Using a well structured system of coaching questions can greatly increase your effectiveness as a coach. We have all heard the phrase: “He who asks the questions is in control of the conversation.” Besides giving control, questions also help you uncover issues that your client might not even be aware of. In addition, by answering your questions your client can give your message added credibility. Here’s how.
Questions Give Control without Provoking Resistance
When your client is answering your questions, they are responding to you and following a path that you are defining. One of the sources of the power of questions is that we are all trained to answer them. Just as we feel obliged to speak up to fill a “pregnant pause” we have all been trained to fill in the gap that comes at the end of a question by giving an answer. If you can guide your client to come to your conclusion by asking questions, you need not provoke the usual “push back” that can result when you just come out and challenge them.
Using Questions to Uncover Hidden Issues
Since our subconscious mind has been trained to answer questions too, asking questions can tap into this part of our being and reveal information that even your client is consciously unaware of. I am always surprised when a client gives an insightful answer after being asked the question “I realize that you don’t know the answer to that question, but if you did what would it be?”
Using Questions to Add Credibility
An additional bonus to guiding your client to a conclusion through questions is that when they finally state the conclusion, they do it in their own voice. This may seem to be a small point, but by using coaching questions, when the client finally hears the conclusion in their own voice, it enters their subconscious virtually unchallenged. This is a far cry from what happens when the coach makes a bold statement that sets off all the client’s defensive reflexes.
Developing Your Coaching Questions
With the power that the intelligent use of questions can bring to your coaching, it is clearly worth putting some serious effort into developing a system of coaching questions. There are many resources available in sales, rhetoric and psychology. Because it is tailored for coaches, I recommend the book entitled “Coaching Questions” by Tony Stoltzfus. Referring to this and other sources, develop your own system that you can comfortably employ to bring the power of questioning to your coaching practice.
Hope you took some great value out of this post today! I’d love to hear your feedback, so make sure you leave a comment with your thoughts or questions. And also, you can click on the Twitter button below to retweet this article… Thank you!
JTS Advisors Strategy and Accountability Coach