The first question you ask in a coaching session to establish the coaching outcome sets the tone for how the client responds. In order to establish the coaching agreement, you need to ask questions that best support the client to gain clarity about what they want to accomplish by the end of the session.
I’ve gathered some typical questions I hear coaches use and grouped into two sets. Which set do you think contains the most effective questions?
What will help us get started?
What’s on your mind?
How can I help you?
What would be valuable to explore today?
What would you like to work on or discuss, that would really make a difference to you?
How would you like to use this time together today?
What would you like to move forward today?
What would you like to accomplish by the end of our session?
The first set of questions aren’t bad questions and some may be relevant to ask. Yet most are open-ended to the point that the client may meander through their thoughts, thereby delaying the client from honing in on what is most important to them to accomplish for this coaching session.
Some coaches may ask a general question from Set #1 and then ask a follow up question from set #2. So you need to determine if it might serve your client to be more direct in the first place with your question. Help the client begin to consider their focus, so you can help them to establish an effective coaching outcome for the session.
What do you think? What questions have you used that have been effective at the beginning of a coaching session? What haven’t?