Sunday, June 29, 2008

Inquiring Minds Want to Know

Asking questions is the other key skill a coach uses.
The art of inquiry is about discovery. Not only does a coach learn more about their client when they listen to an answer, but the client learns more about who they are. They consider their answer and then articulate what they are thinking and feeling. Obviously, as a coach I'm looking for honest responses from my clients, so how I word my questions is really crucial.

When someone asks me a question it can generate various emotions. Depending on the question, I might feel like I'm being interrogated. A question like "Why did you do that?" may cause me to react with discomfort or defensiveness. Or I might be pleased to answer a question because it allows me to express an opinion or give a statement about how I feel. "What did you think of the movie?" generates that type of emotion.

Other questions may be pretty neutral. Being asked, "What time is it?" doesn't stir up much emotional response for me.

The way we word a question can make all the difference in the world. Our questions greatly determine the direction of the conversation. If someone says to me, "How did you go about making that decision?" or "What thought processes brought you to that decision?" I will no doubt have less anxiety and feel more free to give an answer without fear or embarrassment.

Coaches place great importance on developing their inquiry skills so they can learn as much as possible about their clients. And the client benefits too.

Check out my previous blog entry about the other key skill of a coach....listening.

Photo: PUZZLE IN HAND
© Anatoly Tiplyashin | Dreamstime.com

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