by Michael J. Kline, Certified RIM Master and Canfield Success Coach

Coaches know the importance of powerful questions. We know why we ask the questions, but do we always know what to ask and when? Certain questions seem to have a way of opening up issues and answers, of expanding the clients’ hearts and minds and even launching a higher level of curiosity in the coach. As a coach, we owe it to ourselves and our clients to always be building a larger reserve of just such questions.

While coaching is not usually a linear path, there is a certain flow of questions that will help a client get from here to there. As we simplify that flow, we can accomplish four important outcomes.

  1. Simplify your job, from clarifying a situation through finding the resourcing and solutions, to a commitment to action — and the client does all the work.
  2. Reveal underlying emotional issues that drive decisions, behaviors and blocks.
  3. Empower the client to use the same path and to be less reliant on you.
  4. Empower the client to develop their own coaching skills as a leader.

Number 1 above is an easy sell: we all want easier and better outcomes. This is how we are trained, so long as we can keep our ego out of the way. Number 2 can be a little more challenging. Not all coaches are interested in or trained to handle the underlying emotional issues. We don’t need to make it more difficult than it is, and yet there is real value in knowing if there is a hidden block that will prevent success. It is a good idea to uncover this even if you don’t know what to do with it.

Numbers 3 and 4 can generate some resistance if the coach has any fear around the idea of teaching the client to not need a coach or even to become a coach. Scarcity thinking is understandable in a world where it can be difficult to find paying clients in the first place. In reality, the result is the opposite! We need to remember why we love coaching and to stay in an abundance mindset. An abundance mindset comes from a place of knowing that there is always enough for everyone and that we are here to be of service. Our success will be a reflection of the degree to which we are of service to others. Teaching the client simple tools does not diminish your value; in fact it increases it. The client still needs coaching to go to the next level, and they have a greater appreciation for your contribution. Finally, helping any client to become more of a leader with good coaching skills of their own means your work is sending ripple effects which can help to change the world. Remember when you wanted to change the world?

Let’s share our best and most powerful questions with other coaches, with our clients and perhaps most important of all, use them on ourselves.

Michael is the 13th of 14 children born into poverty to an alcoholic father living in junkyard. He lost his mother at age 7 and discovered powerful lessons about resources. His journey from junkyard to country club is proof that anyone can do anything. He became the turn-around president of a franchise company with 35 locations, a six-time successful entrepreneur, a Certified Jack Canfield Success Trainer, and a RIM Master and Success Coach, he works with clients around the world to transform lives and teaches RIM as a transformational tool for coaches.