A coach doesn’t provide you with the answers to your problems, rather he guides you to your own solutions. In order to do that, there are many powerful coaching questions they must ask.
Sometimes it is important to give someone a different perspective thereby encouraging the breakthrough that is much needed to succeed. That’s where the art of coaching holds significant importance.
If the right set of coaching questions are asked at the right time and in the right way, then it may lead to some impactful realizations. The client may discover some facts about himself and his situation which earlier seemed hidden to him.
I have compiled a few one on one coaching questions that will surely help you to step into your client’s shoes.
1. What do you aspire to achieve by the end of this session?
I ask this question at the very beginning of my session.
It helps to keep both the client and me on track. It assures that the session is adding value to the client and is worth opting for.
2. What matters most in your life?
Most coaches make a mistake of directly jumping on the core problem. Before that, it is crucial to have an insight into your client’s life.
This will help you to understand his whims and fantasies. There can be follow up questions like- “Why does it matter you so much?”, “How does it strengthens you?”
When you ask such questions, in the beginning, the client feels more comfortable to open up his heart. This will help you to understand his problem well and suggest solutions.
3. What is your daily routine?
This may sound a bit irrelevant but it is actually valuable.
When your client shares his daily routine with you he is giving indirect hints about his priorities, his time management skills, his personal and professional life balance, etc.
4. What is your biggest strength and weakness?
This is one of the most crucial coaching questions that should be the part of your list.
By knowing the strengths and weakness of the client you will come to know more about the kind of personality he is.
Suppose the client is facing trouble with his relationship. He tells you that his greatest strength is that he apologizes soon for his mistakes. Also, he tells you that his weakness is that at times he cannot control his anger.
From this, you can make out that maybe the client losses his temper soon and that eventually disrupts his personal life. Or repeatedly apologizing for the mistakes has made him feel low regarding himself.
For instance, if working hard is the strength of your client but too much of this is disrupting his work-life balance, then that’s where things are going wrong.
It is crucial to understand what the client is actually passionate about.
For instance, he might be vexed with his current situation and aims to achieve peace and happiness. Once you get to know this, the next set of coaching questions can be aligned to take him closer to his goal.
Your coaching questions should be framed according to the answers given by your client.
After asking him what he is up to, the next question should immediately be around his commitment towards it.
Try that the session is more like a conversation rather than an interview. If your client says that the commitment level has deteriorated since the last few months, try to understand the cause.
This question will signal the inner feeling of the client and his zeal for the goal. If he says that he has a strong feeling that he can do it. You just need to plan a roadmap for him.
If he says he is finding it tough to achieve, your next task is to reason why?
Is your client unnecessarily dragging him to a point where he doesn’t actually wish to land?
This question will help you to understand the same.
Help your client to assert his individuality. Understand the fact that your client is lost and is underestimating himself.
Your job is to revive a fresh stream of confidence and motivation in him.
Let him discover the unique trait of his personality!
Many times clients are used to dwelling on the negative side. They even ignore the merits of what all they possess.
This is a powerful coaching question that will show your client that though there are hurdles in the path yet there are some positive tools too which he might not be utilizing to the maximum.
This may feel quite unrelated but I personally feel that sometimes seeing ourselves from someone else’s eyes can be impactful.
It can both help in realizing one’s worth as well as one’s mistakes.
I would suggest you ask this question playfully! This will indicate the area which your client is avoiding and not want to speak about.
Probably he is either hesitating or he simply doesn’t want you to enter that space. Now it’s your job to find a clever way to figure it out.
Sometimes there is just one root cause and others are simply a by-product.
Your goal is to identify that biggest challenge through your one to one coaching questions.
Guide your client towards assigning priorities. Let him introspect through your coaching questions and realize what he is truly looking for.
Encourage him to dive deeper into his heart and share his ultimate desire.
Sometimes we don’t realize what are our actual needs.
For instance, your client may say that he needs to accelerate the pace of his business. But eventually, you may realize that he is actually lacking support and needs a support system to drive him.
This is my personal favorite. As we grow up the art of daydreaming vanishes.
This question will make your client unveil the desires that are somewhere hidden. The client will start to articulate what he wants from a passion perspective.
When you ask this question to your client it will take him back to his accomplishments and elevate the confidence.
This way reaffirms the personal value and helps in recognizing the true worth.
Is he having a solid support system in his network? If not then is it the prime reason why he is unable to proceed smoothly? You need to figure out that.
I prefer asking this question twice. First time somewhere in the beginning and second at the last.
The reason is that your client, in the beginning, may not discover much about his situation and himself. But eventually, through the guidance provided by your one to one coaching questions, he may get a deeper insight into the same.
He may realize the positive aspects and his worth which may turn the rating probably from a 4 in the beginning to a 7 till the last. That would indeed be a great victory!
Life and careers are full of obstacles and hurdles. The problem can be in any sphere- personal or professional.
This question will boost brainstorming and will help you to realize the issue in a broader sense.
If your client says “yes” to this then definitely the way of tackling has to be changed.
