Learning How to Use Powerful Questioning

If you are or are planning to be a life coach, it’s possible you’ve heard of powerful questioning. This useful technique helps you and your coachee delve deep into the situations and issues they are experiencing and come up with useful answers they can apply to get their life where they want it to be.

Powerful questioning is more than just shooting a list of questions at someone. Powerful questions cause the person being asked to reflect and analyze certain aspects of their life. They guide the individual to find the answers they need in their current situation and help them apply those answers.

Who Does Powerful Questioning Benefit?

While powerful questioning is useful for life coaches and counselors, it’s something all relationships can benefit from. There are many instances where you may find yourself in a position to help someone make a decision or understand their life situation. Some examples include parenting, any training position, or when a friend asks for advice. Everyone can gain from it.

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How to Ask Powerful Questions

How do you incorporate this technique into your coaching practice? First, you need to understand what a powerful question is.

Powerful questions are not:

  • Said to make the person who asks the question sound smart.
  • Closed-ended or yes/no questions.
  • Said to lead the person being asked to a specific answer the asker has in mind.
  • Questions that are actually statements.

Powerful questions are:

  • Genuine.
  • Open-ended.
  • Asked to help the person delve into their own knowledge and creativity.
  • Build understanding of the situation and/or relationship.
  • Discover options.
  • Help the one answering find a course of action.

With these basics in mind, you can shape questions that will help others find the answers they need.

When you ask these questions, give the other person time to answer. Don’t fear the silent pause they may need in order to think.

Ask questions that remind you and the individual that they are the masters of their life and action has to come from them. You want to help empower them. Some examples would be: What would you like to accomplish? What can be your next step? What are you going to implement between now and when we talk again?

Practice

If you’re not used to formatting questions in this way, it may be awkward for you at first. Take some time on your own to come up with powerful questions. You can ask them to your friends or even ask them to yourself about your own life. Doing this makes it easier for you to employ powerful questioning when you’re with another person.

Final Thoughts

Powerful questioning is just that—powerful. Whether you’re using it professionally as a life coach or as a parent or a friend, this technique helps you understand another person while helping them discover they are capable of finding solutions. It’s a tool that helps while encouraging autonomy, and that makes it incredibly useful for everyone.

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Jeannie Cotter
Editor/Writer
Writer, Coaches Training Blog community

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