10 good exploration questions that are not “Why” questions

So today I have set myself a challenge — come up with 10 good questions that invite a client to explore a topic or a preferred future that are not backward looking “why” or “root cause” questions. Let’s see what I can come up with!

  1. Hmmmm? (quizzical look inviting the client to say more, when they are talking about what they want and what is important to them)
  2. What difference will this make to your life? (when they are saying what they would like to do)
  3. Who would notice if you… (when they are talking about what they might do)
  4. What would they be noticing about you?
  5. You mentioned … and … are these related in any way? (when they are talking about two things that they want that may hint toward a bigger goal or a richer description of the preferred future)
  6. What else? (of course, that’s a standard)
  7. I’m picking out … and … and theses words seem important — would you like to say more about these?
  8. … and … seem really important to you, are they? (Client: hopefully “yes”) What does it say about you that these things are important to you?
  9. Where did you learn that … is important to you?
  10. Client stating something they want and that is important — you: pause. Repeat those words slowly

Ha! I did it! I came up with 10 — what are yours?

I highly recommend this exercise. Set yourself a coaching related topic (e.g. come up with 10 ways of asking about positive past or client resources, or 10 ways to ask for confidence etc.) and start writing. As I just noticed: this is fun. And 10 is doable.

To collect more and exchange ideas, why not join one of our free coaching meetup and exchanges:


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