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Systemic questions play a special role in systemic counselling. It has proven useful to use this questioning technique in values and competence counselling as well.

With the following questions, you can open up new perspectives in conversation with the staff and break open habitual ways of seeing things. This makes it possible to initiate reflections and insights, to recognise one's own patterns of thought and action and to discover new, creative goals and paths in a self-organised way.

Basically, the following question areas are possible, for each of which we have formulated ten examples.

Each counsellor should select the questions individually for their target group and adapt them to their respective target group.

Goal-oriented questions

Before you discuss the evaluation of the values and competences assessment, we recommend that you first talk to the employee in principle about her professional situation as well as her wishes and expectations for the future. Experience shows that this facilitates the analysis and evaluation of the results because the context has been reflected.

Examples of such questions are:

  • How do you think the challenges in your field of work will change in the next two to three years?
  • What are your long-term professional goals?
  • Why do you want to achieve these goals?
  • How do you measure whether you have achieved your professional goals?
  • What are your outstanding strengths in the work process?
  • In which challenges do you feel that you need to develop significantly further?
  • What motivates you particularly for your work, what demotivates you most in the work process?
  • How do you feel about the working and learning culture in your team?
  • How do you experience the leadership culture in your area?
  • Who can best support you in your professional development?

Circular questions

Employees change their perspective by putting themselves in the shoes of their colleagues, managers, customers or partners. This opens up new perspectives and breaks down rigid thought patterns.

Examples are:

  • What do you think are the overall values and competences that your colleagues expect from you?
  • How would your colleagues rate this competence of yours?
  • How would your colleagues rate the extent of these values?
  • How do your colleagues rate your current challenges?
  • How do your colleagues probably feel about the current situation?
  • How would your colleagues act in this situation?
  • Would your colleagues trust you with this task?
  • How would your manager answer these questions?
  • How would your manager react if you proposed your project?
  • How would your customers or partners answer these questions?

Scaling issues

Employees evaluate circumstances that cannot be evaluated objectively. These can be satisfaction, motivation, impressions, but also emotions. We recommend our 7-point scale because all employees have internalised the school grade scale. The levels 1 to 6, as is the rule in the ValCom® questionnaire, represent the school grades, in reverse order. The rating 1 is insufficient, i.e. not applicable, while 6 indicates very good, i.e. fully applicable. The 7 would be an exaggerated or not solvable grade. The employees do not have to justify their assessment.

This makes it easy to make developments transparent, even of complex issues such as feelings and sensations.

Examples are:

  • On a scale of 1 to 7, to what extent do you think the value and competence assessment results match your personal view?
  • On a scale of 1 to 7: How motivated are you for this task?
  • On a scale of 1 to 7, how challenging do you find your current job?
  • How would you rate the current team culture on a scale of 1 to 7?
  • How do you rate your competences for your current task overall on a scale of 1 to 7?
  • To what extent do your personal values match the team/organisational values?
  • To what extent do the values and competences of your team match the organisational values or competences?
  • How would you rate the process of developing your own values or competences on a scale of 1 to 7?
  • How was it possible that you increased by x levels compared to last time?
  • What would have to happen to improve your values and competences by 2 levels each?

 Hypothetical questions

Employees look into the future to identify new perspectives and learning paths with the help of scenarios. This can reveal whether the possible learning paths are realistic or desirable.

Examples are:

  • What would your ideal values and competence profile look like?
  • How would you develop your values and competences if you could decide completely freely?
  • What would happen if you do not develop your values and competences?
  • Which task or project would you take on for your values and competence development if you could determine it yourself?
  • What would have to happen for them to further develop your aspired values and competences?
  • How would you shape your value and competence development if time and money did not matter?
  • What would your working environment have to look like so that you can develop your desired values and competences in a targeted way?
  • How would your colleagues react when you implement your values and competence development measures?
  • How will your manager react when you suggest your proposal for a practical task or project to develop your values and competences?
  • What would you do if neither your colleagues nor your manager gave you the support you needed to develop your values and competences?

Paradoxical questions 

With paradoxical questions that exaggerate difficult challenges, you can amaze the employees. Often it can be useful to announce this exaggeration.

Most of these questions serve to dissolve entrenched patterns of action. Often the question is asked what would have to happen for the project to fail, so that the ambition is aroused to prevent exactly that.

Examples are:

  • What would have to happen for your job satisfaction to deteriorate?
  • What would you have to do for your values and competences to deteriorate?
  • What would have to happen for your motivation to develop values and competences in a targeted way to deteriorate?
  • What has to happen for you to fail with your practice task or project?
  • What framework conditions would have to be changed for your practice task or project to fail?
  • What has to happen for your manager to withdraw you from the agreed practical task or project?
  • What could cause you to lose the support of your colleagues?
  • How would human resource development have to act so that they no longer feel like developing your values and competences?
  • How do you manage to initiate even more conflicts with your colleagues?
  • How do you manage to create even more trouble with customers or partners?

Solution-oriented questions

With solution-oriented questions you can make hidden possibilities and opportunities visible by working out existing development opportunities in the employee's environment. This gives the conversation a positive, optimistic character.

Examples are:

  • Under what conditions are you satisfied with your work?
  • What is different in these phases of satisfaction than when you are dissatisfied?
  • How can you avoid becoming unhappy at work?
  • What would you have to do to improve their values and comeptence?
  • What would have to happen to improve your motivation for targeted value and competence development?
  • What needs to happen for you to be successful with your practical task or project?
  • Which framework conditions would have to be changed in order for you to successfully implement your practical task or project?
  • What could lead to you gaining the support of your colleagues?
  • How would HR development have to act for your self-organised value and competence development to be successful?
  • How do you manage to avoid conflicts with your colleagues, customers or partners?

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