Powerful questioning is a skill developed over time. It begins with questions that are short, simple, and open-ended. Most often the questions start with the words what or how. The purpose of the questions is for the client to gain awareness and expand their thinking. Powerful questions means incorporating the client’s language in the question and adjusting to the client’s learning style. The questions focus on the future. The coach asks questions for which they do not know the answer and that may be uncomfortable.
If a coach asks questions that are leading or judgmental, then the coach will fail this competency at any level. If the questions keep a client focused in the past or present, then the coach is not using powerful questioning. If the coach fails to ask questions using the client’s language and for their learning style then the coach will not pass the evaluation of this competency. If the coach is unable to move beyond standardized questions, then they will not pass the Powerful questioning.
When learning powerful questioning, it is normal to have standardized questionnaires to the coach-in-training experiences the wording and flow of powerful questions. Then, after practicing with standardized questionnaires, the coach moves beyond and formulates their own short, simple, open questions based on the client and focused on the future. As noted in a previous blog, coaches start with standard questions as a foundation and then learn to formulate powerful questions in the moment that are specific to the client. This moving beyond standard questions is demonstrating powerful questioning competency.