One of the main tools that we use in coaching is asking questions. What differentiates a good question from a powerful one though? Here’s a few ideas to help you reflect upon your own questioning skills.
A powerful question is:
One Question. It is not two or more questions enmeshed in one. In everyday language it is common for people to ask multiple questions together. However this is something that we drop when we ask a powerful question. It is not ‘So what do you think happened here? In this situation you told me about? With your partner perhaps?’ It is ‘What do you think this is about?’
Brief. It’s usually one that is delivered in just a few words. It’s not convoluted, joins up lots of dots or overly complex. It is usually direct (not directive) and cuts to the chase.
Simple. Some of the most powerful questions are the simplest in their form. A ‘how come?’ or ‘what do you think?’ can be more impactful than more complex ones.
Timely. It is not just the structure of a question that makes it powerful but also its timing. The point that it is placed in the conversation. You can ask the same question but one will make it more powerful than the other because of its timing in a coaching session.
Shows Empathy yet Challenges. A powerful question challenges gently. This could be because it is one that the client does not know the answer to as yet. The question engages someone to stop, think further and reflect. This challenge is also matched with empathy, a sense of no judgement and a genuine curiosity from the coach.
Explores the Future. Powerful question are playful. They might engage the other person to explore possible future selves, experiment with what could be and creatively nudge a person to create new awareness and insight.
You can also get in touch with us directly, pop us an email and one of the team will get back to you.