This is a list I have pulled together from different places on the internet and my own question pool. There is redundancy in here because I have not gone through and edited it. Use this to build your own questions. use this to get an understanding of how to ask questions. Don’t just pull from this list. That’s the lazy way. Learn the methodology. The right question is the one that comes to mind because you are curious and you want to know the answer to it when talking to someone—or when asking yourself questions!
What would you like to have achieved by the end of this session? I ask this (or a version of it) at the beginning of EVERY coaching session. This way both the client and I are clear on what we’re working on – which keeps us on track, and makes sure the client feels like they are getting great value from the coaching!
What’s MISSING in your life right now? This question is deceptively simple – and powerful. We are all so busy these days, keeping it all together… This question often points to unmet needs – and can become a powerful lesson, as we help our clients learn to take responsibility for meeting their own needs…
“What would you like MORE of in your life?” followed by “What would you like LESS of?”
If you could change just ONE thing right now, what would it be? Use when a client feels overwhelmed, or is unable to pick a topic or get focused.
How SPECIFICALLY will you know you’ve completed that action/goal? It may sound like a dull question, but a lack of clarity is the MAIN reason people don’t complete their actions (and goals!). Instead help your clients learn to get specific! Because when we’re super clear it’s easier to get started on actions, see our progress (which feels great) and know when to celebrate!
What’s the FIRST (or easiest) step you could take? Use when dealing with big goals, when a client feels overwhelmed or is getting drowned in details or worrying about the amount of work their goal entails. I usually add “within the next week/month” or “tomorrow” depending on the goal/client.
What do you NOT want me to ask you? Your clients answer to this questions points to an area they are avoiding. Bringing this into the light and tackling it is almost always a powerful moment in our coaching relationship. Ask this playfully!
How does that serve you? As well as looking straight at self-sabotaging behaviour, this question can also be a great lead-in to looking at why they might be sabotaging themselves. People often sabotage when they haven’t fully acknowledged the scary parts of changing, or the benefits of NOT changing.
What is the benefit of staying just as/where you are?
How will you CELEBRATE that? I don’t just ask this about big goals, but also after a challenging action is completed. Celebration is often missed, skipped or rushed over as we move onto the next thing. But without acknowledgement our lives can easily become “one darned thing after another”.
What’s wrong with how you are RIGHT NOW? And where are you ALREADY Awesome? I ask this when clients get fixated on things being better/different at some point in the future (when they’ve achieved X/Y) instead of valuing themselves as they are, NOW. Ask this question gently and earnestly. If you like you can add what you see as their coach, “Because I see a beautiful woman inside and out who cares deeply about X and Y.”
What was your biggest win of the session today? I ask this at the end of EVERY coaching session. It helps the client think about the benefits of coaching, to see where they are learning and growing – and what matters to them. As well as getting to know what matters most to my clients, this question has also helped me really understand why people come to coaching as I see themes across clients over the years.
What must you accomplish in the next 12 months?
What would you like to focus on today?
What’s important to you at the moment?
What are you working on at the moment?
What challenges are you struggling with at the moment?
How can you word that goal more specifically?
How can you measure that goal?
How can you break down that goal into bite-sized pieces?
How can you word this goal using positive language?
What do you want to be doing in five years time?
What’s your ideal future?
Where is your life out of balance?
What is the legacy that you want to leave?
What new skill do you want to learn or develop?
Reality: What’s working well for you at the moment?
What isn’t working well at the moment?
What have you done so far to improve things?
How does this goal impact your spouse/partner?
What’s the excuse that you have always used for not achieving your goals?
What aspects of your life will be impacted by reaching the above goal?
What is the biggest obstacle that you are facing?
What are you afraid of?
What are you passionate about?
What are you willing to endure to see your goal become a reality?
Is that a need or a want?
Where are you sabotaging yourself?
Options: What do you think you should do first?
What would be the most helpful thing that you could do now?
If money wasn’t a restriction for you, what would you do?
If time wasn’t a restriction for you, what would you do?
What would you do if you weren’t answerable to anyone?
What would (enter name of relevant expert) do in this situation?
What do you sense God is telling you to do?
If you were guaranteed to succeed, what would you do?
What’s the best use of your time at the moment?
If you could only do one thing this week, what would it be?
What can you do better than anyone else in your organisation?
What books should you be reading to help you achieve your goals?
If you went to your boss with this problem, what would they suggest?
If you saw someone else in your situation, what would you suggest they do?
If you had 50% more confidence, what would you be doing that would be different?
If you weren’t holding anything back, what would you be doing?
Way Forward: What are you going to do in the next 24 hours?
How committed are you in reaching this goal?
On a scale of 1 to 10, how motivated are you to achieving this goal?
