Every second we are asking ourselves ‘virtual questions’.
We don’t know we’re doing it till we know we are.
‘What shall I write next?’ is a question (VQ) that occurs to me right here. There’s a part of me that’s aware it’s asked that now of course – ‘Why have I just said that?’ (VQ) To prove a point, I suppose. ‘Who to?’(VQ) ‘Do I need a new paragraph?’ (VQ)
Whether we like it or not, VQ’s keep on punctuating our internal dialogue but we don’t know we’re asking them till it becomes an obsession to unpick things in this way. (‘So why do we do it? VQ) And it would prolong and intensify internal dialogue if we were to take account of every god-damned VQ we asked ourselves. It would become infernal dialogue…
However, it occurred to me that when I’m working with somebody, coaching, mentoring, or just awareness-raising, usually investigating Multiple-I’s, represented by bits of paper on the floor, I do have at the back of my mind, in a habitual kind of way, a range of possible questions I could ask to keep a flow going. Unless I make a formal list like the following they remain virtual questions but sometimes they turn into questions I ask a person out loud.
So, in the middle of one night last week, I got to asking myself, ‘What VQ’s do I ask myself while I’m mentoring, coaching, etc? (VQ)
The following questions are not necessarily in order of asking, nor are they necessarily connected together. Any of them might help everyday relationships!
■ Which ‘I’ shall we start with?
■ What part of an issue might we start with?
■ Where shall we start?
■ Was that a good place to start?
■ Where else?
■ Did it turn out to be an appropriate place to start?
■ Standing on a particular ‘I’ what do you see/hear/feel?
■ What does that say about you/anything?
■ What else is there?
■ What suggestions can I make to code what they say? To make it simpler…
■ What’s that got to do with it?
■ What’s that got to do with anything?
■ How does that fit?
■ Where does that get us?
■ Does that suggest a different direction?
■ Is it about time for them to take charge of this?
■ If I move a couple of pieces of paper will they follow suit?
■ Do the bits of paper form a system, a time-line or a set of clusters?
■ Could the bits of paper be made into a system or a time-line?
■ Would it help if…?
■ What question can I ask next?
■ Should we back-track now?
■ What would backtracking get us?
■ Might it help to go into Meta-I now?
■ What bodily configurations suggested internal movement?
■ Is there another way of seeing this?
■ Is it worth pursuing an alternative?
■ Is there another ‘I’ that might help out?
■ What other ‘I’ do you have that might be useful here?
■ What pattern is emerging?
■ What Emergent-I’s come up?
■ What if we explored this a bit more?
■ What would happen if they stood well away from the system?
■ What if they stood in the middle of the bits of paper?
■ Are they taking ownership of the bits of paper?
■ What if we moved the bits of paper further apart?
■ What if we moved the bits of paper closer together?
■ What is the distance between ‘I’s represented by the bits of paper?
■ What other ‘I’s might appear in the spaces?
■ Am I stepping into their ‘I’s to find out how they might be feeling etc?
■ Am I keeping my own autobiography out of it?
■ Would redefinitions help?
■ What will happen if they do x ?
■ How does this connect with that?
■ Does this go with that?
■ Are we getting anywhere?
■ How do they seem?
■ Are we getting to at least a temporary conclusion?
■ What would count as a conclusion?
■ Have we got as far as we can?
■ Are we done for the moment?
■ How much further might there be?
■ Should they pick up the bits of paper and write up their story?
■ Am I relating/empathising OK?
■ Have I always used their language?
■ Will they come back for more?
■ How much further might we go?
■ What have we created?
■ What is the pattern?
■ Does another approach suggest itself?
■ How was the experience?
■ What were the learnings?
■ Where to from here?
■ What’s the next step?
■ What will I need to do to follow this up?