Have you ever been asked a question that set off a light bulb in your brain, or pumped up your confidence and hope, or got you out of a funk and on to taking action on what was most important to you?
I’m a big believer in asking powerful questions. After teaching coaching for more than a decade, I’ve noticed that there are four categorical questions that must be asked of the people you coach:
< What If?
< How To?
When you ask these four types of questions, you cover visioning, purpose, fears, and practical action steps. For example:
What? “What Questions” create awareness and take people into the future … into a space of imagining and creating what they really want from life and work. When they are in that imagining/creating space, it’s easier to be optimistic and see solutions. “What questions” might sound like these:
- What would make you super proud of your life?
- What do you want more of in your work? Less of?
- What’s your answer to winning the lotto? After the fun of blowing a few million, what would you spend it on?
Why? “Why Questions” are the proverbial carrot—they remind people of the motivations for their goals and dreams. “Why questions” might sound like this:
- What would that bring you?
- Why would that be fulfilling?
- How would that change your current circumstances?
What If? “What If Questions” get at the root of fears and concerns that cause procrastination, excuses, limiting beliefs, or misguided and inefficient action. “What If Questions” might include:
- What’s the worst that can happen?
- How would you lessen the risk of that happening?
- If not now, when?
- I get the sense you’re thinking, ‘Who am I to do this amazing thing?’ As your advocate, I have to ask, ‘Who are you not to go for it?’
- What’s the payoff for procrastinating?
How? “How Questions” involve processes, steps, timelines, and accountability. They bring structure and support to the client’s action steps. For example:
- What specifically will you do to move closer to your goal?
- What are some other options for making that happen?
- How many ___________ (informational interviews, target companies identified, etc.) would be the right number?
- How will you know you’ve been successful in that step?
- When do you want to be finished with that?
- Who else needs to be involved to make it go smoothly? Or, Whose cooperation do you need in this?
- What will finishing that allow you to do next?
Experiment and have fun with these categorical questions. Try them out with your clients, as well as yourself when working toward your own goals!
Interested in learning more of these types of techniques? Our next Certified Career Management Coach program starts Tuesday, September 18. Don’t miss it!