[Blog] The Power of Powerful Questions

blog Jun 17, 2022


by Coach Robin LaGrow Buttler

There is a mind shift that has to take place when one positions themselves as a Life Coach.

Before taking on that role, it’s common to talk to friends and family and hand out your opinion and suggestions as if their success relies on what you have to say. The uncomfortable part takes place when they don’t accept said opinion, and when your suggestions seem to be unappreciated or dismissed. It’s not that you feel educated in every walk of life, or that you consider yourself to be smarter, more logical and more pragmatic than them. It’s not that you’re arrogant and assume that your way is the right way. It’s simply that, if they’re coming to you, that must mean that you have the answer. It works well and brings about a personal satisfaction when you experience those moments of pointing someone in the direction that brings about their achievement and accomplishment.

On the other hand, it’s easy to become weary when you’re always doling out the answers.

The mind shift that takes place for a coach is recognizing the freedom that comes from not always providing the answer, but rather, providing the powerful question.

There is a power behind asking powerful questions. It motivates the one being asked to think beyond their common mindset. It causes them to consider things in a way they haven’t been considered up to this point. Dream Releaser Coaching defines powerful questions this way in Track 1: Coaching Essentials:

Powerful questions are stimulating inquiries that cut through evasion and confusion. By asking powerful questions, the client is then able to reach points of clarity, action, and dis­covery at a whole new level. These are often questions that most people tend to avoid asking themselves. It allows the client to dive deep into evaluating their situation and begin to form their plan to achieve their desired result.

Powerful questions evoke discovery and insight during motivational interviews, and simul­taneously demonstrate that the coach is actively listening and understanding what is being conveyed by the client.

These questions take the weight and responsibility off the shoulders of the coach, and place the opportunity for progress on the mind of the client. Some examples of powerful questions may be:

  1. What risk would you take if you knew you could accomplish what you’re seeking?
  2. What is standing in your way of moving forward in achieving this goal?
  3. What steps will you take to overcome your obstacles?
  4. What is your level of willingness to become unstuck?
  5. What does your life look like once this goal has been met?
  6. What does your life look like if this goal isn’t met?

Getting your client to consider all components of what is holding them back and to identify how to move forward takes place when they’re presented with powerful questions. As they’re asked those powerful questions, they become empowered!

As a coach, make the mind shift. Recognize the freedom that comes from not always providing the answer, but rather, providing the powerful question.

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