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Why you need to Ask the right Coaching Questions

Posted in Category(ies):  Coaching

The ability to ask effective coaching questions is a core skill of a professional manager. So what are the qualities of good coaching questions? How can we create a framework in which an employee can unblock the thinking that is preventing them from reaching their potential and achieving their business goals?

 Asking non-judgemental questions leaves options for the employee to explore in a safe environment. We also need to make our questions clear and succinct. Asking complex questions confuses the employee and they may think they have to answer in a particular way. Short and concise questions on the other hand encourage the employees to really apply themselves to the meeting at hand.

 It is very important that you as a manager ask open-ended questions so that your questions do not elicit a yes or no response. It is equally important to listen carefully to the language your employee uses. Do they say, "I think", "I hear" or "I feel"? Using different language to that of your employee will result in no real connection to what is being asked. However, by changing your language to the language of your employee will increase the likelihood of them connecting with the question.

Open-ended questions are designed to encourage a full, meaningful answer using the employee’s own knowledge and/or feelings. It is the opposite of a closed-ended question, which encourages a short or single-word answer. Open-ended questions also tend to be more objective and less leading than closed-ended questions. Open Often they are not technically a question, but a statement that implicitly asks for a response.

Using open-ended questions as a manager encourage the employee to talk more. They also help to establish rapport, gather information, and increase understanding. They are the opposite of closed-ended questions that typically require a simple brief response such “yes” or “no.” In addition, open-ended questions invites the employee to explore their full potential and creativity. By crafting the right questions we offer more opportunity for the employee to receive the question with the appropriate intent therefore increasng the possibility of a real shift. Timing is critical. So you will have to listen intuititively for the appropriate moment to ask that critical question. So in summary:

Always start your Question with...         

Avoid starting your Question with...







Why? (Avoid using Why as it can put people on the defensive)



Is? / If?





Would? / Could?



“The power to question is the basis of all human progress.”

- Indira Ghandi


Posted on Wednesday, 13 August 2014  |  By Bernie Tracey  |  0 comments

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