Use questions to evoke new awareness and facilitate growth

Too often we exchange small talk without really engaging one another.  I invite you try the questions here with some friends or strangers, and see what happens. You may be pleasantly surprised. Feel free to  go off on tangents. Allow yourself to let down. your guard, be a little vulnerable, and to give voice some of those dangerous questions that you usually hold back.  May these questions help reveal what matters most to you, and  open new paths to intimacy and understanding. Life can be juicy and engaging when we’re grappling with issues we really care about.  

May your responses push you beyond a simple “yes” or “no.” Probe and explain your responses. Look into your heart, be honest and brave, and let your mind really play with the difficult choices you find. If you do, these questions will lead you into some intriguing, unexpected, rewarding, even life-changing discussions and explorations.  use these questions  as a point of departure, not a destination. The more you engage with them, and invited others to do the same. As you explore and challenge your values and those of your friends, you may find  that questioning can be more than an entertaining pastime: It can become a way of life!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       - Jim LaDoux

100 Powerful Coaching Questions

- Rev. Dr. Felix Villanueva
Spiritual or Faith-based Questions
  • In what ways has God been generous to you?
  • How have you experienced God's abundant love today?
  • What's the most wonderful thing about God?
  • What is God inviting you to be a part of today?
  • Where is God in all of this?
  • What is God’s dream for your life?
  • What would life be like without anger?
  • Who can you forgive today?
  • When was God most real to you today?
  • When are you most aware of God’s amazing love for you?
  • What keeps you from experiencing God’s amazing love for you?
  • What is God’s deepest desire for you?
  • What part of God's responsibility are you feeling responsible for?
  • What are the signs that your church is headed in the wrong direction?
  • What's God already doing that you can join?
  • What would the heroes of our faith say to us about our big picture?
  • What is God's invitation to you, right now, today?
  • What are you learning about God on this journey?
  • What's the leap of faith you need to take?
  • What are the best ways for you to experience the sacred each day?

Current Reality Questions
  • What is happening now (what. who, when, and how often)?
  • What is the effect or result of this?
  • Have you already taken any steps towards your goal?
  • How would you describe what you did?
  • Where are you now in relation to your goal?
  • On a scale of one to 10, where are you?
  • What has contributed to your success so far?
  • What progress have you made so far?
  • What is working well right now?
  • What is required of you?
  • Why haven't you reached that goal already?
  • What's your definition of the big picture?
  • In what ways are you playing too small right now?
  • What's possible?
  • What are you not seeing, and who can help you see bigger?
  • What needs more attention, right now, today?
  • What needs less attention, right now, today?
  • What is most important for you to tackle today?
  • What are you pretending not to know?
  • When has worrying paid off for you?

What’s Next Questions
  • How are going to go about it?
  • What do you think you need to do right now?
  • Tell me how you're going to do that.
  • How will you know when you have done it?
  • Is there anything else you can do?
  • On a scale of one to 10, what is the likelihood of your plan succeeding?
  • What would it take to make it a 10?
  • What obstacles are getting in the way of success?
  • What roadblocks do you expect or require planning?
  • What resources can help you?
Goal-oriented Questions
  • What do you want to achieve from this coaching session?
  • What goal do you want to achieve?
  • What would you like to happen with ?
  • What do you really want?
  • What would you like to accomplish?
  • What result are you trying to achieve?
  • What outcome would be ideal?
  • What do you want to change?
  • Why are you hoping to achieve this goal?
  • What would the benefits be if you achieved this goal?
  • If you had a magic wand and could make things happen, what would you like to see?
  • What is your dream?
  • What would happen if you could achieve your dream?
  • What would your life look like if you accomplished your goal?
  • What is your superpower?
  • What is your kryptonite?
  • What is your big picture?
  • What is it that you don’t know you don’t know?
  • What’s really possible?
  • How well do you deal with uncertainty?

Options Questions
  • What are your options?
  • What do you think you need to do next?
  • What could be your first step?
  • What do you think you need to do to get a better result (or closer to your goal)?
  • What else could you do?
  • Who else might be able to help?
  • What would happen if you did nothing?
  • What has worked for you already? How could you do more of that?
  • What would happen if you did that?
  • What is the hardest/most challenging part of that for you?
  • What advice would you give to a friend about that?
  • What would you gain/lose by doing/saying that?
  • If someone did/said that to you what do you think would happen?
  • What's the best/worst thing about that option?
  • Which option do you feel ready to act on?
  • How have you tackled this/a similar situation before?
  • What could you do differently?
  • Who do you know who has encountered a similar situation?
  • If anything was possible, what would you do?
  • Say more...