What will it take to turn that 6 into a 9?
Who do you need to speak to about this goal?
How are you going to celebrate reaching your goal?
Whatever your first step is, can you think of anything that might stop you from doing it?
Is there anything else that you need to consider before starting?
What is the aim of this discussion?
What would need to happen for you to walk away feeling that this time was well spent?
If I could grant you a wish for this session, what would it be?
What would you like to happen that is not happening now, or what would you like not to happen that is happening now?
What outcome would you like from this session/discussion/interaction?
Can we do that in the time we have available?
What do you want to achieve long term?
What does success look like?
How much personal control or influence do you have over your goal?
What would be a milestone on the way?
When do you want to achieve it by?
Is that realistic?
Is that positive, challenging, attainable?
Will that be of real value to you?
How will you measure it?
Reality: What is happening now? (what, where, when, who, how much, how often). Be precise if possible.
How do you know that this is accurate?
How have you verified, or would you verify, that that is so?
What other factors are relevant?
Who is involved (directly and indirectly)?
What is their perception?
When things are going badly on this issue, what happens to you?
What happens to the others directly involved?
What is the effect on others?
What have you done about this so far?
What results did that produce?
What is missing in the situation?
What do you have that you’re not using?
What is holding you back?
What is really going on (intuition)?
Options: What could you do to change the situation?
Tell me what possibilities for action you see. Do not worry about whether they are realistic at this stage.
What approach/actions have you seen used, or used yourself, in similar circumstances?
What else could you do?
What if…? (time, power, money, etc.)
Who might be able to help?
Would you like another suggestion from me?
Which options do you like the most?
What are the benefits and costs of each?
Which options are of interest to you?
Would you like to choose an option to act on?
Will: What option or options do you choose?
To what extent does this meet all your objectives?
What are your criteria and measurements for success?
When precisely are you going to start and finish each action step?
What could arise to hinder you in taking these steps?
What personal resistance do you have, if any, to taking these steps?
What will you do to eliminate these external and internal factors?
Who needs to know what your plans are?
What support do you need and from whom?
What will you do to obtain that support and when?
What could I do to support you?
What commitment on a 1-to-10 scale do you have to taking these agreed actions?
What prevents this from being a 10?
What could you do or alter to raise this commitment closer to 10?
Is there anything else you want to talk about now or are we finished?
What would it look like if you were entirely successful?
Follow up: What would you see if you popped into a time machine and there it was?
Why do you want that?
Follow up: Why do you want that?
In six months, if things were going exactly the way you want, what would you see?
What would be your next goal after you achieve your current one?
Follow up: Why?
What would you do if you had unlimited resources?
What is so important to you that you would stand in front of a bus to defend it?
What would be the impact on you (and others) if things don’t change?
What can you accomplish that doesn’t depend on others?
What is your current biggest problem or challenge?
Follow up: If this weren’t a problem, what would be your biggest problem?
What is working well?
What has contributed to your success so far?
Follow up: How might it get in your way?
What might keep you from getting where you want to go?
What obstacles have you faced, what did you do, and what did you learn?
What obstacles do you expect to face? How do you plan to approach them?
What resources do you have access to?
What are your biggest mistakes and what did you learn from them?
If a friend were in your shoes, what advice would you give them?
What is one step you could take right now that would indicate you were moving forward?
Are there any important questions that have not been asked?
I’m curious; may I ask you a few questions?
What’s great about your life this week?
How have you grown this week?
What did you accomplish this week?
Who did you serve?
What did you learn?
Who else will benefit?
What are you grateful for?
Who’s grateful for you?
Is this what you want to be coached on or are you just sharing?
What could you be happy about if you chose to be?
Are you using this to grow or are you beating yourself up?
Does this story empower you or disempower you?
How can you turn this around and have better results next time?
On a scale of 1 – 10 how honest have you been about this, with others?
Do you mind if I offer an observation?
Is this the problem or the solution?
How would you like it to be?
What’s in the way?
What’s stopping you?
What does this mean to you?
Are you focused on what’s wrong or what’s right?
Is that a story or the truth?
How can you find out?
Do you want this for its own sake or are you trying to avoid something else?
Is this giving you energy or draining your energy?
What will really make the biggest difference here?
Is this a limitation or is it a strength?
What’s the benefit of this problem?
Who else is this hurting?
What does your intuition tell you about this?
Do you have a gut feeling about this?
Have you solved problems like this before?
What rules do you have that are getting in the way?
How long have you been thinking about this?
Have you ever experienced something like this before?
If you changed your belief about this, what would be possible?
Is this a decision or a pipe dream?
Which of your core values does this goal express?
Is this goal pulling you forward or are you struggling to reach it?
Will this choice move you forward or keep you stuck?
