Powerful questioning

This course explores the nature of questions suitable for the coaching process, in the coaching industry this is referred to as “powerful questioning”

The quality of the question determines the quality of the coaching process, they should be questions that are thought provoking and inspire creative thinking.

Plutarch says“the mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled”.

If powerful questioning is of such great importance in coaching, what are the qualities that make them powerful?

The coach’s role is to help the client to think creatively, and by asking powerful questions a coach gets the client to open up, express his ideas and how he feels about them.

This is an adventure where the coach’s skill to ask quality questions is very crucial, because the outcome of the coaching process and coach’s credibility depend on it.

Let’s us look at some of the qualities of a powerful question:

  • It Shouldn’t be very easy to answer, if the client can answer the questions right away they are probably not powerful, Let the client think for a while.
  • It is an open-ended question, such a question always has answer, and this is good for clients because it gets them to talk, it usually starts with: how, describe, why, tell me more, etc.
  • It shouldn’t be a closed question which calls for a “yes or No” answer.
  • It also shouldn’t be a leading question, a kind of a question that instead lures the client into following a given pattern of thinking predetermined by his coach.

Let us now take some quick examples of powerful questions:

  • Hypothetical questions, a coach can ask a client “if you were in your twenty-year-old self, what would you have done in this situation?”,

” if the situation was perfectly solved, what would perfect be like “,” imagine you are in your retirement age, what do you see yourself like? And what do you think is the right decision to make now?”. etc.

  • Questions that reveal emotions and feelings, a coach can ask questions like “how do you feel about that?”, “what do you really really want?”. Etc.
  • Questions that reveal a client’s strengths, for example a coach can ask “have you been is this situation before?”,

If the client’s answer is “yes” then the coach can ask “what did you do that helped you come out of that situation?”

Or “what did you learn from then, that can help you solve the problem at hand?”.

We have given a mention of just a few examples of powerful questions…