What’s Next Questions
  • What is missing?
  • What will one small step you take now?
  • When are you going to start?
  • How will you know if you have been successful?
  • What support do you need to get that done?
  • What will happen(or, what is the cost) of you NOT doing this?
  • What do you need from me/others to help you achieve this?
  • What are three actions you can take that would make sense this week?
  • On a scale of one to10, how committed/motivated are you to doing it?
  • What would it take to make it a 10?

Learn about your clients & their  dreams

Questions for Initial Sessions

  • "So, how have you been?" (Great open-ended question to drill down from)
  • "What would a home run in your life look like this week?" (Make a list)
  • "What's been working for you since our last conversation?"
  • "What hasn't been working for you?"
  • "What do you need most from me today?"
  • "So, what have been your 'highlights' since our last session?" "And your 'lowlights'?" 
  • "I'm curious, how do you think I can help you this week?"

  • "What, if you got it finished this week, would make you jump for joy?"
  • "What is the biggest change you are willing to make today?"
  • "What would you love to have happen by the end of this session?"
  • "What would you most like to get out of the next 30/45/60 minutes?"
  • "What would be the most helpful thing for you to take away from this session?"
  • "What if you worked on it right NOW, would REALLY put a smile on your face?"
  • "Imagine you've just had an ideal week. What 3 things did you complete?"
  • "What could we work on that would help you the most over the next few weeks?"
  • "What would you be disappointed we didn't work on today?"

  • "Tell me about yourself..."
  • "What specific goals would you like to meet by working with a coach?"
  • "What have you already done towards your goals?"
  • "How will we evaluate the success of the coaching at the end?"
  • "What kind of coach would you like me to be for you?"
  • "What are you expecting from the coaching?"
  • "What do you need most from me during our coaching?"
  • "What is the one thing I should not do/say to you?"
  • "What is the most exciting part of working with a coach?"
  • "What is the scariest part of working with a coach?"
  • "What is the biggest change you are willing to make today?"
  • "What is one thing you will do immediately after our session today?"

Questions about WHO you're coaching

  • What comes naturally for you?
  • What do others say that you are good at?
  • What do you do better than most people?
  • In what ways are your strengths being used in ministry?

  • Where were you born?
  • What were some of your family traditions and faith traditions or practices?
  • Where did you go to school?
  • Briefly describe your faith journey. How did you end up here (church, city, workplace)?

  • What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
  • What activities give you the greatest sense of satisfaction?
  • What attracted you to your place of employment?
  • What aspects of your job are life-giving for you?
  • What do you do and where do you go to get your batteries recharged?

  • Who has had a significant influence on your life?
  • To whom do you go to for advice?
  • Who are your “cheerleaders” in life? Who challenges you in your faith journey?
  • Do you have any spiritual role models? If so, who are they?
  • In what settings have you had the greatest impact on others?

  • What do you consider to be key turning points in your life?
  • What life situations have caused the greatest growth for you?
  • If you could live your life over, what would you do differently? Do more? Do less?
  • How would you describe your current prayer life?

  • What are some of your personal hopes and longings?
  • How do you see yourself partnering with God to fulfill your congregation’s vision?
  • Do you have a personal and professional development plan?
  • What are some of your dreams for this congregation?
  • Five years from now, what would you like others to say about your ministry?

