This now brings me to an interesting topic addressing the 6th competency on Powerful Questioning.
6. Powerful Questioning
Ability to ask questions that reveal the information needed for maximum benefit to the coaching relationship and the client.
- Asks questions that reflect active listening and an understanding of the client’s perspective.
- Asks questions that evoke discovery, insight, commitment or action (e.g., those that challenge the client’s assumptions).
- Asks open-ended questions that create greater clarity, possibility or new learning.
- Asks questions that move the client toward what they desire, not questions that ask for the client to justify or look backward.
Never question another man’s motive. His wisdom, yes, but not his motives.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
As I mentioned earlier, the segue from Active Listening to Powerful Questioning happens beautifully. It is almost as if the Question becomes the Answer for the Client. As a coach that is our jobs. It is to ask those question that stirs the very soul of our clients – to help them to bare it to themselves and in that process craft solutions, come up with different perspectives, think thoughts, conjure ideas – things that resonate with their personalities, styles of learning, unique situations and need of the hour.
Oh how glorious is that question that is the answer! – A. J. Serrao
Finally I want to talk a little bit of Awareness in my quest to show how embracing these ICF competencies in spirit and letter are capable of making us better human beings, better people!
Awareness is the 8th competency
8. Creating Awareness
Ability to integrate and accurately evaluate multiple sources of information and to make interpretations that help the client to gain awareness and thereby achieve agreed-upon results.
- Goes beyond what is said in assessing client’s concerns, not getting hooked by the client’s description.
- Invokes inquiry for greater understanding, awareness, and clarity.
- Identifies for the client his/her underlying concerns; typical and fixed ways of perceiving himself/herself and the world; differences between the facts and the interpretation; and disparities between thoughts, feelings, and action.
- Helps clients to discover for themselves the new thoughts, beliefs, perceptions, emotions, moods, etc. that strengthen their ability to take action and achieve what is important to them.
- Communicates broader perspectives to clients and inspires commitment to shift their viewpoints and find new possibilities for action.
- Helps clients to see the different, interrelated factors that affect them and their behaviors (e.g., thoughts, emotions, body, and background).
- Expresses insights to clients in ways that are useful and meaningful for the client.
- Identifies major strengths vs. major areas for learning and growth, and what is most important to address during coaching.
- Asks the client to distinguish between trivial and significant issues, situational vs. recurring behaviors, when detecting a separation between what is being stated and what is being done.
I want to share a coaching story in which I was coaching a young lady who was struggling with weight issues. She was exercising regularly and eating healthy. It was only when she was upset with something that she would go to the kitchen and pile her plate with food and eat, even at odd hours. I asked her whether she would be prepared to do an observation exercise. I was taking insights from Timothy Gallwey’s “Inner Mind of Golf”. I said that the next time she was upset all she had to do was to observe herself. She could do anything she wanted or was accustomed to, in those circumstances. She agreed to do so.
I got this sms from her the very next day:
Hi John. Good morning.
Did not think I would be put to the test so early.
But just now had to straighten a few things with a nurse who wanted a leave of 10 days. Got upset at what she was saying n after the conversation found myself in the kitchen feeling very hungry.
Suddenly paused n said “anju observe yourself”
I immediately left the kitchen & had a glass of water.
My affirmation for today.
I Am A Strong Girlie, I am going to loose weight & reach my ideal weight in 3 months( February 23).
Most Important I want to be HAPPY.
(The sms is the exact same sms. However the name and some identifying information changed to preserve confidentiality).
Awareness is a wonderful thing. For me personally, being aware of what I eat is in itself sufficient to ensure that I indeed eat healthy. Even when I don’t, I am acutely aware of it. If listening is one side of the coin, I am convinced awareness is the other. They go hand in hand. Awareness certainly makes me a better person.
I am trying awareness exercises including being fully present when I eat or work or play. Frankly I could go on and on espousing how the practice of each of these competencies has the potential to make us better people. I was very humbled to dig into these competencies because I learnt a very important life lesson. Even if my coaching journey perchance does not result in any financial gain, I have still gained immensely as it has made me a better person. I could not have asked for more.
Being a better person should be our primary goal and our constant quest. I believe the rest will follow.
I end my soliloquy with two quotes.
Matthew 6:33 in the Bible says
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
My hope is to leave the world a bit better than when I got here.