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The Power Of A Question

Written by: Rasha Afifi-Talleh, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Have you ever been asked a question that left you speechless? Not because you had nothing to say but because it simply felt like a door to so much more that lies inside.

One of the most powerful tools we rely on in coaching conversations is asking powerful questions. The purpose of a powerful question is to create more clarity, deepen the client's learning, and build awareness. When we ask these questions, we are not looking for the details that fill our curiosity or the details that the client already knows. We ask the questions that meet them where they're at and help them go deeper. What makes a question so powerful is that it comes from a place of deep listening, without judgment, from complete curiosity in service of the client's journey.

I had one of those opportunities a couple of months ago where I got to experience the full impact of a powerful question. During a casual conversation with fellow coaches sharing our different experiences and learning from one another, I shared something with them that I found challenging lately. Then, in a kind and encouraging voice, comes one of my colleagues with a question that made me pause. "Rasha, what are you owning in this that is not yours own?"

I remember asking her to repeat her question, needing a minute to let this one sync. Reaching for my pen to write it down, I knew this question required more unpacking. I couldn't possibly begin to answer it at that moment; it just felt too big. That's when I knew I'd been hit with a powerful question.

Go Deeper

In the following weeks, I gave myself multiple opportunities to sit and reflect on this one question. Like most coaches, I've heard and worked with many similar questions before; What are you carrying that is not yours to carry? What roles are you filling that are not yours to fill? And the list goes on. However, the more I thought about this specific question, the more I realized that it was the word owning that held so much power and depth for me.

In life, we often tend to carry a load that is not ours, shouldering problems and filling in roles to support those in our lives. It is part of our humanity to feel for others and share their problems, pain, and struggles. So, we find ourselves stepping in to help carry that load because we either feel like we can or must.

However, where is the line? When do we cross from carrying, supporting, sharing, and helping to owning? At what point do the lines blur, and we end up owning that load, pain, and that struggle? When does it become our own?

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that it came down to my boundaries with myself. Those boundaries help me show up for others, support, and give without giving too much where I lose sight of myself. Though easier said than done. Here, I realize, is where my colleague's question leads to, a door to the beginning of the necessary real work around boundaries within myself.

Ultimately, these powerful questions are not about one specific correct answer. It's about the journey of going deeper, reflecting, and peeling the layers. They are about finding new insights and building awareness to know yourself more so that, in time, you become more intentional and purposeful in your life. You increase your awareness and recognize where you can do better and grow.

The next time you find yourself pondering a question that needs more reflection and depth, I invite you to sit with it, visit it multiple times, and allow it to open doors for you. See where it can take you, let yourself peel some layers, and notice what lies beneath. These questions are doors to so much growth.

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Rasha Afifi-Talleh, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Rasha Afifi-Talleh is an Executive Coach, a Team Coach, and a Workshop Facilitator. Rasha’s core belief is that our shared humanity is the moving force for creating real change and impact in our organizations, communities, and the world. Her passion is to work with leaders and organizations looking to create impactful change in the world and their communities. Her mission is to help build awareness of the value of creating human-centered organizations and putting the focus back on the people. Rasha helps leaders and executives better understand who they are as leaders, connect with their purpose, and develop their leadership skills to create the desired impact in their lives, teams, and organizations.



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