The Important Questions

Our world is filled with important questions. We go about our lives asking ourselves and others questions that impact on us and those around us, and those effects will ripple on and on.

So what questions should a coach ask, in order to start the process of making those waves that will have a positive and lasting impact?

Every experienced coach will have one or two questions with which they like to start the coaching conversation. However when you are starting on your coaching journey that first question can be a tough one to form, and sometimes your ideas might raise some doubts in yourself about undertaking this role.

The first question should be something that surprises the coachee, and in that moment or two of surprise they will often say something that comes from a deeper place than if they are answering the kind of question they are expecting.

The key thing in coaching is to hold on to the fact that a question that demands more than a yes or no answer will provide you with information about your coachee, and that information may become useful or important later in the intervention or on another occasion.

You could ask 'What's your favourite colour?' and you will get an answer, which contains information. Follow that trail by asking about the reason for this favouritism, and what associations the client makes with the colour, and more information will flow; about childhood or family, about a place or a time that has strong memory links...

Or ask someone what is important to them...right their life, or their work. Follow that with an enquiry as to why this is important, and you will start to unlock facets of the client's thinking that will help steer the next part of the conversation.

At the beginning of the coaching process, a coachee will often want to think before answering, as they feel that it's somehow a test, and that they don't want to 'fail' at being coached. Asking a question that doesn't challenge them, and isn't what they expect is a great way to get past the gatekeeper of conscious thought and into the real person.

And it is, after all, the real person we want to coach.


Download our FREE BROCHURE

We are Gcologists

Find out more
GC Index.
 Caitlin has made a real difference to my confidence and to the way I approach my business on a day to day basis.
John Baker, Regional Director, The Jockey Club
 It (coaching) unearthed a depth of confidence that I was beginning to question and enabled me to make a significant change within myself and my work.
Luke Joy-Smith, Managing Director - Somerset Social Enterprise
 I connected with my coach on our very first call and I believe that made the whole difference for me. I wish I could dig deeper on some of my remaining issues but unfortunately all good things have to end. I will definitely recommend coaching and have been already doing it for while. It definitely changed my life.
Stephanie Malka, Director NOC Service Engineering – EMEA
 Great to see that there has been a positive outcome from this.
Simon Gosney, Head of Learning and Development
 Tim has provided some high quality coaching support to me through a time of transition both in terms of job, career and organisational changes. He is a skilled and experienced executive coach who facilitated just the right mix of reflection, future visioning, challenge, compassion and stretch. I’d strongly recommend working with him if you are going through a career or organisation transition. Fun to work with, I always left my sessions with him feeling significantly clearer and more content with my overall direction of travel and next steps.
Neil Savage, Director of Organisational Development 2gether NHS Foundation Trust
 “I selected my coach on the basis that she had a completely different approach to my structured way of thinking. Katherine challenged me and took me way out of my comfort zone – scary and uncomfortable at times but eye-opening. These coaching sessions enabled me to see things from a very different perspective, gave me the time and space to reflect on my practice and provided practical tips and approaches as to how I can develop my performance.”
Zenobia Daar, Head of People, Governance & Performance
 Please continue with the programme. For a guy, like Paul, who does not use the word 'fantastic', who then uses must be really good!
Marissa Bartlett, Head of Organisational Development - Mid Sussex District Council
 Everyone learnt a lot about themselves and others. It was the first training in English that one of my mentors had done and it was really successful for him. We have all come away feeling more confident. I have been on many development programmes and I have to say it has been one of the best I have ever attended.
Radka Lankasova, HR Manager, DENSO MANUFACTURING CZECH s. r. o.
 Steve Delivered a professional, relaxed and engaging session. Relevance, interest and clarity of delivering allowed for a very productive outcome.
Andy Castle, VP of Network Operations and Engineering, EMEA
 I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent with Steve. He encouraged me to look at how I view myself and my actions, to actively seek positive outcomes to every day situations. My perception of myself has certainly changed due to my conversations with Steve and I would highly recommend coaching sessions with Unlimited Potential.
Rik Roberts, Team Leader