               Use questions to reflect between sessions

  • How can I pamper myself today?
  • What am I grateful for?
  • Can I make someone smile this morning? Who?
  • What will recharge my batteries?
  • What is fun?
  • How can I have this be easy?
  • Who can I get to play with me on this project?
  • What is grace/serenity?
  • What makes me laugh?
  • Do I choose heavy or do I choose light?
  • Since I am going to do this anyway, do I choose to have it be neutral, hard, or fun? 
  • What can I do to my physical environment to have it nurture/relax/empower me? 
  • What is fulfilling, what feels good, and so what?
  • What is pleasure?
  • What acknowledgment can I give myself today?
  • What is kindness?
  • What is it to go softly into life?
  • What is abundance?
  • How can I have this be playful and light?
  • How can I double my vitality?
  • What should I give myself permission to do today?
  • When will I take a break today?
  • What thrills me?
  • What is it to be awed?
  • What is it to be generous with myself?
  • What is it to be gentle with myself?
  • What am I grateful for today?
  • What is it to be compassionate?
  • What do I regret/resent?
  • What am I unwilling to change?
  • Where might I be in denial?
  • What am I overlooking?
  • Where am I slowing down?
  • What is the decision I have been avoiding? 
  • Where do I stop short?
  • What is a big enough game?
  • What have I wanted to do and haven’t?
  • What keeps me from winning?
  • Where have I denied myself/others?
  • Why bother?
  • What am I being right about?
  • What complaint/fear/bad habit/discomfort can I do something about today?
  • Where am I asleep at the wheel?
  • What am I settling for?
  • What will this goal get me?
  • What am I overlooking?
  • How do I sabotage myself?
  • What is it to transcend my sense of failure/sense of resignation/feelings of “I can’t”?
  • Where am I selling out on myself?
  • What am I willing/unwilling to change?
  • What am I stepping over?
  • What is my reputation?
  • What do I expect of myself?
  • What is grace/enthusiasm/prosperity/abundance?
  • What is it to be proactive?
  • What is it to be centered/optimistic/non-attached
  • What is the one thing I could do to drastically reduce worry?
  • What needs more attention, right now, today?
  • What needs less attention, right now, today?
  • How do you silence your negative emotions?
  • What would make today special for you?
  • What is your relationship with money? Time? Relatives?
  • What is going well for you right now?
  • Where and when are you playing it safe?
  • What myth about yourself are you trying to keep alive?
  • How well do I deal with uncertainty?
  • What do you really believe about asking for help?
  • What is most important for you to tackle today?
  • Who makes me jealous? Why?
  • What are you learning about love?
  • What’s the most challenging part of love for you?
  • What’s a question that I need to be asking myself this month?
  • What needs my immediate attention this month?
  • If success was a certainty, what next steps would you take?
  • What’s the inner tape yo play when you find it hard to say “no?”
  • In a nutshell, what’s the main issue?
  • What action could you take to get rid of your negative inner tapers permanently?
  • What are you not doing that you really need to be doing?
  • What is the actual problem?
  • What gets in the way of you doing and bring your best?
  • If my whole attention is focused on producing the result, what will I have to give up?
  • Why am I taking this action?
  • What is it to be fluid/flexible?
  • What is completion? Where am I incomplete?

Use questions to help design one's life

Your History
  • Describe your three greatest accomplishments to date. What made these accomplishments stand out for you?
  • What have you incorporated into your current actions from your past accomplishments?
  • How could you use what you’ve learned from these accomplishments to assist you in making future changes?
  • What major transitions have you had in the past two years? (For example, new assignment, new residence, new relationship, etc.)
  • If you worked with a coach before or a similar one-on-one adult relationship (for example, a tennis coach, piano teacher, therapist) what worked well for you?
  • If you have worked with a coach, and you are not currently, how did that relationship end?

Your Potential
  • What is your personal and/or professional vision?
  • What would you like to contribute to the world
  • What are you most wanting to achieve in the next three years?
  • What are you most wanting to achieve in the next six months?
  • How ready are you to go for it?

Your Life
  • Who are or have been your major role models?
  • What attributes of these role models do you admire and want to emulate?
  • What are the five most positive things in your life?
  • What are five things you would like to change in your life that would make it even more satisfying, effective, and joyful? (Examples include relationships, information, environment, job.)
  • Who are the key supportive people in your life, and what do they provide for you?On a scale of 1 to 10 (1being least effective and 10 being most effective), rate the quality of your life.
  • By what criteria did you rate yourself
  • What percentage of the life you are leading is actually YOUR life?

Your Self Today
  • List five adjectives that describe you at your best. 
  • What prevents you from being at your best?
  • What energizes you? What saps your energy?
  • What are you learning and accepting about yourself at present?
  • In what ways do you currently spend time, that if you were to spend it differently, would yield greater happiness and achievement?
  • What do you consume now, that if you didn’t, would allow you to be healthier?
  • Could therapy effectively resolve some issue in your life now?

25 questions to ask a mentor

Ask your mentor to tell a STORY.
  • How did you land your current role?
  • Think back to five years ago.
    Did you envision this is where you would be?
  • Can you tell me about a time when you had a difficult boss? How did you handle it?
  • How did you learn to embrace failure?
  • What’s the most important leadership lesson you’ve learned and how is it valuable?
  • Tell me about a recent setback and how you recovered?
  • Was there ever a job position that you applied for and got, but you weren’t 100% qualified?
  • How did you build the skill of always speaking so engagingly in front of others?

