Having a go to coaching question may sound a bit odd. After all, if we are being a good coach, shouldn’t we let the conversation guide the questions we ask? This is in fact how I was taught. Be present and focus your curiosity on the other person. Let the questions come to you. That still holds true but I’ve learned having some questions up your sleeve can aid this process.
This idea was reinforced by Michael Bungay Stanier’s excellent book, ‘The Coaching Habit‘. In it, Michael outlines seven questions he uses most often. I was skeptical at first. It sounded a bit too structured but as I’ve learned, having several key questions is extremely helpful. You get to choose what and when to use them.
My Go To Coaching Question
If you’ve read this far, you probably want to know what my go to coaching question is. Well, here it is:
What is most xxxxxx about this for you?
I usually fill in the xxxxxx with difficult, challenging or other word that fits the context. Of all the questions I ask, this one has been most helpful for me. The beauty of this question is its focus on the other person – ‘for you’. So often we get wrapped up how the other person is behaving, how they are unreasonable. This question brings the focus back to the person being coached.
Suspending My Judgment
I find it also helps me to suspend my judgment. As I listen to a client, my mind is making sense of what they are telling me through my own view of the world. It is also better to see the world through the other persons perspective. What is most difficult about this for them? Usually, their answer is quite different than what I was expecting them to say.
Lastly, this question encourages people to think. What is most difficult about this for them? It is a question we rarely ask ourselves. So, what is most difficult about this for you?