Mike Bundrant

Tons of Awesome Questions Life Coaches Can Ask

If you're a life coach, use these questions to supercharge your results with clients.

Coaching Questions that Get Results with Clients

Topic: life coaching questions

As a professional life coach, I’ve decided I give too much information during coaching sessions and don't ask enough questions. The result is the haunting doubt after coaching sessions: What did I miss?

This isn’t a self-criticism and I’m not even sure it’s completely true. Yet, failing to ask great coaching questions could be detrimental to the results you and your coaching clients want.

So, as the lead training at the iNLP Center, I’m taking the opportunity to ask more coaching questions. It’s an experiment.

Here’s how you might proceed if you need some powerful coaching questions to use with your clients to help them discover greater possibilities and get better results from life coaching.

First, I’ll present life coaching questions (based on iNLP Center NLP training) that get specific kinds of results. Then we’ll review some tips to ensure you implement the coaching questions during your sessions.

Outcome Oriented Life Coaching Questions

Outcome-oriented coaching questions help direct the client’s attention toward goals. This is helpful at the beginning of the coaching relationship, as well as during those times when you want to turn attention away from problems and onto solutions.

To help coaching clients get the results they want, you often need to help them discover and specify what they actually want to happen.

Most clients have only vague ideas about the results they seek. Some really have no idea what they want because they spend so much time focusing on their problems. Still others believe it is somehow wrong for them to have their own, individual desires. This is all normal - and asking the right coaching questions is what you’re being paid to do.

Some examples of outcome-oriented coaching questions:

What do you want?

What is your goal?

Instead of (the problem or bad result) what would you rather do/feel/have happen?

Whom do you know that has what you’re looking for? Describe what they have….

If I could wave a magic wand and give you exactly what you want, what would that be?

Mind Expanding, Possibility Questions

Many of us miss solutions due to rigid thinking patterns that limit possibilities. This class of coaching questions, breaks all those mental rules and opens new territory to explore. These kinds of coaching questions often take clients by surprise, which is wonderful. I don’t know. I’ve never thought about that is a common response.

Some coaching questions that open clients to possibilities:

What would happen if you could….?

What would happen if you did…?

Which options have you not considered yet?

What would (someone else) do…?

What would you do if you weren’t (afraid, unmotivated, stuck)?

Why not you?

What do you want to have done when….?

What would a neutral observer suggest to you right now?

What do you know in your heart is the right thing to do?

Problem-Solving Questions

In engineering, there is a saying: A well-defined problem seeks its own solution.

There is nothing wrong with focusing on problems in a productive way, as we all possess a natural desire (connected to the survival instinct) to solve problems.

The question for coaches is, how do you get clients to focus productively on problems, without getting stuck in them? When you can do that, often the problem will begin to resolve itself in your client’s mind, without further intervention.

Here are some coaching questions that focus on productive problem clarification:

What’s the real (root, core, fundamental) problem?

What have you been avoiding?

You’re not (good enough, smart enough) according to whom? (could eliminate self as answer)

You’re angry/upset with whom, specifically? (could eliminate self as answer)

How would you tell me to create this problem if I wanted to create it?

What’s a step-by-step plan for ending up where you are?

What do you think you haven’t realized yet?

What have others been telling you is the problem?

If you were to observe this problem from a distance, what would you see?

How are you creating (or sustaining) this problem?

If I had this problem, what could you tell me about it?

What stops you from (getting what you want)?

Thought-Provoking/Self-Awareness Questions

Sometimes, in order to promote growth and reduce stress, you need to help a client become keenly aware of her internal process. All of us, in general, are largely unaware of how our thoughts and feelings show up and determine our actions. Radically increasing inner self-awareness reveals amazing things!

Examples of thought-provoking self-awareness coaching questions:

When you have this problem, what do you see, hear of feel on the inside?

When you’re making this decision, what do you see, hear and feel that compels you to act?

When you picture this problematic person in your mind’s eye, how do you see him?

If some part of you were working against you, what would it be doing?

If your behaviors revealed some hidden desire, what would that be?

If your behaviors revealed what’s most important to you, what would that be?

If your behaviors revealed a limiting belief, what would that be?

What triggers this behavior, specifically?

How do you really feel when (this or that happens)?

Action-Oriented Coaching Questions

You can ask questions that presuppose taking action. When you want to both get a client thinking ahead and encourage them to actually move ahead, ask these kinds of coaching questions:

What’s your first/next step?

How are you going to move ahead productively at this point?

What are you going to do about it?

How can you break this down into manageable tasks?

What will happen if you don’t do (this or that)?

How will you feel when you’ve done (this or that)?

If you were to look back from the future, after you’ve succeeded, what were the most important things you did?

And there you go! Life coaching questions...use them!

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