I have been struck by the focus on curiosity in my Insight Mediation class. This is the same focus on powerful curious questions central to the coaching practice sometimes referred to as Insight Coaching.
Why is curiosity so powerful in both arenas? And why is curiosity important when people are struggling to problem solve? Does this focus on curiosity have something to tell us about other areas of our lives, such as love and relationships?
The Benefits of Curiosity for Conflict Resolution
The definition of conflict in Insight Mediation is when two or more people feel the need to defend what they care about. Those “cares” could be their interests, self-image, or image of “justice.” When two parties are in conflict, it can be difficult for them to express their feelings without judgment or fear. This is where curiosity comes into play; when we approach conflicts with curiosity instead of judgment, we open up the possibility for constructive dialogue and resolution. By allowing ourselves to take a step back and see things from another’s perspective, we can foster understanding and empathy, which are essential components of successful mediation.
Central to Insight Mediation is the realization that responding to conflict with genuine curiosity almost always has the effect of lowering the defensive posture of those who are in conflict.
The Benefits for Coaching
In coaching, curiosity allows us to explore our own potential and uncover creative solutions to our challenges. We can use it as a tool to push ourselves out of our comfort zones by asking questions such as “What if I tried something different?” or “How could I make this situation better?” Through self- exploration, we can gain insight into our strengths and weaknesses, allowing us to reach our goals more effectively.
My coaching instructor once said, “Change happens when we can look without judgment at our actions when we didn’t do what we said we would do.” In other words, when we can look at our own behavior with curiosity. Shame and judgment usually result in us repeating the stories we have told ourselves about who we are and how we act. The result is to double down on those stories. But looking at those stories with curiosity opens up the possibility of creating new and more empowering stories.
The Benefits for Love and Relationships
Curiosity has long been considered a core element in romantic relationships; after all, who doesn’t love learning new things about their partner? But what many people don’t realize is that it also plays an important role in platonic relationships—from friendships to professional collaborations. When we engage with others with genuine interest, it builds trust and connection—essential elements in any healthy relationship. Therefore, by approaching each situation with an open mind and heart filled with curiosity, we can create stronger bonds with those around us.
Embrace your Curiosity
Curiosity plays an important role not just in resolving conflicts but also in improving coaching techniques and building strong relationships. By using it both within ourselves as well as between two people (or groups) in conflict or collaboration, we can open up the possibilities for creative problem-solving and deeper connection. So next time you find yourself caught up in a challenging situation or looking for ways to improve your skills as a coach or mediator—embrace your sense of wonder! Open yourself up to what lies beyond the surface level by allowing your natural sense of curiosity to guide you forward into uncharted territories with confidence.