Try these questions:
- What did you learn lately?
- How did you do that?
- How exactly might you use this further in future?
Try these questions:
When we ask questions as coaches, what are we doing? Typically, question-askers appear to be on a fact-finding mission. The question prompts an answer and we have received precisely what we wanted to know. For example, ‘What time does the train leave the station?’ ‘At midday’. Great, I now know what time to be on the platform.
But coaching questions are rarely as simple as that. They invite more than answers. They invite particular ways of thinking. If we ask, ‘When did you last have a good conversation with your colleague?’, we are putting importance on ‘conversation’, suggesting that ‘good’ ones might have special relevance and directing the client’s attention to that area.
When someone asks us what seems like a slightly odd question, we might wonder ‘where are they coming from?’ or in what frame does such a question make sense to the inquirer. That can be both more interesting and more challenging than another possible response, which is to reshape their question into a more familiar one which we can easily answer.
Sometimes coaching will succeed only if your client can get to grips with aspects of their issues that are tricky to put into words. For example, one client was describing her goals, and mentioned a feeling that she said she wanted to experience more often - a feeling of intense connection to the universe.
She'd had this feeling, she recalled, once or twice over the previous few years, but she found it difficult to say more about it.
Getting this feeling described was important, as we shall see. Yet doing so was an intricate process; we were trying to pin down something subtle, elusive and frustratingly ephemeral.
What do you do when you start a follow-up session and you ask in the classic solutions-focused tradition, ‘What’s better?’ and your client replies, ‘Nothing really’?
This was one of the great discussion topics at this year’s Brief summer school, and here are answers that the group of consultants, coaches and therapists came up with ...