One of the marks of masterful coaching is powerful questions. Really great coaches ask questions that are seismic. They cut right to the core and stimulate new thinking and ways of being.
In contrast, a recurring challenge that many of our newer coaches face is the stacking of questions or run-on questions. Turn on any TV news program and you will hear an excellent example of how not to ask questions.
In some cases, run-on questions are simply a bad habit that newer coaches need to unlearn. In most cases though, it’s a confidence issue. They are not confident in their questions, and so they follow up with a 2nd question or elaborate on their question. This frequently leaves the other person wondering which question to answer, or it stops the discovery process.
We suggest to our newer coaches the following:
- Ask one question and STOP. Resist the urge to say more. If they need more information from you they will ask.
- Toss out the idea of the perfect question. The point isn’t to ask perfect questions, but to stimulate divergent thinking and acting.
- The most powerful of questions are the shortest. Here are a few examples: What’s next? Who can help? How else can you view this? What’s past this?
Give these approaches a try and add power to your questions.