Ask your mentor for ADVICE 
  • How do you approach risk-taking?
  • What new skills do I need to move ahead?
  • How can I become a more assertive negotiator?
  • How can I become better at managing people who do not report to me?
Ask your mentor to be a SOUNDING BOARD
  • I’m considering a career transition. What do you see as the pros and cons?
  • Who are the people I need to align within this organization to achieve success?
  • What advice can you offer on how to progress in my career?
  • How do you successfully stay connected to key influencers who do not work in same
    office or geographical area?
  • When trying to gain buy-in to implement a new program, what tactics have worked
    for you?

Ask a mentor for FEEDBACK
  • Where do you see my strengths and what should I focus on to improve?
  • What do you see as some of my blind spots? 
  • How do you think others perceive me?
  • How I am viewed by leadership?
  • Do I come across as poised and calm?
  • How am I viewed (i.e., what’s my personal brand) in our organization?
  • Did everyone understand what I presented at the last meeting?
  • How could I have communicated my idea more clearly?

Coaching questions submitted by students

Miscellaneous Questions

RELATING  Questions:
• How are you doing? How is it with your soul?
• What spiritual practices are supporting your life right now?

• What have you been learning about yourself and others?
• What’s working or not working? What do you think are the contributing factors?

QUESTION 1:  What would you like to talk about today?
• What seems most important to focus on right now?
• What is happening now (what, who, when, how often)?
• What assumptions are guiding your interpretation of this issue?
• Where are your energy and emotions around this issue? Is fear part of this story?
• Do you need more information?

QUESTION 2:  What would you like to take away from our session?
• What are your goals/steps for the next 30 days?
• What’s the ideal, in your mind?
• What are some possible ways to get there?
• Where do you anticipate you might get stuck or experience resistance?
• What would be the simplest way to do this?

QUESTION 3:  Are we still talking about what matters most to you?
• On a scale of 1-10, how important is this issue to you?
• What is motivating you to work on this issue?

QUESTION 4:  What will you say or do (this week) to act on your intentions?
• What are your options? Which option do you feel ready to act on?
• What takes priority for you?
• What changes might be being called forth in you? in others?
• How might your response to this issue play to your strengths?
• What would happen if you did nothing?
• What roadblocks do you foresee? How will you work with them?
• How and when will you take some time to reflect back on this week?

QUESTION 5:  Who can support your next steps?  Who will hold you accountable?
• Among the people you know, who would be a good support or resource for this particular issue?
• Does some of this work need to be delegated to someone else?

QUESTION 6:  Resource and Wrap-up
• What did we accomplish today? Are we still on track with your dreams and goals?
• What was the most/least helpful part of this conversation for you?
• Prayer concerns?
• When will we meet again?

Top 10 Questions for Leaders
  • What do you want to be able to say three years from now that you can’t say today (about yourself or your organization)?
  • What are the possible next steps?
  • Who can help you with this?
  • What's the truth about now?
  • How do you handle failure?
  • What do you model?
  • How much of a people pleaser are you?
  • What do you need to say goodbye to in order to move forward?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10 how committed are you to taking action? (1 = no commitment, lO=high commitment)
  • What's the payoff of not taking action?

Top 10 Year· end Questions for You or Your Team
  • What have you accomplished this year?
  • What have you learned this year? What skills did you pick up?  What lessons did you learn?
  • What got in your way? Where will your work be next year? 
  • Who contributed to your success? 
  • What can you do to recognize these members of your personal or professional team?
  • What mistakes did you make, and what did you learn from them?
  • How was your work consistent with your values?
  • Where did you not take responsibility? 
  • How did your performance rate? 
  • What do you need to let go of? 
  • What was missing for you this year? How can you address what's missing next year?

Miscellaneous Questions
  • What is motivating you?
  • What has you hooked?
  • What is missing here?
  • What does that remind you of?
  • What do you suggest?
  • What is underneath that?
  • What part of what I said was useful? And how so?
  • What is this person contributing to the quality of your life?
  • What is it that you are denying yourself right now?
  • What do you need to put in place to accomplish this?
  • What is the simplest solution here?
  • What would help you know I support this/you completely?
  • What happened?
  • What are you avoiding?
  • What is the worst that could happen?
  • What are you committed to?
  • What is your vision for yourself and the people around you?
  • What don't you want?
  • What if you knew?
  • What's your heart telling you? What are you willing to give up?
  • What might you have done differently?
  • What are you not facing?
  • What does this feeling remind you of?
  • What would you do differently if this problem were solved?
  • What does your soul say?
  • What do you need to say goodbye to in order to move forward?
  • What's the payoff for you of not dealing with this issue?
  • Are things as bad as you say they are or are they worse?
  • At what point when you say "yes" are you really feeling "no"?
  • What is the decision you are avoiding?
  • What are you pretending not to know?
  • What are ten things I absolutely need to know about you?
  • What are you NOT saying? What are you holding back?
  • Are you pursuing a goal that no longer makes sense?
  • What internal rules and unspoken standards are having a negative impact?
  • What do you really, really, really, REALLY want?

