5 phrases I frequently use when coaching

Good coaching is shaped by one's ability to ask good questions. Effective coaches draw out a client's wisdom and call forth new possibilities.  I track which questions and phrases that I use in coaching situations and note which ones seem to work particularly well. Five of my favorites include:

This statement always leads to new awareness and exploration of options that have not been previously considered. A similar statement I use is 'What else have you considered?"  These statements empower people to be more solution-oriented and to find ways to address ways to address their greatest challenges.  It moves clients beyond choosing the easiest option or one that has been used in the past.

This statement, similar to "tell me more," is great for helping clients clarify plans and add more details to what they've been thinking about. It sheds wisdom on one's assumptions and approaches along with insights about what they're thinking and feeling. This statement provides the backstory behind the situations people are experiencing.

This is a good statement to use when you’re trying to understand the logic behind a client's ideas, thoughts, or actions. It often sheds light on one's values and motivations. It also helps coaches confirm whether or not they are accurately tracking what clients are seeking to communicate.

This phrase is very similar to "help me understand" and I use it to gain greater understanding of a client's decision-making process and the criteria for selecting one option over another.  It's much more effective than asking "Why . . . ?"  Why questions sound accusatory and may result in clients becoming defensive or defending a position that may not be in their best interest.

This phrase forces people to tap into their feelings and see situations from new perspectives. It helps clients name what angers or energizes them, what brings them joy or delight, and help them validate some of the things they are yearning for in life and ministry yet can't adequately describe from a rational perspective.

Question: What other “coaching phrases” have you found helpful? Which phrases would make up your "top five" list?

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Mike Marsh - March 18th, 2021 at 8:02am

Other coaching phrases:

1. How is your life of prayer?

2. What do you believe about _____?

3. Make up a story about _____.

4. What are the benefits/risks of _____?

5. What scares you about _____?

6. What would happen if _____?

7. And then what?

Top five:

1. What other ways might you _____?

2. What does it look/feel like to _____? What would it look/feel like to not _____?

3. What are you learning about yourself?

4. Tell me more about that.

5. What keeps you from _____?

Kate Dalton - March 19th, 2021 at 8:50am

What is preventing you from ....?

What is your struggle?

How does that feel?

What are you hoping for? Tell me about what life looks like when you solve/achieve ...

I don't really have a top 5 list. My approach to coaching is to stay present to the person and respond in the moment rather than trying to pull from a list that I've created. That being said, I'm sure that over time I'll develop patterns and top 5's in my coaching, but right now I'm not finding the idea of question lists to be a good approach for my coaching.

Jessie Bazan - March 22nd, 2021 at 10:27am

Some coaching phrases I've found helpful include:

- Tell me more about ...

- Imagine yourself doing ...

- That seems important to you ...

- I noticed X reaction when you talked about Y ...

Saeed Richardson - March 24th, 2021 at 12:53pm

* Where is your voice in this situation?

* Who has (the most) power in this situation?

* What would you do if you were on the other side of the situation?

* If you had all the time and all the resources what would you do?

* What brings you joy and lifts your soul?

* Where do you

Bill - April 24th, 2021 at 1:36pm

Other coaching phrases.....

1. How do you see God in all of this?

2. What question do you think I should ask you?

3. What is life-giving right now?

4. Where is your heart leading you at this moment?

5. If you had all the power in the world how would your life change?

Carl Horton - April 25th, 2021 at 11:55am

Questions I like:

If you could wave a magic wand, what would you have happen?

One a scale of 1-10, how invested/satisfied/committed are you?

What don't you know that you don't know?

My top 5:

Tell me more?

What is a first step?

What would happen if you did/didn't do that?