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Ask Great Questions



How To Have a Powerful Coaching Session – Step 1: Ask Great Questions


How To Have a Powerful Coaching Session – Step 1: Ask Great Questions

Last week I was at a coffee shop with a few other coaches and the topic of powerful questions came up. Collectively, there were more than 25 years of coaching experience at that little table, and yet, even as experienced coaches, we were all still curious how we can improve our coaching and the results for our clients.

When I left this meeting, I remembered what it was like when I was a new coach. I was secretly worried that someone would want to coach on a topic that “I couldn’t handle” and that I wouldn’t know what to say. I was nervous I would freeze up and not have any idea what to ask to keep the coaching conversation moving forward. I’ve had many of the new coaches that I work with share with me this common concern…….. “what if I run out of questions to ask?”

Here are a few ideas you can use to improve your coaching and ask even more powerful questions and keep your coaching conversations flowing smoothly

What is a powerful question?

  • It’s usually an open-ended question that starts with the words “What” or “How”.
  • It’s a question asked with genuine curiosity.
  • It’s a question that prompts the client to a new perspective, to clarity or to action.
  • It invites the client to expand their thinking, remove blocks and encourage discovery about themselves or their situation. Really, it’s their opening to a new way of thinking.

How To Have a Powerful Coaching Session – Step 1: Ask Great Questions

How do you ask a powerful question?

  1. Listen to what your client is saying and how they say it.
  2. Listen to what is “not being voiced” as well.
  3. Ask yourself, what am I curious about here?
  4. When you identify what you’re curious about. Start with the word “What” then complete the rest of the sentence. It’s as simple as that.
  5. Now wait, the client may need to pause and process before they can respond. It’s a great chance for you to wait patiently and give them the time to figure it out. So often, in normal conversations there’s no space, so we often find ourselves saying after the fact……”Oh! I know what I should have said.”

Please keep in mind, if you are asking a question based on an assumption, or you think you “know” the right answer for the client. It’s not a powerful question. That’s a sign it’s time for you to move back down the assumption ladder, practice some good self-management and listen more deeply.

Remember too, it’s ok if there are quiet spaces during the coaching conversation. You can tell your client, “I’m thinking and deciding what’s the most helpful question at this point.”

When someone asks us a question, our brain automatically wants to search for an answer. Many times no one has ever asked the client that question before and that’s part of the beauty of the coaching process.

So now it’s your turn.  Share your favourite coaching question with me. What makes it powerful??????  Send me an email at

If you like this kind of training and you want more, click here to immediately download a copy of my freebie “The 10 Best Coaching Questions You Can Ask Your Client.”>>>>>>>>>



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