Send Network Ongoing Training for Trainers of Church Planters: Asking questions that transform souls

Send Network01.30.18

Dino Senesi is the Send Network coaching director at the North American Mission Board. Dino leads the team that provides leadership for creating indigenous coaching systems to help serve and develop church planters. He is the author of Sending Well: A Field Guide to Great Church Planter Coaching. In this podcast, Dino helps trainers develop confidence and competence in asking transformational questions that truly shape souls.

1. Before you listen to this podcast, take this simple self-assessment. Use the following scoring scale.

1 – Never.

3 – Rarely.

5 – Sometimes.

7 – Usually.

10 – Always.

___ When I ask questions, people know that I have no agenda except their best interest.

___ I know how to ask questions that help others minister not only from their heads but also from their hearts.

___ Before I train, I think through and rehearse some fail-proof, “go-to” questions in case I get stuck as a trainer.

___ I have mastered the art of asking short questions.

___ I am a question “collector.” I know where to go to find good questions that I can put in my personal training tool kit.

___ Your total

What does this score tell you about your need to grow in your competence and confidence as a great question-asker?

2. Listen to the podcast featuring Dino Senesi.

3. Dino mentioned that he was a born talker and teller—that when he was called to preach, he felt he was called to talk, not listen! That’s likely true for most of us as trainers of church planters. Put an X on the line below that best defines you right now.

talker/teller                                                                                    listener/asker


Draw an arrow to where you would like to be. What’s one change/habit you could make/form to help you become the kind of trainer who listens and asks so that you can create the kind of environment that fosters a learner’s self-discovery?

4. When asked how he first became aware of the transforming power of great questions, Dino told the story about how his one-time executive coach, Bob Logan, asked the kinds of questions that opened up a window inside of Dino. He said that Bob’s questions helped him realize that he was ministering out of his head and not his heart. Dino began to see that asking the right questions can “create a sacred space” where the trainer “gets out of the way and the spotlight is on the learner.” Think back. Describe a time when someone asked you a question(s) that touched your soul deeply and, perhaps, changed the trajectory of your life. What’s a tweetable principle you can articulate from that experience?

5. In our Train the Trainer Retreat, we introduce the 5 Hat Question Pathway. 1) The Fisherman pathway. 2) The Reporter Pathway. 3) The Physician Pathway. 4) The Pilot Pathway. 5) The Construction Pathway. Dino said that his favorite pathway might be the Pilot Pathway: “What’s next?” followed by “Why is that important to you?” What’s at least one go-to question you could write down that you will use in each of the 5 pathways?

6. Dino mentioned a few of his go-to questions and approaches.

  • What’s next?
  • What’s motivating you?
  • What’s your biggest question?
  • I’m stuck.
  • Let’s think about some options.
  • And what else?

Which of these would you most like to add to your training tool kit? How do you think adding that question/approach might help you as a trainer?

7. Dino mentioned several resources that have helped him ask better questions:

Coaching Questions by Tony Soltzfus
50 Powerful Coaching Questions by Keith Webb
40 Questions to Help You Coach in Deep Water by Dino Senesi
Peer Coaching Guide from the One Day Coaching MAP
Sending Well: A Field Guide to Great Church Planter Coaching

Which of these resources will you acquire and use to help you refine your skills as a question-asker?

8. Dino mentioned some “deep practice” opportunities for us to consider to help our growth:

  • Read from the resources listed above and collect questions from them
  • Listen for trigger words in conversations to help you formulate questions
  • Use “what?” and “how?” to create your own questions
  • Develop a relationship with someone where you discipline yourself to only ask and not tell
  • Practice asking questions with your spouse and your children/grandchildren’
  • Which of these will you put into play immediately to help you grow?

9. Take some time to reflect on the experience of listening to this interview with Dino. Ask yourself, “What have I learned? What am I seeing that needs to be different, so I can ask questions that shape the souls of others? What is one personal practice that I need to implement? How do I need to adjust or add to my Traits of a Great Trainer?””

Write down your answers. Tell someone—a team member, a fellow trainer, or your Regional Send Network Trainer—about the changes you want to make. Ask them to pray with you and encourage you. Now, develop a strategy— next steps— to make those changes a reality.

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