Powerful Questioning in Coaching

A good coach uses powerful questioning in coaching and asks questions that open doors to help their clients achieve things they never dreamed were possible.

Powerful Questioning in Coaching
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This may come as a surprise to some but answers are not the most potent tool a coach has. Questions are! Powerful questioning empowers people to invent their own answers and solutions, thus developing them for future challenges.

Five Powerful Questions in Coaching

To discover new possible actions or to move your coaching clients toward their intended objectives, always ask these 5 questions:

1. What Stirs Your Heart?
Since vision starts within, it makes sense to listen and feel what their mind and soul really want. What is their greatest desire? What do they dream about? Make sure their vision comes from within. If what they want to pursue does not truly come from their inner depths, it will likely be impossible to achieve.

2. When Must This Be Accomplished?
What must happen and what specific, intended outcomes should be accomplished in the timeframe to achieve your client’s ultimate objective? Help your clients set specific dates of completion for each of their objectives.

3. How Might That Be Accomplished?
This question allows your clients to explore a number of approaches and alternatives. Encourage them to continue exploring different options until all known options are exhausted. Then help them select actions from the list that will help achieve their intended outcomes.

4. Who Will Perform the Tasks?
Once you’ve gotten the essentials sorted (an intended outcome and how and when it should be accomplished), it’s probably easier to move on to the next question: Who will/should/could be the one(s) to do it? Is it your client or should your client delegate the action to a family member, an employee or a colleague to do it? Together with earlier questions, this question can help keep your client accountable so they can get the intended outcome they desire.

5. What is the Single Biggest Challenge You Face?
Being aware of the nature and type of your client’s problem can help him face the problem with a positive approach. Help your clients believe in themselves, their abilities, and that whatever may be the obstacle, they have the strength to overcome it. Belief is a very strong balm and it works in many wonderful ways.

An Exercise for Powerful Questioning in Coaching

Using questions in conversations can help the other person think through the issues that they have. Imagine you are a relationship coach and are having a conversation with Patrick, the husband of Faith. In this conversation, you are applying powerful questioning in coaching; by asking him some pertinent questions, you’ll be able to get to the root of his problem and gently nudge him toward coming up with a solution himself.

Patrick: Faith and I are having problems. We have been quarreling a lot lately.

You: I’m sorry to hear that (extending empathy). Would you like to talk more about it? (being a listener and finding out details of problem)

Patrick: I’ve been really busy with my work and haven’t had time to go out with her. She feels I am neglecting her and spending too much time at work.

You: Has it always been this way with your work?

Patrick: No, it’s these recent three months because of a big project. Deadlines to meet and other work pressures….

You: Must be tough on you…. (extending empathy to Patrick and indirectly giving credit to Patrick for holding up)

Patrick: Yup… but I do need to make time for Faith… I have been working too hard. I should ease up a bit (self-evaluation). I think I’ll send her some flowers afterward and then call her for a dinner date tomorrow. (coming up with his own solutions)

You: Well, good luck and hope everything turns out well!

Responses to powerful questions will form a plan to help clients realize their objectives. But, it shouldn’t stop there. Arm yourself with a cornucopia of possible questions. Then, and only then, can you unlock new creative pathways and help your clients achieve their dreams.

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Jeannie Cotter
Editor/Writer
Writer, Coaches Training Blog community

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