Be Curious

Part II of II

In order for a client to self-discover their real needs and the actions they’ll take to address them, it’s important for a coach to stay in inquiry – asking open-ended questions that allow the client to look inward for answers they haven’t yet covered.

Here are examples of powerful questions that work for me:

What do you need to focus on right now?
In the story you just told me, what led you to react that way?
What’s the impact on others when you do that?
What’s behind that?
What’s getting in the way?
What part of this do you control?
How would you prioritize the options you just told me?
How realistic is that timetable?
What If you decided to do it this month instead of next quarter?
Who could help you?
Who else is involved in that decision?
What else could you do? (pause) And then what?
What have you written down so far?
Which of these are you most committed to doing?
On a scale of 0 (low) to 10 (high), what’s the likelihood you’ll do it?
What would it take to turn that 7 into an 8?
How will you hold yourself accountable?
How will you know when you’ve reached that goal?

It takes practice to continue asking powerful questions and not slip into a disguised suggestion: “Have you considered…?” While you never want to make the other person feel they’re being interrogated, remaining silent and allowing them time to think often leads to better decisions than you might have offered.

My favorite coaching sessions begin when a client says, “I don’t have much today.” I’ll say, “What’s one thing you thought about this morning that’s still on your mind?” That opens up a dialogue and usually ends with a “Wow!” or “Who knew I had so much to discuss.”


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