Our coaching and facilitation page includes a simple model I often use in one-to-one and group sessions. I sometimes think of it as a ladder, with the broad purpose and mission at the top and the practical actions and behaviours at the bottom.  To move up the ladder, we keep asking the question why? and to move down it, we keep asking the question how?

Simon Sinek introduced us all to the concept of “start with why”  – which is a really helpful concept.  But the reality for many is that we often don’t get the choice about where we start.  We have to jump on the bus whilst it’s driving down the road.  The organisation already has a life; the strategy is already in place; the behaviours are already established.  But reviewing them, by moving up and down the ladder (multiple times if neccessary) can help to bring clarity about why we do things and why we do them in a particular way.

When training coaches, I often discourage the use of the question why? Because it can be received as an interrogation or an accusation; but if we can ask it with the right tone it can lead to some useful exploration and decision-making about objectives and overall purpose.  Why is that course of action the best one? Because we want to achive x. And why do you want to achive X?  In order to satisfy objective Y. And why do you want to acheive objective Y? Because it contributes to our overall purpose.

And asking how (once the why is clear) can help individuals and groups to connect their activities, actions and behaviours to their objectives and purpose. We know what the purpose and objectives are, so how will you acheive them?  By running this project or introducing that development. And how will you do that?  By doing these tasks.  And how will you ensure these tasks are done well and sustainably? By adpoting these behaviours with my colleagues, suppliers and customers. 

Have a look at the model and let me know what you think.