Four essential questions

Today I want to elaborate a topic, already reflected a little bit on my website. Regularly faced with the challenge of having to quickly understand behaviour patterns in organisations – especially with smaller assignments – I have to rely on first impressions, hypotheses or a gut instinct – all without a prolonged period of insight gathering. Actually an article by Prasad Kaipa guided me to develop a basic structure for this challenge: Four Essential Questions.

Prasad Kaipa is an Indian-American coach who strives to bring Indian Vedantic wisdom into management theory and practice. His article revolves around four core questions:

  • What is my North Star/What provides me with orientation?
  • What are my core incompetencies/why do I always get stuck?
  • What triggers my energy when I feel sapped?
  • What is my alarm system, warning me before I exhaust myself?

From Kaipa’s perspective you are in balance if you are aware of these four cornerstones. Then you can fully develop your personal potential or “natural genius”.


In particular, questions surrounding energy triggers, core incompetencies and alarm systems are dimensions that open up new perspectives in individual coaching. At the same time, the questions (supplemented by strengths) have become helpful instruments for me when tasked with making a quick initial organisational diagnosis, without claiming to be an encompassing tool:

  • The North Star describes what drives the organisation (purpose, values, North Star Metric)
  • Strengths identify overarching characterics, behaviours, structures ofr processes where the organisation is exceptionally talented
  • Core incompetencies show which behaviour patterns cause organisations to fail time and again
  • Energy triggers identify the little everyday things that lead to employees going home in a positive frame of mind and being eager to tackle new topics
  • Alarm systems provide organisations with an early warning if things are heading in the wrong direction


What do these questions “trigger” for you when you apply them to yourself and your organisation? Do you know of other concepts that can easily be transferred from individual coaching to organisational development?