Almost every conversation begins with questions. Getting to know someone better can lead into a more in depth and complete dialogue. This is even more important in the coaching field. The biggest challenge comes in when deciding what questions are the best to ask and each situation can be different, requiring unique question plans. Overall, however, there are some great questions to progress through a coaching dialogue with a coachee. Here are a few:
- What would you like to talk about today? This opens up the dialogue and lets the coachee guide the conversation.
- What outcome would you like to have from this conversation today? This question can help keep the coach from assuming they know what the coachees intentions are.
- Have you dealt with this type of situation before? This may help bring previous solutions or failures out which will help guide the conversation.
- What are the limitations here? Hopefully this will cause the coachee to stop and consider more thoroughly. Anytime a question is posed that requires a brief pause, give the coachee the time they need to fully investigate their response.
- What does your intuition/gut tell you about this situation? This may provide some insight into the coachee’s mindset or even values regarding their situation.
- What have you tried/what can you try to do to solve the issue? This either provides a bit of background on how the coachee has already tried to solve it, or opens up the conversation for ways to move forward with possible action plans.
- What benefits do you see in one course of actions vs. another? Again, this allows the coachee to delve deeper into their options to see what they will see as a better choice and why. It may also help solidify steps towards an action plan.
- What do you need in order to be successful with this? Perhaps the coachee simply needs support and this is something the coach can provide or the coachee may have a friend/family member who could assist with this requirement.
- What have you learned in this process? This question could be in reference to the situation the client is facing or the coaching process. Be specific with which one though to avoid confusion.
- If the conversation lags or the coachee gets stuck, change up the questioning to have them focus on a different perspective. Try using questions like “if this situation were reversed, how would you want it to be handled?”. Occasionally this different perspective is all a client will need to progress into solutions.
Regardless of what situations the coachee is bringing to the table, there are questions that can help them see things differently and hopefully come up with solutions that will work. Even if a coach gets stuck with ideas for questions, it is best to try and keep the conversation flowing and many “What” questions can help with this. If the situation is especially complex, an “outside of the box” question may help bring about the required insight.
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