Concise, Concrete Questions

  • What's next?
  • What do you want?
  • What are you afraid of?
  • What is this costing you?
  • What are you attached to?
  • What is the dream?
  • What is the essence of the dream?
  • What is beyond this problem?
  • What is ahead?
  • What are you building towards?
  • What has to happen for you to feel successful?
  • What gift are you not being responsible for?
  • What are your healthy sources of energy?
  • What's stopping you?
  • What's in your way?
  • What would make the biggest difference here?
  • What are you going to do?
  • What do you like to do?
  • What can you do to be happy right now?
  • What do you hope to accomplish by having that conversation?
  • What do you hope to accomplish by doing that?
  • What's the first step?
  • What would it be like to have excitement and fear at the same time?
  • What's important about that?
  • What would it take for you to treat yourself like your best client?
  • What benefit/payoff is there in the present situation?
  • What do you expect to have happen?
  • What's the ideal?
  • What's the ideal outcome?
  • What would it look like?
  • What's the truth about this situation?
  • What's the right action?
  • What are you going to do?
  • What's working for you?
  • What would you do differently?
  • What decision would you make from a place of abundance?
  • What other choices do you have?
  • What do you really, really want?
  • What if there were no limits?
  • What aren't you telling me that's keeping me from coaching/helping you?
  • What haven't I asked that I should ask?
  • What needs to be said that has not been said?
  • What are you not saying?
  • What else do you have to say about that?
  • What is left to do to have this be complete?
  • What do you have invested in continuing to do it this way?
  • What is that?
  • What comes first?
  • What consequence are you avoiding?
  • What is the value you received from this meeting/conversation?
  • What do you want to be able to say about yourself three months from now? One year from now? Three years from now?
  • What is holding you back? What keeps getting in the way?
  • What is one simple thing you could do today to get you closer to your goal? (Right now! Today!)
  • What is your biggest, wildest dream?
  • What keeps you up at night? What do you find yourself continually thinking about when you're in the shower?
  • What has motivated you in the past to reach/achieve difficult goals, make important decisions, or do challenging things
  • How do your past learnings, successes, and challenges inform your next steps?
  • Who can help you with this?
  • What are you tolerating?
  • What has served you in the past? Is it still in effect now?
  • What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail?
  • What part of this goal is yours? What belongs to someone else? What if the goal was all yours?
  • How can I best support you? What do you need most from me?
  • What are you grateful for?
  • What makes your heart sing?
  • What's missing?
  • What do you have to do differently to make this happen?
  • What do you need to put in place to make this happen?
  • When you attain your goal, what will it look like?
  • Who do you know that is already doing this well?
  • What will be the signs that it's time to begin?
  • How will you know that you have succeeded?
  • How will you know when you arrive?
  • What about yourself-do you need to change?
  • What is one thing you need to focus on to get where you want to go?
  • Could you be mistaken? How could you check this out?
  • Does this align with your vision and goals?
  • What is one thing you feel really good about over this past week?
  • What one thing would make the biggest difference right now?
  • What's your belief about this situation?
  • What would you like more of? Less of?
  • What is true about this situation?
  • What are the effects of this on you?
  • What steps would move this forward?
  • How attached are you to the outcome?
  • What is the "should" in this situation?
  • Is this the time to begin?
  • What is the truth about this situation?
  • What is the path of least resistance?
  • Is there another way? Let's brainstorm five to ten other possibilities.
  • What is this costing you?
  • Can you see what is beyond this problem?
  • Can you see what's ahead?
  • Are you open to a completely different way of looking at this?
  • What are your actions saying about this situation?
  • What will happen if you keep doing this for the next ten years?
  • Underneath all of this, what are you really committed to?
  • What is the legacy that you want to leave behind?
  • May I push you on this?
  • So, what's possible here?
  • What opportunities are you not taking advantage of?
  • Who's really in charge here?
  • What are five changes or actions that you can take in the next 30 days that will move you forward?
  • What are you willing to do to make this work?
  • What consumes your time, to the point that it distracts you from attaining your goals?
  • What are you afraid of about this situation?
  • What is the worst that could happen? And if that happened, what’s the worst that could happen after that?
  • What is the best that could happen?

Ask questions to help clients move forward, faster