How do you feel when someone asks you ‘why’? Of course it can depend on how it is said and if the question is personal, but generally, what is your sense of being asked ‘why’?
Consider the impact of ‘why’ questions in coaching where the coach’s aim is to support the learner (coachee) in achieving their goals. ‘Why’ questions imply that there are right or wrong answers, tends to put the coachee on the defensive and may make them feel that their decisions are being challenged or even judged which destroys the positive and trusting environment needed for successful coaching.
So what type of questions should we ask in coaching? There are a number of different types and in using a range of questioning skills, the optimum benefit can be gained from a coaching session. As one of the major roles in coaching is listening, a coach should use mostly open questions to “open up” the coachee, helping them to widen their horizons and getting the coachee to think. In this context, ‘what?’, ‘where?’, ‘when?’ and ‘how?’ are the questions to remember to enable the coachee to gain new awareness of themselves.
Sometimes however, the most valuable tool is silence. When your coachee does not immediately reply to a question you have asked, it is often a sign that your question has really hit the spot, challenged their thinking and provided new insights and understanding
Copyright ©2016 Lesley Kaye