One of the most powerful elements of effective coaching is “potent questioning.” Coaching aims to transform people’s mindsets and assist them in achieving lifelong goals and desired results.
Therefore, this article will review the Top 57 Questions to Ask and Top 10 not to Ask in a Coaching session aimed at GROWTH.
We will cover potent questions related to GROW model and general questions that will make coaching sessions simply more effective.
So, if you are ready, let’s start!
The following article covers:
What are good questions?
Good questions in coachingencourage thought and contribute to better self-awareness. Also, excellent questions throughout the session provide clients with clarity about their final destination and ways to get there.
The importance of asking the right coaching questions
Well, we understood the main aim of good questions throughout coaching sessions, but why are they so important? First, coaching is a huge practice, part of which is questioning. If you can ask the right questions, you will be able to motivate people quite easily and push them towards achieving their desired results.
So, the right questions will:
- Making each coaching session more effective will contribute to better final results.
- Show simply the coach’s interest in the coachee and that coach listens to the coachee, which contributes to the bond formation and increases the trust factor.
- Directly contribute to identifying exact issues and challenges the client is facing.
- It will improve the client’s ability to think, analyze & evaluate and contribute to developing a working solution.
Asking the right questions helps clients and coaches get a clear picture of the situation. Also, it helps to come up with solutions by implementing mindset-changing tools so that the client will reach the desired result.
Top 36 grow model coaching questions
The first set of questions is related to questions that are used in the GROW model coaching. The model was developed in the 1980s and is actively implemented nowadays. The main elements are the goal, current reality, options, and way forward/will. So, I suggest we take a closer look at each element.
The first element of the GROW model is the goal. Basically, it is about the establishment of goals for the client. The goals should be SMART, meaning specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-specific.
For the goal to be smart, it has to be formulated correctly, but some clients simply want a change and do not know their exact goal. Whether the client came with the goals or not, this section is vital for further programs. So, throughout it, you as a coach must aim to identify and formulate the client’s goals correctly.
The questions asked for this section should be orientated towards identifying the goal or reformulating the existing one. Here are potent Must-Ask questions for this.
- What do you want to achieve in this coaching program?
- What makes you happy?
- What is your desired goal/result?
- Will the result/achievement of the goal make you happy? How?
- What do you truly desire if we exclude external factors?
- What outcomes are perfectly satisfying for you?
- What will the achievement of this goal change, and how will it benefit you?
These questions will help the client understand what they truly want, why they want it (motivation increase),and how achieving the goal will improve their lives. So, it will provide clarity and compelling motivation as they will be more aware and informed about their desires and upcoming outcomes.
The current reality is an evaluation process. Basically, the questions aim to help the client and the coach examine the client’s current reality. It also helps to gain more clarity about “now” and see the bigger picture with all the small details in it.
When you analyze the current reality with the client, do not push and confuse them with the questions. Rather, you should be patient, ask open-ended questions and develop dialogue based on the answers.
Some of the must-ask potent questions concerning the current reality field are:
- What is happening in your life right now?
- Do other people or their opinions from your perspective affect your life, decisions, and choices?
- Have you taken any steps towards the achievement of your goal?
- On a scale of 1 to 10 in X area of life, where do you think you are?
- What areas are lacking, and would you want to improve? Why?
- What is stopping you from changing the X thing?
- How can you overcome the X obstacle?
- Why do you think X stops you?
- What have you already done in order to overcome certain dilemmas? Why do you think it worked or did not work?
- What can you do differently?
With this set of questions and more questions like these (you will naturally get those throughout the conversation),the coach will be able to help the client clarify the current situation.
After the goals and current reality are clear, it is time to take a look at what can be done to change it and achieve the desired results. Subsequently, now the client and the coach are going to take a look at the options.
Questions that can be asked, or even must be asked, are:
- What are your options? (Usually for resolving a particular quandary) e.g., What are your options for resolving X situation
- What your next step should be from your perspective?
- How will your next step contribute to the situation?
- Are there any other options or solutions?
- What is the most challenging part of X’s situation?
- Why do you think it is the most challenging part? What can you do about it?
- If your close friend were facing the same situation, what would your advice to them be?
- Have you faced a similar situation before, and what did you do to overcome/resolve it?
- Do you think the same tactic will work for this? If not, then why?
- Can you separate people from the problem?
- What can you do differently?
- What is the most favorable or comforting option to implement right now?
This set of questions aims to stimulate the client’s thinking and helps them to come up with possible solutions. Basically, it assists clients in brainstorming a set of various solutions and subconsciously understanding that the issue is resolvable.
The last section of the GROW coaching model includes questions concerning the future and the way of moving forward.
Questions for “Way forward” can be:
- What are you going to do right now?
- How will that affect the situation?
- On a scale of 1 to 10, where does the effectiveness of your solution stands? Do you think it will work?
- How will it work?
- What can you do to grade it ten and ensure it will work?
- When are you going to start?
