Adding depth to concepts from the previous posts in this series for coaches, these tips explore the approach to asking questions based on client style, and an easy tool for probing questions.
* Passive or Aggressive:
Some clients (70%) are primarily passive in communication style (also known as indirect or indecisive) and others (30%) are primarily aggressive (direct or decisive) and of course everyone uses both styles at different times. Passive communicators take time to process, so when asking a question, give them space to think quietly. Aggressive communicators often think out loud, so give them space to continue thinking and talking. Tweak the phrasing of the question to the client’s style. When asking about how the client plans to move forward if they are stuck, for a passive communicator, ask “What is your process for thinking this through?” For an aggressive communicator, encourage brainstorming: “Give me various ideas for making it happen.”
* Answer Gives the Next Question:
Often the answer a client gives to one question becomes the basis for the follow-up question. Coaching includes actively listening to a client, and this creates an opportunity to explore further. For example, a client shares their goal of starting a new business. The client might define the type of product or service and some of their initial steps, include an acknowledged need to overcome their fears, and explain some of the steps they have taken. As a coach, ask questions about the planning and implementation – this makes sense. Also ask, “How will you move past your fears?” This demonstrates you are listening to everything they say and when they slip something in that they want to talk about and hesitate to talk about, you open the door by probing and creating the opportunity.
This series of five posts gave insight to types of questions and tips on how to form questions. As a coach, your effective questioning skills enhances your client’s success.
What tips do you have for coaches on asking questions?