Why You're So Lousy at Problem Solving
The Shadow Side of Leadership

25 powerful coaching questionsCoaching is not just for problems. Coaching helps you avoid problems by providing space to think and be more intentional about your goals and actions. And coaching is especially helpful for getting clarity on where you want to go.

Working with a coach gives you:
• Space for self-reflection
• Fresh perspective
• Challenges where your thinking is stuck
• Support for difficulties and new ideas
• Accountability for your plans

Coaches don’t provide answers, they ask great questions. Good coaching questions help you find your own answers.

In this Ted Talk, Bill Gates says, “everyone needs a coach.” 

It is possible to coach yourself.

If your circumstances don’t allow you to hire a coach, it is still possible to benefit from good coaching questions.

You will need a dedicated time for reflection, ideally the same time each week, and a journal. Writing is important because it forces you to slow down and get clear. And it provides a vehicle for accountability.

Or you can buddy up with a friend and coach each other.

You can work your way through this list of coaching questions or choose the ones that best apply. Sometimes one or two will pop out as particularly appropriate. Don’t just choose the easy questions. Choose some that make you uncomfortable or challenge you. And don’t answer them quickly. Take your time to chew on the questions and consider your answers.

My favorite coaching questions

1. What would it look like if you were entirely successful?

2. Follow up: What would you see if you popped into a time machine and there it was?

3. Why do you want that?

4. Follow up: Why do you want that?
5. Follow up: Why do you want that?

6. In six months, if things were going exactly the way you want, what would you see?

7. What would be your next goal after you achieve your current one?

8. Follow up: Why?

9. What would you do if you had unlimited resources?

10. What is so important to you that you would stand in front of a bus to defend it?

11. What would be the impact on you (and others) if things don’t change?

12. What can you accomplish that doesn’t depend on others?

13. What is your current biggest problem or challenge?

14. Follow up: If this weren’t a problem, what would be your biggest problem?

15. What is working well?

16. What has contributed to your success so far?

17. Follow up: How might it get in your way?

18. What might keep you from getting where you want to go?

19. What obstacles have you faced, what did you do, and what did you learn?

20. What obstacles do you expect to face? How do you plan to approach them?

21. What resources do you have access to?

22. What are your biggest mistakes and what did you learn from them?

23. If a friend were in your shoes, what advice would you give them?

24. What is one step you could take right now that would indicate you were moving forward?

25. Are there any important questions that have not been asked?

Which are your favorites? What would you add?


Photo credit: Jesse Stoner | Powerful Coaching Questions
Why You're So Lousy at Problem Solving
The Shadow Side of Leadership

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