“Great coaching is asking great questions,” I said to Carol. Carol did not hesitate but immediately replied with a good question: “How do you learn to ask good questions?”
Here is my reply to Carol:
1. Get interested. Really interested.
2. Write down the questions. Don’t just hold them in your thoughts; frame them in writing.
3. Start a little book of questions, to capture and catalogue questions as they happen.
4. Become fascinated by how things work and by finding ways to improve the situations around you, focus on seeing how things work rather than ‘being right’, or having readymade answers.
5. Move from ‘How’ to ‘What’ and ‘Why’ questions.
6. Practice looking at an object, or a word, and asking five questions about it.
7. Look at the people around you – replace and reframe opinions and ‘likes and dislikes’ to questions. Let yourself wonder what moves them; why they do what they do.
8. Next time someone says something and you immediately are tempted to just respond with your view, ask instead: ‘what makes you think like this?’; ‘what makes you feel like this?’
9. Listen to what you say and ask: ‘why did I say this?’ Practice asking questions instead of making points.
10. Write down 100 questions. You can create the questions in categories. Here are a few to get you going in the practice of asking questions. After you practice asking questions for a while, you will discover some great questions can lead to great coaching.
A. Self-awareness questions:
- What energizes you? What gets you going?
- What are the three biggest stressors in your life?
B. Questions about hopes and aspirations
- If you knew you could not fail, what would you begin to do today?
C. Questions about money:
- What are your basic beliefs about money?
- How are these beliefs shaping your relationship with money?
D. Questions about relationships:
- What are the most important things you are looking for in relationships?
- What does the map of your social network look like (are there a few major patterns)?
E. Questions about the future
F. Questions about achieving results
G. Questions about fears and worries
H. Questions about personal development and growth
I. Questions about leadership
J. Questions about health and well being
K. Questions about the learning process
L. Questions about great people and leaders in history
M. Questions about happiness and joy
N. Questions about habits and about psychology
O. Questions about how the economy works
P. Question about innovation
Q. Questions about trust and influencing
R. Questions about success and failure
S. Questions about coaching and mentoring
T. Questions about process engineering
U. Questions about purpose
V. Questions about destiny
W. Questions about resolving conflicts
X. Questions about human virtues
Y. Questions about forgiveness
Z. Questions about current world affairs
© Aviv Shahar