me to hear is what exactly is driving my client forward because all action stems from that core belief or position.

The next steps that anyone takes are relative to the person looking for help. Getting quickly to the heart of what someone is trying to do will inform what comes next.

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