The main activities in a coaching session include the coach listening and the coach asking questions. The International Coaches Federation (ICF) includes these skills within the category of Communicating Effectively. The language of a question often creates focus for answering the question. In coaching the ideal is open thinking and exploring; questioning is designed to be open.
Powerful Questioning empowers the client to consider new perspectives, different approaches, and unique possibilities. Well-trained coaches ask questions that are open rather than closed, that clarify rather than interpret, that are advice-free rather than leading, and that are probing rather than attacking. Effective coach training programs explore the differences of these approaches in questioning to develop the skill of powerful questioning.
Simple tips for coaches to ask powerful questions include:
* Keep it short and simple
* Focus forward
* Be open to possibilities
* Adjust the style to the client
* Ask follow-up questions based on the client’s answer
When in a good coach training program, coaches practice coaching and receive guidance as to what questions to ask, how to word them, and what order of the questions is most effective. Coaches learn about types of questions and practice asking effective questions when training so that their clients are empowered to discover new possibilities.