Up-Level Your Thinking by Asking Great Questions

W5 Thinking Time Featured Image

John Nieuwenburg

John Nieuwenburg has been a professional business coach since 2004. Prior to becoming a coach, he held executive positions with Tip Top Tailors and BC Liquor Stores. In 2019, MacKay CEO Forums awarded him with Canada’s CEO Trusted Advisor Award in the Small Business category. Since becoming a coach, John has worked with over 350 clients, taking them through a systematic process that helps them feel organized, confident and in control of their businesses.

Successful business owners strike a balance between thinking and doing.

Some owners get stuck when they lean more towards OVER thinking. (If that’s you, this will help: 4 Strategies to Overcome Over-Thinking.)

Others get overwhelmed when they focus too much on doing and don’t spend quite enough time engaged in quality thinking.

I encourage all my clients to schedule some time on a regular basis to actively think about their business.

Thinking will help you:

The best thinking falls in the category of working ON your business instead of IN it.

This means putting on your business owner’s hat and considering your business from that angle.

Up-level your thinking by answering good questions

So, you made some time to think.

You have some paper and a pen. (Because if you’re not writing, you’re not thinking!)

Now you might be wondering, “what, exactly, should I be thinking ABOUT?”

Great question!

Here are some questions to guide you in your “thinking time.”

Pick the category that feels most critical to your current situation and ask yourself the questions underneath.

Questions to help you think about freeing up your time

What am I currently doing that could be done by someone else?

What should I be doing that isn’t getting done because I’m spending too much time doing minor things?

What can I (and only I) do?

What is the one thing I can do such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?

Questions to help you think about growing your business

Who would I need to have to add to my team to double the size of my business?

Am I getting the information I need to grow from my accountant and bookkeeper?

What levers do I need to pull to improve my results?

Questions to help you think about growing personally

What skills am I avoiding learning or practicing?

Where am I looking for shortcuts where none exist?

What strategies do I need to explore that are outside my comfort zone?

Questions to help you think about your finances

Where am I spending money that doesn’t produce a return?

Am I making financial decisions by looking at scorecards or by flying by the seat of my pants?

Do I understand the numbers I’m getting from my accountant? If not, how is that impacting my business?

Questions to help you think about sales and marketing

What resources (or skills) would I need to double my sales?

What differentiates us from our competition?

Is there a mismatch between what we offer and what our customers want to buy?

Questions to help you think about leading your team

How can I get out of the center of the hub and spoke?

Am I meeting with my team frequently enough? Are our meetings productive?

What do I need to do to get everyone rowing in the same direction?

Do I have the right people doing the right things right?

Asking better questions will get you better results

Sometimes I am asked about the meaning of W5 in W5 Coaching.

It refers to the 5 core “W questions”

  • Who
  • What
  • When
  • Where
  • Why

Questions are the foundation of the Socratic Method of teaching.

One of my most important jobs as a coach is to ask you good questions.

Because good questions prompt good thinking.

And when you think better, you get better results.

If you’d like some support from an experienced coach who knows exactly when to ask the right question, book 15 minutes on my calendar to chat about coaching: Book a call with John

The Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Better Business Owner

become a better owner

If an owner wants a better business, first the business needs a better owner.

This post is part of my Ultimate Guide to Becoming a Better Business Owner. Visit the guide homepage to get my best advice and coaching exercises to help you with:

  • Mindset. Thinking like an owner and seeing the big picture of your business.
  • Planning. Deciding what you want, setting a goal, and making plans to get after it.
  • Habits. Changing your behaviours to help you get what you want.
  • Learning. Getting new information and developing new skills.
  • Growth. Facing your fears, stepping outside your comfort zone, and doing what it necessary to create the business of your dreams.