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27 Jul, 2010

Kris Robertson shares his Top 5 Coaching Questions

Posted by: The Coaching Academy In: Coach Spotlight|Coaching Academy News|Coaching Articles|Executive Coaching Articles

Kris Robertson, UK’s leading Coach Mentor/Supervisor and Operations Director of The Coaching Academy shares his top 5 Coaching Questions:-

 1.  What else? 

For me probably THE most powerful of questions.  The beauty is both in its simplicity and the suggestion in the question that there IS something else.  Far more powerful than the closed version “Is there anything else?” which I often hear on practical assessment calls.  The difference simply that the ‘What’ prompts the brain to search and find, whereas the ‘Is there’ results in either a ‘Yes’ or a ‘No’, often with very little need for thought.  Repetition of this question yields the best results. 

2.  If you could wave a magic wand? 

A fantastic way to bypass any obstacles the client may have in mind when considering the options available to them.  Great for clients who often edit their options or who struggle thinking of a range of different possible ways to approach their goal. 

3.  Tell me about a time in which you have completed something similar to this before. 

A great question to help the client identify the strategies they have used previously which have been successful from which you can then ask ‘What went well?’, ‘What did you learn as a result of this?’, ‘How might you go about things differently this time?’ etc.  Really useful to help your client identify the evidence that they have that they CAN be successful this time.  Avoid closing this question down by asking ‘Have you ever…?’ 

4.  What will be the impact of things staying the same? 

A challenging question which helps your client consider the implications of not taking any action.  Helping raise their awareness and increase their motivation to take action in order to avoid the consequences of inertia.  Also a useful question to ask as occasionally it helps a client realise that actually, they don’t want the outcome they have suggested enough, or they are content with their current situation.

 5.  What have you learned from this session? 

I always think it is a positive and professional way to end a coaching session with a ‘wisdom-accessing’ question along these lines.  Plus, as an assumptive, it suggests that the client HAS learned something.  For me, it then makes it far easier to finish by asking for a referral or booking my client in for a further package of coaching sessions once they have had an opportunity to talk through the fantastic outcomes they have taken away from the session. 

Happy Coaching!

7 Responses to "Kris Robertson shares his Top 5 Coaching Questions"

1 | Tweets that mention Kris Robertson shares his Top 5 Coaching Questions - Coaching Blog -- Topsy.com

July 27th, 2010 at 7:44 pm

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2 | Mike

July 28th, 2010 at 7:59 am

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I frequently use the following NLP based questions. They are based around the idea that when a decision is made the individual not only has decided to do something – they have also decided not to do something else e.g. if you decide to turn right you have also decided not to turn left.
Sometimes, by exploring what the individual has decided not to do can lead to additional insights and a change or a confirmation of the original decision.
The questions:-
1. What would not happen if you did not ….?
2. What would happen if you did ….?
3. What would not happen if you did ….?
4. What would happen if you did not ….?

The questions tend to make the individual really think about consequences as the questions appear to be asking the same thing until you emphasise the “would” and “not” words

3 | Sarah Fraser

July 29th, 2010 at 1:48 pm

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Hi Kris,

Great questions! I especially like the question “What will be the impact of things staying the same?” It proves particularly effective with clients who tend to be initially motivated by what they don’t want (i.e. ‘move away from’ motivation). I must say I pretty quickly move on to the positive impact that they’ll get if they do change.

Having said this, sometimes there are clients who think they should change, but in fact they’re following somebody elses rules and change isn’t needed, or at least not in the way they’re telling themselves. What can then be required is to look at how the client can become more comfortable and confident in their own skin and learn to follow and have faith in their own path – when that happens, that’s a really beautiful change!

4 | Esther Abwa

July 30th, 2010 at 11:46 pm

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Hi Kris,
Thank you for high’lighting the 5 inspiring questions. I am moved to answer your fifth one with a comment on the third question. For me, identifying previously used strategies have the potential to remind a client of transferrable skills which they might be able to utilise in a new situation.

Faced with a different type of dilemma, people sometimes tend to forget their ability to achieve goals until they are motivated in this way.

5 | Jennifer Hampson

August 3rd, 2010 at 5:51 pm

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Hi Kris,

I especially liked the last question. I usually ask “How useful has this session been for you?” but I think your question is even better because of the direct association with learning and development. The “What else?” question is so important yet unbelievably difficult for ‘trainee coaches/line managers’ to get into the habit of using. “Is there anything else?” comes far more naturally but, as you say, fails to generate as effective a response. Many thanks for your tips.

Jennifer Hampson

6 | Olga Levancuka

August 10th, 2010 at 12:17 pm

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Kris, Thank you for the blog!

I especially forgot such an obvious question as:

“What have you learned from this session?”

Thank you for the reminder,
I shall start using it again.

Olga.

7 | National Occupational Standards in Coaching and Mentoring | The Coaching Academy Blog

August 25th, 2011 at 10:33 am

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[...] Kris Robertson, Operations Director of The Coaching Academy sat on the Steering Group together with his peers at the pinnacle of the Coaching Industry – the aim being to steer the outcome of the project whilst supporting and advising re subsequent deliverables. Kris was joined by Jan Lonnen, Qualifications Manager of The Coaching Academy as part of the Working Group providing detailed input to develop the detail of the NOS and functional map. [...]

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