Asking the right question at the right time is the cornerstone of coaching. I have compiled here my 12 favorite questions and the reasons why I love them.
1. What would you like to get out of this conversation? This question helps my client focus on what they REALLY want and narrow down the coaching topic that is sometimes very broad.
2. What does success look like? Help your clients create a mental imagery of success (like athletes do) with my all-time favorite question. Whenever I ask it, my clients say: “ That is a GOOD question!” and they start contemplating their desired future. Setting a GOAL is essential, but defining an appealing OUTCOME is a game-changer.
3. What are you doing to NOT achieve this goal ? This question is very simple yet powerful. It uncovers undesirable behaviors & beliefs that prevent clients from thriving.
4. What is the REAL challenge here? I use this question when the client starts digressing into long winded tales that are not helping them. I try to keep my client’s interest in mind to help them focus on what REALLY matters.
5. WHY is this important for you? Help your client understand the deep WHY of their goal. Don’t stay at the superficial level, go deeper to reveal their deep motivation. It will boost their drive to achieve their goal. This magic question is also the best way to shift a conversation from the Problem to the Person, from the What to the Who, from transactional coaching to transformational coaching. “When the WHY is clear the HOW becomes easy”.
6. What would happen if you DON'T change anything? Seeing success is one thing, seeing failure is another one. People will do much more to avoid pain than they will to gain pleasure! With this question, you offer them an opportunity to see a future they don’t want. Their motivation to avoid the status quo will suddenly rise. You can use a #NeuroLinguisticProgramming Technique: Collapse anchoring that involves taking a negative state, and integrating or collapsing it into a positive state. People will do much more to avoid pain than they will to gain pleasure!
7. What are you afraid of? Explore the real blockers and discover potential limiting beliefs. You can’t change what you don’t notice.
8. What is your intuition telling you? Many of my clients are very rational thinkers. When they are stuck, I ask this question to help them tap into their intuition and reconnect with their emotions for fresher perspectives.
9. Who are you when you are at your best? This helps my clients see themselves operating from strengths, feeling energized and confident, aligned with their core values. Bringing positive emotions is also a great way to broaden the scopes of cognition of your clients enabling problem solving and creative thinking.
10. Which strength(s) can you leverage to reach your goal? Empower your coachee to leverage their strengths to reach their goals. We spend way too much time trying to fix our weaknesses although there is a more efficient road to our genius. When we focus on developing our strengths, we grow faster than when trying to improve our weaknesses. An alternative question could be “Where are you ALREADY Amazing?”
11. What would your mentor (or best friend, or someone you admire…) advise you now? When my client is stuck, I offer them the opportunity to see the situation from a different angle : someone else's perspective. The conscious attempt to imagine another’s point of view can build new neural pathways, create real learnings and reshape perceptions. It helps clients question their frames of reference and perceive their environments from new original angles and their issues under different lights. Breakthrough is immediate!
12. SILENCE... is one of the best questions. "Silence is the great teacher and to learn its lessons you must pay attention to it." Deepak Chopra
What is your favorite question? Share with us!