I’ve gotten a great reminder lately that powerful questions are really in the mind of the listener. As a coach, you don’t know if a question is powerful until after it hits the listener. Here’s what reminded me.
I’ve recently joined several LinkedIn Coaching groups, one of which is the ICF Coach’s Forum. One participant posted a discussion question, “What would you ask clients if they had to answer honestly? For some background information, I’m currently working on creating feedback forms for clients who call into my site and speak with coaches at random. What would you ask clients that could help you as a coach and entrepreneur? Is there anything you think you could/should improve as a coach?”
The answers are all over the board. Here’s a sample (note the breadth of content covered by the questions):
- What is your best coaching take away that happily stuck to you like super glue?
- What worked well?
- What’s not quite right?
- Would you recommend this website? [I like this one. One purpose of this is to get feedback on a website!]
- Who are the top four individuals you invite into your circle of trust?
- What three things keep you awake at night?
- What is the single most important thing you will do tomorrow?
- ¡Qué puedes sacar de todo esto? [What conclusion can be drawn from all this?]
All of these questions have potential. They are not like the powerful questions that we ask in a coaching session. These questions seek to improve a broader process and, as a result, stretch beyond the client’s needs.
One of the International Coaching Federation’s Core Competencies is asking powerful questions. At Ultimate Coaching University, the class on Powerful Questions is one of the first ones we teach at the Three Day Launch Session. Almost 100% of the student would like to have a list of the best questions to ask. While we do provide some examples of good questions, our goal is to focus the student on the client. Until you step into the coaching circle with a client and design questions for his needs, all that you have are words.
Think about coaching situations that you have been involved in. We’d love to hear your best question (even if we never know the client and the situation).