Investigate allows you to learn about a phenomenon that occurs in someone else. Use it when an idea or behavior someone is presenting seems poor, confusing, or simply interesting.


  1. Act as if you were a detached but fascinated inquirer, asking questions until your curiosity is satisfied or you no longer want to ask questions.


  • Ask well-formed questions.
  • Ask only questions that will increase your understanding.
  • Ask questions only if the subject is engaged and appears ready to answer more.
  • Refrain from offering opinions.
  • Do not ask leading questions where you think you know how he or she will answer.
  • If you cannot remain a detached, curious investigator with no agenda, stop using the protocol until you can come back to it and keep these commitments.


  • Do not theorize about the subject or provide any sort of diagnosis.
  • Consider using the following forms for your questions:
    • What about X makes you Y Z?
    • Would you explain a specific example?
    • How does X go when it happens?
    • What is the one thing you want most from solving X?
    • What is the biggest problem you see regarding X now?
    • What is the most important thing you could do right now to help you with X?
  • Ineffective queries include the following:
    • Questions that lead or reflect an agenda.
    • Questions that attempt to hide an answer you believe is true.
    • Questions that invite stories.
    • Questions that begin with “Why.”
  • Stick to your intention of gathering more information.
  • If you feel that you will explode if you can’t say what’s on your mind, you shouldn’t speak at all. Consider checking your intention or Check Out.