Some of my favorite coaching questions

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I’ve been a professional coach (whatever that means) for 21 years. Through all that time I’ve made a decent living at it, and never went to “coaching school” (do you have to go to talking school?)

But I have been in a few thousand coaching situations. Through that time I’ve learned some good prompts that get meaningful conversation going.

A good coaching question should be open-ended (requiring more than a yes/no response) and should provoke deeper thinking.

So, here are some of the best coaching questions I’ve discovered over decades of making a living at this, in no random order:

  1. What are the bright spots? Elaborate on what’s going well. (Don’t skip past this. An ingrate can’t be happy and a grateful person can build on what’s already working.)
  2. What is draining your energy? Let’s make a list of the dim spots.
  3. List your team members from first to worst. Who would you never want to lose and who are you on the bubble with? Let’s discuss each one and make go-forward steps for them.
  4. What’s the biggest challenge in this situation for you personally?
  5. What’s your bigger future? Where are you trying to get to?
  6. What does success mean to you personally and professionally? Elaborate.
  7. What’s taking up your head space lately?
  8. What else is on your mind aside from that?
  9. How are you maximizing your strengths in your current role?
  10. Who are you investing in and mentoring? How specifically are you doing that?
  11. What are you doing to raise your lid? Reading, podcast listening, conference attending etc.?
  12. If you don’t deal with this issue now, how will it look in one month? One year? Ten years?
  13. Can you identify a roadblock that has you stuck?
  14. When you talk or think about a work issue outside of work what is it? Why is it bothering you?
  15. What’s the one action step you could take today that would make an immediate difference in your life?
  16. What are you committing to do before we meet again?

Choose one or two questions from this list you can use to up your coaching game.

Speaking into someone’s life is both an honour and a privilege. Take advantage of it! Help someone else. That’s a big part of why we’re on Earth.

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Written by Trevor Throness
Trevor is a veteran coach, keynote speaker, and the author of the book “The Power of People Skills” released by Career Press NY in 2017. He’s also written for or been featured in places like Forbes, Inc, The NY Post, The Globe and Mail, Entrepreneur, CEO Magazine, and numerous podcasts and interviews.


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