Asking great questions!

Wednesday, 9th February, 2011

28 Day Blog Challenge – Day 9

question markContinuing the coaching theme for International Coaching Week, today’s blog discusses the benefits of questioning.

What makes a really great question?

Short answer: That would depend on the person being asked and the context.

Longer answer: Great questions …

  • come from a place of understanding (from listening)
  • challenge the person being asked (in a supportive way)
  • elicit learning from the recipient
  • can consolidate and clarify
  • create those “Wow, I never realised that about myself” moments

Whether you’re a team leader or manager coaching a team member, peer coaching, or an external coach with your client, asking the right questions is part of the recipe for coaching success.

Usually, you know when you’ve asked a great question because it will result in:

  • a sustained period of comfortable silence – because you’ve made the person think
  • a response of “that’s a good/great question!” (It does happen!)
  • sharing of some new pertinent information, which helps the person make progress

So what have been really great questions you’ve asked your co-workers, team members, etc?

I think it can be hard to answer this without the additional background that puts them in the appropriate context. However, here are a few I’ve had success with ….

1. How do you know?

2. What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

3. What’s stopped you doing more than you’ve done so far?

4. If you were an expert in this area, what would you do now?

5. What would make an excellent next question to move you forward?

6. What else?

Often the simplest ones are the best!

This is not an exhaustive list because I’m inviting lots of suggestions from you! So please add to the ones above using the comments box below. Thanks.

Also, I’d love to hear about the impact the questions had on the person being coached (or mentored)


debbie019 fThank you for taking time to read this blog.

I’m Debbie Inglis, a performance coach, mentor and trainer, working with Heads, Principals, School leaders and their teams to maximise leadership performance, create more effective, confident, and motivated teams … in a way that brings out the best in you.

If you’re interested in my services, please get in touch, and you can read more here.