If it is a “no” then the time has come for you to tighten your belt and get started to analyze the situation, discover the problems, and provide relevant suggestions.
After the client describes the problem, the next question should be “What all have you tried to solve the problem?”
If the client has given enough attempts then definitely the path not taken should be deliberated upon. Or maybe a fresh and innovative start is the demand of the situation.
You may eventually ask some follow up questions like- “Why couldn’t you succeed in the first time?” “ What did you change in the next attempt”? etc.
The main aim of your coaching questions is to analyze the present situation of your client. Thereafter enable him to realize what all decisions went wrong and what should be taken care of this time.
Along with the obstacles faced when I ask my clients about the lessons learned it makes them feel positive about themselves.
Suppose there is a case where a client shares that he was too possessive with his partner. Now he has realized that he should provide his partner with personal space.
Here’s where you have to congratulate your client and tell him that he has done a great job!
Your client will gradually start holding a better view of himself. Next, you can direct him to how can he implement the same. Like practices such as checking his partner’s phone should be avoided. etc.
There can be possibilities that along with the obstacles, certain things are working well but your client is unable to recognize the same.
You need to convey to your clients that things can be even worse but at least that is not the case at present. Ask “What if..?” kind of questions and picturise an even worse kind of situation so that your client can realize that the present situation is not so bad.
Let your client give wings to his aspirations. Applaud him for his constructive thoughts like- “Awesome, that’s great!” “ I really liked your spirit”.
Build confidence in him that he would surely accomplish the same in the near future.
Giving pieces of advice is much easier than trying to implement the same!
With this question, in an attempt to advise a close friend, your client may eventually perceive some quick tips for himself.
I like to give my clients this virtual reality to understand more about the hurdles they want to overcome and the destination they want to reach.
Right now your client has a complex view of the situation. Let’s give him an opportunity to simplify it.
You can make it quite interactive like “Suppose you have all the resources lacking now, then what?” “What if I fulfill that too?”
You need to reach that last mile which your client is actually looking for and during the journey, you need to record actual problems being faced and decide what could be done to make things favorable.
Visualization is an effective technique.
This question will enable your client to look beyond the present situation and achieve peace of mind.
So your client is totally disheartened. He tells you that he wants to give up and he is a coward.
While handling a client who is full of agony and distress, I try to make him wear the mask of his best version and then ask him to take the next steps.
This gives him a chance to realize his courageous and positive side.
Most people are stuck to that space where they feel there is no way out.
As a coach, your responsibility is not only to suggest possible options but first let the client create them for himself.
You need to be extremely careful with the way you frame your questions.
For instance, if your client says that he is having a bad time with his colleague rather than saying- “How can he do this to you?” You should put it this way- “ What could have been the possible reason for his action?” “ How can we deal with him for a better relationship?”
Great! So now your client knows what all can be done. Indeed your guidance is helping him out!
The next step is to let your client choose the best option. “Why” is extremely crucial here. If you feel that he is neglecting a good option owing to some of his assumptions or weakness you can ask- “Why not?”
Just take care that it has to be more like advice rather you following a bossy tone.
Preparing for the worse automatically takes care of the rest.
It is this “worse” that your client is most scared of. Once you get to know it, your job is to convey the client that it is not as bad as he thinks and together we can prepare to overcome the same.
Ask questions like “So what…?” and give him a view of how it won’t impact him as adversely as he is thinking.
Your client needs to prioritize his longings. By this question, you are trying to covey him that not everything can go according to his way.
Given a chance, which three things he would want first?
Now the time has come for action. Your client has a plan. Now he has to execute the same through actions.
You can gently advise your client to have short goals at the first and on their accomplishments, he can gradually move to the bigger ones.
Ask your clients how would he celebrate when his actions will bring the desired results. Celebrations are important!
Psychology says that sometimes reverting a situation and imagining it the way you want gives much peace.
This question will also help you to discover what is hurting your client the most.
This is a valuable question. It helps the client to realize that he is indeed making choices and efforts each day to transform his hopes into reality.
No matter if it is not working, your job as a coach is to appreciate the client for his day-to-day efforts and suggest ways to get better results.
This question builds the impression that you are really keen to help the client and not in a hurry to wind up things.
As a coach, you should always prefer building relationships than business.
I ask this question every time in the end. It helps me to understand what matters most to my clients.
It also helps the client to see the benefits of my coaching session and what difference the place created.
This is one of the best ways to understand how helpful your coaching session was.
If it is a “YES” then definitely you did a great job and the person may also recommend your services to some of his acquaintances as and when required.
Apart from the above, there can be certain descriptive and powerful coaching questions that may come handy like:
40. Help me understand….
41. Tell me a bit more about that….
42. Could you describe me further…
43. Let me make sure that I understood right…
44. Can you please narrate some incidents substantiating that….
These questions will help you to come up with an X-ray of the client’s problem. Another fact is that when you ask such descriptive questions it also gives confidence to the client that you are giving your full efforts to understand the holistic view of his problem.
Hope I was successful enough to give you some meaningful insights!