Developing the skill of curiosity

By Jim LaDoux
Curiosity is often seen as a childlike quality, but it is a key skill in developing a successful life and career. It allows us to continually learn and grow and is essential for innovation and problem-solving. Curiosity can help evoke new awareness and seek to draw out the dreams and imaginations of your clients. In this post, we will explore the benefits of developing the skill of curiosity and how it can take people to a new place.

Curiosity can be one of your most powerful skills

Developing the skill of curiosity is not only about asking questions but also about being open-minded and willing to learn. It is about seeking out different perspectives and experiences that can broaden our horizons. Curiosity allows us to be more creative and adaptable to unexpected situations, which is essential in today's fast-paced world.

Using curiosity to reframe conversations is another essential aspect of this skill. Instead of approaching conversations with preconceived notions, curious individuals focus on the facts, seek to understand the other person's perspective, and ask questions that broaden the conversation's scope. Curiosity helps us to question our assumptions and consider new possibilities.

Curiosity goes beyond just gathering knowledge; it is also about having the courage to explore new ideas and take risks. Curious people are not afraid of failure or mistakes; instead, they see these as opportunities for growth and self-improvement. Curiosity allows us to step outside of our comfort zones and embrace the unknown.

Watch Diana Kander's podcast

Please listen to Diana Kander's podcast, titled, listen74-Developing the Skill of Curiosity.  It's an amazing conversation about ways that curiosity  can help reframe perspectives, evoke new awareness, and transcend coaching conversations.

View developing the skill of curiosity as a lifelong endeavor that requires an open mind, a willingness to learn, and the courage to take risks. It is an essential skill for innovation, problem-solving, and personal and professional growth. Allow curiosity to take people to new places and to explore new ideas, perspectives, and experiences. By fostering curiosity in ourselves and others, we can help people move into their preferred futures.


  1. After listening to the podcast, what thoughts were sparked about curiosity?
  2. How would you use what you learned about curiosity in your coaching practice?
  3. How can you integrate what you have learned today in your own life and ministry?
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Ed Horstmann - September 25th, 2023 at 10:02pm

After listening to the podcast, what thoughts were sparked about curiosity?

I liked the basic understanding of curiosity as the gap between what we know and what we don't know. The opposite of curiosity is certainty. I think the most important takeaway is the idea that innovation is a skill rather than a mindset. What are the skills we need to practice in order to create a culture of curiosity. One of my staff members has been watching Sesame Street with her toddler and the show's creators suggest a way of tapping curiosity that involves the posing of three statements when we want to solve a problem: I wonder....What if...Let's try...When people in an organization practice the skill of asking and responding to those questions, this would be one way to nurture a culture of curiosity.

How would you use what you learned about curiosity in your coaching practice?

I agree with Kander that innovation is a skill, so the questions we ask, and the curiosity we demonstrate, are skills that we use to evoke wonder. But I think there is a sense in which curiosity is an orientation towards the coachee: I think I would like to prepare for each coaching session by taking time to ask myself: am I really prepared to be curious about this person and their questions and their power/wisdom to uncover their own wisdom? If I'm not prepared, then I would need to take some time to shift myself into that orientation.

How can you integrate what you have learned today in your own life and ministry?

The one area that leaps to mind is the challenge congregations face related to membership growth (and whether that's the best term to use in the process). How can we develop curiosity about the question itself? Why do we want to attract more members? What makes a member? What skills do we need to acquire and practice to make growth possible? Too often we jump from "we need more members" to "let's host a neighborhood block party." No curiosity there! And usually no results.

Jim LaDoux - September 28th, 2023 at 10:15am

I like your comments about innovation being a skill we need to learn and that curiosity is an essential element of that skill. I've started asking myself, what do I need to be more curious about? I need to do the same thing with clients.

Carl Horton - October 2nd, 2023 at 12:28pm

1, After listening to the podcast, what thoughts were sparked about curiosity?

I like her definition of curiosity as the space between what is currently known and what is unknown. She also identifies certainly as the opposite of curiosity and says that when certainty increases, curiosity decreases. So for curiosity to thrive we need space and a lack of certainty. Coaching seems to create that space that welcomes curiosity. The technique of powerful questioning challenges certainty and engages clients in either imagining beyond their certainty or confirming their certainties.

2, How would you use what you learned about curiosity in your coaching practice?

I will employ a growth skill set in my coaching practice. Also it helps to know that 50% of our decisions may be wrong even when we're at the peak performance of our skill set. Coach and coachee are both "practicing" a skill set.

3, How can you integrate what you have learned today in your own life and ministry?

I tend to think of myself as an innovative person. I will try in my own life and ministry to be more attentive to the signs of innovation that she identifies: surprises, disagreements, robust conversation. Often those are perceived of as negative, but in fact they are signs of innovation and curiosity. I'll also work on always developing the skill set for innovation and growth.

Tony Myles - October 7th, 2023 at 10:38pm

Great stuff here. Some takeaways...

A lot of people operate with a "This is the way I've always done it" mentality. Sometimes our routines become handcuffs rather than a springboard. Curiosity helps explore the values - not at the expense of established practices, but with a desire to enter into new territories. We can become such experts at doing things in a limited way that we never become students of how to do things in a better way.

I'd use these ideas in helping a Coachee see what he/she doesn't yet see. By asking questions that awaken awareness, they may be more inclined to ask new question and begin moving toward a growth mindset. That helps the Coachee transition away rom limitations and toward an attitude that craves development.

I also want to apply this in my own journey, too. If I'm willing to suspend my opinions to tap into God's larger values and Truth, I can become more flexible... which means making a shift feels less scary and more inviting.

Matthew May - November 7th, 2023 at 11:10am

I am drawn to the idea of curiosity as letting go of certainty because they are opposites. Cultivating curiosity is extremely helpful when creating a new future because it allows us to dream and not be tied to a certain outcome. That experience helps us understand what is most important so that we can plan a desired path to our preferred future.