What’s the first step you need to take to reach your goal?
What’s the worst that can happen, and can you handle that?
What’s the downside of your dream?
What’s stopping you from taking action?
Who wouldn’t like it if you succeeded?
What will you have to give up in order to make room for your goals?
How would your life be transformed if you changed this right now?
If you don’t change this, what will it cost you in the long run?
What’s the most resourceful choice here?
How can you improve this, so it adds value forever?
How can you solve this problem so it never comes back?
Are you acting on faith or fear?
If you weren’t scared, what would you do?
Are you standing in your power or pleasing someone else?
What are you pretending not to know?
How could you have this conversation so it empowers everyone concerned?
What might make the difference that could change everything?
If you approached this with courage, how could your life change?
Are you procrastinating or is there a reason to delay?
What’s the emotional cost vs. the financial cost?
Which step could you take that would make the biggest difference, right now?
How can you get your needs fully met?
If your life were exclusively oriented around your values, what would that be like?
How would you describe the difference between a need and a value?
If you achieve this goal, will it bring lasting fulfillment or temporary pleasure?
Have you thought about the impact you’ll have by creating this?
How can you learn from this problem so it never happens again?
How can you create more value with less effort?
What are you willing to do to improve this situation?
What are you willing to stop doing to improve this situation?
How can you enjoy the process of solving this problem?
Do you mind if I ask a very personal question?
What are you willing to commit to here?
Do you need to work harder or delegate this?
If this weakness were also a strength, what would that be?
How can you use this so it becomes a benefit?
Have you decided to take action or are you just hoping you will?
Are you angry or are you hurt?
Who can help you with this?
Does your current habitat fully support who you’re becoming?
What do you need in order to succeed here?
What plan do you need in order to achieve your new goals?
Are your personal standards high enough to reach your goals?
What will your impact be 100 years from now?
Who do you need to become in order to succeed here?
What are you responsible for here?
Instead of either/or, how could you use both?
Are you approaching this from your head or from your heart?
Is this an assumption or have you checked to be sure?
How can you learn what you need to know about this?
Is this the best outcome you can imagine or is there something greater?
Do you have a detailed strategy to get there?
How will you transform your life with this new knowledge?
What does this accomplishment mean to you?
Why does it matter?
Who did you have to become to achieve it?
What did you learn in the process?
Who else will benefit?
What’s next for you?
How have you changed the world for generations to come?
What is the outcome you’re looking to achieve here?
Can you share the specifics of what’s going on?
What have you tried so far?
How have you handled something like this before? (What was the outcome?)
Why do you think this is happening? (What’s another way to look at this/respond? What else can also be possible/true? What assumptions could you be making here?)
What’s your opinion on how to handle this? (EVERYONE has an opinion. Seek to understand theirs first.) If I wasn’t here, what would you do to achieve/resolve this? If we were to switch roles, how would you handle this? What ideas do you have? What’s another approach that may work (which you haven’t tried yet?)
What’s the first thing you need to do to (resolve/achieve this)? (What would that conversationsound like when you talk with……? TIP: Coach The Message! The Big Miss for managers is stepping over the myriad of opportunities to coach your people on their message, their ‘languaging,’ their communication.)
What resources do you need? (Who else do you think needs to be involved in this? How else can I support you around your efforts to complete this?)
What are you willing to commit to doing/trying/changing (by when)? If you couldn’t use that excuse anymore, how would you move forward?
When would it make sense for us reconnect to ensure you have achieved the result you want?
What is the real challenge for you?
What areas do you want to strengthen, improve, or develop?
What are the three most important things you would like to accomplish right now?
Tell me more about this issue, goal, need.
How is this issue affecting you/others?
In what situations do you need to use this skill/knowledge?
What tells you that you are lacking in this skill/knowledge?
What would the ideal outcome be?
How does this support your/the team’s larger objective?
Why is this issue/goal important?
What are the consequences of not reaching the goal?
What are the consequences of not changing?
Why is this change important?
What have you tried so far?
How is this similar to or different from the way you have approached this in the past?
What worked, what didn’t, what did you learn?
What do you believe you need to do differently?
What if you asked for exactly what you want?
What can you do to expand your thinking?
What would you do if time was not an issue?
What are some options to consider?
And what else? (one of my favorite questions to ask…)
What are the pros and cons of each option?
What resources do you have/need?
What specifically are you going to do next?
When are you going to do it?
What strengths will you draw on to help you?
How can you get the help/resources you need?
What do you need to ensure you move forward?
How can I best support you and hold you accountable for the results you want to achieve?
And my all time favorite when someone doesn’t know the answer…
“If you knew the answer, what would it be?”
You would be amazed how many people now can answer the question well. 90%+Hope this all helps you think of your own questions.