The underperformer you want to turn around. The problem you need to resolve. The tension among coworkers or teammates that desperately needs to be defused. The sale that must be closed. The passion and drive within each person, especially your rookies, which are essential to uncover and leverage. The underperforming veterans who are in a slump and require additional support, gentle encouragement, and a deeper sense of accountability in order to bring out their very best. The candidate who you would love to hire but is considering a position elsewhere.
Whatever the situation, challenge, or solution, the one common denominator and the tool used consistently by the world’s best coaches when approaching any scenario are questions. Not just any questions but powerful, creative, and well-crafted questions delivered at the right time, in the right way, to the right person.
Questions are at the very core of all coaching tools and strategies. Questions are the essence of coaching. Coaches draw their power from questions and questions are where the magic of coaching originates. Questions are where great opportunities are born, new ideas are ignited, self-imposed limitations are exposed, and vast possibilities are discovered.
Paradoxically, questions can very quickly become the prime source of devastation, damage, and disappointment for the manager who misuses or abuses them. Oddly enough, questions can put people on the defensive, make them wrong, come across as accusatory, and keep people drowning in the problem rather than maintaining their focus on the solution. Any of the many barriers to effective coaching or the coaching mistakes I discuss in my book, Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions will prevent you from using these questions in a way that will achieve the positive impact you’re hoping for. The flagrant abuse and misuse of questions can easily create the negative outcome you were trying to avoid.
The use of questions plays a critical role throughout the entire coaching process, during every coaching session, and also throughout daily conversations between you and your staff, as well as with your customers.
In my last blog, “Coaching Questions Managers Use To Get People To Recognize The Cost of Self Sabotaging Behavior,” I received many positive comments from people, thanking them for sharing some very strategic questions that can be used in the specific situation that calls for them. Given how critical it is to use the right coaching question at the right time, I’m devoting an entire week to the Art of Coaching Questions.
Rather than put the questions into a compelling and entertaining story, the following posts will be formatted in a more tactical way so that you can use them immediately, as more of a practical hand book for you to choose the most effective questions at the appropriate times. This Playbook of Coaching Questions is meant to become your tactical reference guide to use daily, as I will be sharing some of the most powerful coaching questions, all of which are broken down by category. This way, you can easily search through and locate the right questions to use depending on the unique circumstances or situations you find yourself in throughout the course of your week.