At a recent coaching event, Ron–a highly skilled coach–was telling me about what he feels like when he’s really locked into the coaching zone. “It just flows out of me…I’m really hearing what the other person is saying, bold questions are just jumping out of my mouth, and my clients are coming up with creative and useful action steps throughout the session.”
Every coach has had sessions like the one Ron is describing. I asked him what kicks off a process like this. He didn’t blink “It’s the questions. When I get to the zone, I don’t even know where the questions are coming from.”
That got me wondering about how a coach could internationalize the question asking process so that effortless coaching zone might be more easily achieved. Let’s look at the origination of a bold question.
Most coaching questions come from one of two places. First, there are questions that we ourselves can draw out of our own experience. We might have seen something or experienced something that caused our brains to put an idea out there or follow a mental trail to ask a particular question. If it’s true that how you are in your personal relationships is how you are in your coaching relationships–I believe it is!–a good coach can relay on their own experience to frame a question that serves the client. That also means a coach can ask those questions with integrity and authenticity, which only serves the client and the coaching relationship even more strongly.
The second place questions come from is God. There are always questions that Jesus is asking us to ponder. This one is much harder because often we don’t have any idea what the ready-made answer might be. It might be a rough edge that needs to be filed off, a deeply held calling on which we haven’t acted, or the introduction of a brand new phase of life–personally, professionally or in ministry.
A good strategy for coaches who want to ask the best possible questions is to take a moment in preparing for your session(s) and ask yourself “Which of these areas is the source of the questions I’m feeling compelled to ask?” Be prepared to draw out deeper understanding and listen very closely for the balance of the human-framed question and the God-inspired one. Ron told me that when he’s in his coaching zone he feels like 60-80% of his questions are the God prompted ones. How do you do with balancing these two sources in your coaching? Please add your thoughts in the comments.