The best questions to ask your coaching clients

awareness coaching evidence based fixed mindset mindset coach personal development Oct 08, 2021

One of the things I say over and over again when teaching other coaches is for them to ASK MORE QUESTIONS⁣!

I’m sure that all HMCC grads can attest to the fact that I’m annoying about this, but I swear I do this for a reason. 

You'll notice that even in my IG captions, I typically end with questions.⁣

That’s because too often, coaches take the "tell you what to do" role and miss out on a crucial opportunity to be a better coach.⁣

The power of asking your clients (good) questions:⁣

By asking your clients good questions, you will not only become a better coach, but your clients will be more successful too! 

 

The benefits of asking your clients good questions:

 

  • Develop a stronger relationship & connection⁣
  • Allow your clients to feel heard⁣
  • Uncover core beliefs⁣
  • Boost independence & autonomy⁣
  • Break through negative thought patterns⁣

This list could go on and on with the benefits, so ask your clients more questions!

So what should you ask your clients?

⁣Now that you understand why it’s important to ask your clients lots of questions let’s dig into what kinds of questions you should ask. 

Exploration

Ask your clients open-ended questions. These questions require more than a yes or no response and can give you valuable insight into their mindset, values, and behaviors. 

 

Questions you can ask:

What allowed that to happen?

When challenges arise, it’s essential to try to get to the bottom of them so you can learn from the situation. 

 

What went well?

Don’t only focus on “fixing” things that go wrong. Determine what went well too!

 

Why do you think that didn’t work?

When something doesn’t go according to plan, taking the time to debrief and determine what to do differently next time is crucial.

Visualization

These are questions that will “play out the script.” For better or for worse.

 

Questions you can ask:

 

How will your life change?

Spending time visualizing the outcome of changed behavior and lifestyle can help provide motivation.

 

What barriers do you predict?

Don’t only visualize the good parts. Prepare for the challenges too!

 

How will you feel differently?

In making decisions or plans, thinking about the feelings involved depending on the chosen route can help your client make the best decision. 

Evaluation

Evaluation questions will determine your client’s readiness to change. 

 

Questions you can ask:

 

Do you really want to change?

I realize that this sounds too basic to work, but people rarely check in with themselves. This question can encourage deeper thought. 

 

On a scale of 1-10, how ready are you to change?

Asking why your client chose a specific number can spark change-based conversations and ideas.

 

Do you think you can change?

This is another basic but extremely important mindset question. Ask this as soon as possible. Don’t wait until you realize that a fixed mindset is the problem. 

Self-determination

These questions will give your clients more autonomy. 

 

Questions you can ask:

 

Can I suggest some ideas?

Instead of rushing to provide your thoughts, check in with your client to see if they want your opinions. 

 

Before I share my thoughts, what do you think about it?

Don’t make this about you! Involve your clients in the goal-setting and planning process. 

 

What do you think we should do?

Enroll clients in making decisions as this will help them start to see how they can do this on their own. 

 

If you're NOT a coach - these questions can still be helpful when having conversations with loved ones, co-workers, employees, etc.!⁣

 

You can also ask yourself these questions. It takes a bit of practice to be mindful and honest with yourself, but it will get easier with time, and you may be surprised at how helpful it is to consider each of the above questions.

Whatever position you’re in, ask away because solid communication skills will never go out of style.