Asking questions is a fundamental part of a coaching conversation. Just as listening and being present help contribute to a positive conversational experience socially, so too does questioning. Asking questions in everyday conversation can demonstrate interest, engagement, empathy and support. It could even say something about our values and beliefs. The questions we choose to ask, and the way we ask them, can also say something about our level of listening and our intent – questioning and listening are inextricably linked.
So, what’s the difference when we use questioning in coaching?
If we accept that a coaching conversation is a very particular kind of ‘managed’ conversation designed to support sustainable change in behaviour or ways of thinking arising from increased awareness, clarity and responsibility from the coachee, then we could say that the role of the coach is to ask questions in the service of the coachee’s thinking. A key distinction from social conversation is in the intent of our listening and our questioning. It has been said that the biggest communication problem we face is that we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply. Often, this reply is a question – but a question derived from our own selfish interest or inquisitiveness about the topic.
“Coaching is an art, and it’s far easier said than done. It takes courage to ask a question rather than offer up advice, provide an answer or unleash a solution.”
Brene Brown, in preface to The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever by Michael Bungay Stanier
As a coach, what we ask, when we ask it, and how we ask it can have a powerful effect on the coachee. The ‘best’ questions are those that have the greatest positive effect on the coachee at any given time.
In this chat we’d like to explore the what, why, when and how of questioning in a coaching context. Here are the questions we’ve come up with this month:
- How are coaching questions unique?
- What makes a good coaching question? And how do you know you’ve got it right?
- How can we develop adaptive questioning (in-the-moment) to coach as matters emerge?
- What might be some potential positive or negative impacts of questioning?
- Share a resource or pro-tip for asking good coaching questions.
The chat will take place on Monday 6th March at 8.30pm AEDT. That’s 9.30am in London, 12.30pm in Doha, 5.30pm in Singapore, 7.30pm in Brisbane and 10.30pm in Auckland.
We hope that you’ll join us!
The #educoachOC Team