- How will you know that you have succeeded?
- What are the three main steps to take to get there?
Top 21 powerful questions to make sessions more effective
Now, I believe it is time to look at the set of other questions that generally will improve the quality and effectiveness of a coaching session.
We will review the questions for various aspects, including what you can ask to start the conversation, what questions will make the conversation friendlier, how to close the conversation, etc.
So, if you are ready, let’s take a look at all of those.
For starting a coaching conversation
In order to ask and implement all the questions from the GROW model, you first of all have to start an actual deep conversation with the client. In order to start and initiate a trustful conversation, you can ask opening questions such as:
- What do you want to discuss today?
- What do you want to focus on today?
- How can I help?
- What do you expect from today’s session?
- Why did you decide to attend coaching sessions?
- What areas of your life would you like to focus on now?
- What is your goal for today’s session?
- Where do you think you are now?
- Where do you want to be by the end of this coaching program?
- What is the goal you desire to achieve the most?
- What is on your mind?
To make the conversation friendlier
After you have initiated a conversation, it is time to make it more friendly. Making conversations friendly will also build up the trust factor. So, let’s take a look at how to do so. Here are some questions that will help you throughout the way:
- Can you tell me more? (shows interest)
- How do you feel? (showcases that the coach genuinely cares about the way the client feels)
- What will make you feel more comfortable? (in the sense of arranging some physical accommodations for the client’s comfort, e.g., turning the light on or off, closing or opening the window, etc.)
- What do you want to talk/focus on next?
- Why does it bother you?
- How can we resolve the X situation?
For closing conversation
Finally, you cannot talk forever as you may have other clients and personal life, so here are questions you can ask to conclude the conversation.
- What did you gain from this session?
- What have you achieved so far throughout the sessions?
- What are you most proud of today?
- What do you think would be useful for me to know for our next session?
Top 15 questions to avoid
Let’s also remember about the “No”s in coaching. Well, there are certain questions you must try to avoid throughout the coaching session for various reasons. And now, we will present the Top 15 in various categories.
The first category concerns the “closed questions.” It is only logical that throughout the session, you should try to avoid close questions and rather ask open-ended ones. Because open-ended questions stimulate thinking and dialogues, closed questions are meant to get “yes” or “no” as an answer.
So, here are some examples of close questions:
- Do you have time for the completion of the X project?
- Are you feeling better today?
- Are you sure that you can take on more upcoming projects?
- Are you unhappy with the situation?
Too many “Why” Questions
Of course, you have to ask Why following up with many answers so that coachee is stimulated to think about the situation in more depth; however, if you overuse “why,” it will only bring up a defense mechanism in the coachee. Why? As they would feel that each of their decisions is being questioned.
The solution here is quite simple. You can paraphrase and reformulate the thought in order to use “what” in the question instead of why. For example:
- Why did you do this?
Can be replaced with:
- What factors contributed to this decision of yours?
Basically - “Rhetorical questions” are your opinions as statements presented in the form of a question. Your client does not need an attitude; they need support, so show your listening skills and avoid rhetorical questions. When you start the session, leave your opinion behind and fully focus on helping the client.
An example of such questions is:
- Don’t you think it is just an excuse?
Basically, these questions are formulated in a negative sense, so the client’s defense mechanisms are again triggered.
Also another type of question that you should avoid at all costs is “Judgmental Questions.” Once again, leave the attitude before starting the coaching session. You are, in a sense, responsible for clients’ healing and goal achievement, so you purely focus on them.
Examples of judgmental questions are:
- Why would you even do that?
- Was it even worth it?
- Why would you ever do such a thing?
- Don’t you think your decision had more drawbacks than benefits at the end of the day?
You can still get answers; just reformulate your question in a way that stimulates the thinking & analytical processes, not defense mechanisms.
These questions are, in a sense, “deadly questions” as they push clients towards overthinking, which can lead to severe consequences. So being aware of those questions and avoiding them is the best thing you can do.
However, the answers to many of the questions you should avoid can be quite insightful; the solution is simple. You have to reformulate the questions and positively ask them rather than be judgmental. That way, you will get better insight into the situation and be able to help the client effectively without ruining the trust factor.
Bonus: Asking questions in online sessions
Ask your questions through online sessions with your client. It is proven that online coaching businesses nowadays are a lot more scalable. Why is that so? Well;
- First of all, you get access to international audiences t=from all over the world.
- Secondly, people prefer online learning due to its flexibility
- Third, it saves time, energy, and resources
So, it is your time to start your online full-featured coaching business. Ask your questions online, and help your clients grow.
With Uteach, you can establish an online coaching business in a matter of minutes. All you need to do is to register, choose a flexible & affordable pricing plan, publish courses, and e-resources, set up live sessions, and start earning.
Plus, it is worth mentioning that Uteach comes in handy with lots of useful integrations and allows you to control every aspect of your business from one single dashboard.
So, if you want to grow your coaching business or start one from scratch, Uteach is for you!