Coaching is all about asking questions. Yep, questions. Simple. Short. Powerful. The right question at the right time will help the person in front of you:
derive better insights from ongoing endeavors
learn and reflect
open up their mind to more and better solutions to problems
When done well, the art of asking questions will take your listening and guiding skills to the next level.
I've recently been gathering information around good coaching techniques and driving people to better outcomes. I felt like I found a gold mine when I read 'The coaching habit - Michael Bungay'. It is concise, fun to read and full of great, yet simple, advice.
The following gathers the main learnings I've been able to put into practice. What do you find most useful you can take to your day to day coaching process?
Ask one question at a time
Cut the intro and ask the question. If you know what question to ask, get to the point and ask it.
Tame the advice monster. Refrain from answering. Your advice is not as good as you think it is
Stay curious, genuinely curious
DON’T ask rhetorical questions
Start your questions with What. Avoid ‘why, how, …’
TERA - Tribe, Expectation, Rank, Autonomy. Keep the conversation safe for the person in front of you
Get comfortable with silence 🤫
‘What do you think I should do about …?’ - Cheddar on the mousetrap. ‘Ah… that’s a great question. I’ve got some ideas, which I’ll share with you. But before I do, what are your first thoughts?
Actually listen to the answer
Acknowledge the answers you get. This isn’t about judging people; it’s about encouraging them!
Use every channel you have at your disposal to ask questions! Written or F2F, the triggers the questions have in the person receiving them are pulled equally.
The kickstart question: What’s on your mind?
The AWE question: And what else? (option generator)
The focus question: What’s the real challenge here for you?
The 1-2-3 combo 😉 A true foundation for your coaching conversations
The foundation question: What do you want? Adult-adult conversation. Opens the door for you to share too
The lazy question: How can I help? It is essential to realize is that regardless of the answer you receive, you have a range of responses available to you
The strategic question: If you are saying Yes to this, what are you saying No to? The heart of every strategy is the eternal balance of things. Boundaries.
The learning question: What was most useful for you? Your job is to create space for those learning moments.
Did you find out something throughout your coaching career that is not present here? Share it!
Fernando BordalloAtlassian Team
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