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How deep do you go with the conversations with your athlete's?

Having thought about this lately I have come up with my own rating system. It's what I call the Question Rating System (QRS) and it relates to the level of detail with which our questions create.

A Level 1 question is a surface question such as "how are you going?" Open ended so it allows space for the athlete to expand on their answer but pretty superficial. They may answer with "ahhh pretty good".

Based on their response, can we then go to a Level 2 question which digs a little deeper into the answer they gave to the Level 1 question. For our example we might ask, "pretty good says to me that you aren't great, so what is stopping you from being on top of the world?" Once again open ended so it requires something other than yes or no. It also asks them to think a little deeper and open up a little more about what is going on in their day.

Their response may be "I'm OK just a little tired I suppose".

Lets get to a Level 3 question. "Where do you think the tiredness is coming from?" We should now be starting to feel like we are about to break the ice and something deeper will be revealed shortly.

At this level we need to establish whether our athlete actually wants to discuss what's going on. My wife has a theory that it takes three questions to get the real answer from someone, and experience is proving her correct. We should be able to get a sense now that this is worthwhile continuing with or we should move on to another topic.

If it is worthwhile, then we should be starting to get a few more words from our athlete. They should be starting to delve deeper into why they might be tired, which then opens up the conversation to root causes and possible solutions.

The pinnacle is getting to the Level 5 question where we are both now fully engaged in the topic of conversation. To get here we need to be actively listening and absolutely curious about our athlete. This is where we can start to make statements as well as ask questions and it becomes a sharing of knowledge.

Give it a try. The next time you enter into a conversation with anyone challenge yourself to get to a Level 5 question and see where the conversation goes.

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