The transformational factor in coaching

Transformational Questions in Coaching
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Why do we say that coaching can be transformational? As coaches, are we transforming the people we work with? What is actually the transformational factor in a coaching session? Asking the right questions ….

Coaching is a partnership between a client and a coach. Focused on the client’s needs, the coach is asking powerful questions to make the coachee find the answers by himself. 

TRUST is the key in this partnership. The coach trusts the client can find the answers they are looking for. The coachee trusts the coach and his ability to help and transform.

People will say–it is easy to be a coach. It is not …. The humans have the tendency to solution when there is a problem. My first occupation was software engineer. What a talented engineer does is finding solutions!

Now I am practicing my coaching skills and it makes me happy. When someone has a problem, the key is to ask questions that are:

  • Direct
  • Open-ended
  • There is no YES or NO answer
  • Starting with the magical letter “W” such as “Who” “Where” “What” “Why”
  • Related to the client context
  • Transformational
Transformational Questions

Direct questions are powerful because they do not let us make assumptions. Assumptions can be true or false, but as coaches we do not want to take that risk. Making assumptions means asking leading questions . This is not helping the coachee, though…..

Open-ended questions help the client think further. The goal of coaching is to help them find the right answer by themselves. Open-ended questions are helpful, not harmful.

Questions need always connect with what the coachee said before and the context of the conversation. Transformational questions help the client transform. Those are not transactional questions .

Transactional questions are like transactions of data between the client and the coach :

  • They help the coach discover more information about the client
  • They do not help the client move further
  • The coach learns more about the client’s situation and he will have the tendency to solution instead of asking powerful questions

When coaching, we can apply to following simple rules:

  • Ask one question at a time
  • Follow client’s pace
  • Add silences
  • No leading questions
  • We should connect every additional question to what the client says

Here are a few examples you SHOULD NOT follow :

  1. What would happen if you ask your manager to help you?

This question has a solution and direction.

  1. Do you want to do that?

This is a “YES” or “NO” question.

Here are a few examples you SHOULD follow:

  1. “Who can help you with this problem?”
  • Open ended
  • Direct
  • No YES or NO answer
  • NO solution or direction
  • Connected to client’s context
  1. “What might help you with this problem?”
  • Open ended
  • Direct
  • No YES or NO answer
  • NO solution or direction
  • Connected to client’s context

The transformational factor in coaching is the simplest thing in the world. Be an active listener and ask powerful questions.

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About Kalina Terzieva

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