ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What questions to ask when you are coaching?

Updated on November 24, 2012

Questioning skills

The expression “the answer is in the question” certainly rings true for a coach or if you are coaching someone. If you are primarily conducting supportive coaching, i.e. coaching to elevate performance further (the coachee may already be meeting current performance standards and coaching primarily helps them improve even more), these set of questions will be most useful. However, even if you are doing performance coaching for your staff, asking questions will be more effective in developing their capability to solve problems or handle issues. The natural tendency for a manager is to tell his/her staff what he/she should do or could do, but this is not as effective in building staff capability. Using a questioning approach is far more effective because it gets staff to think and through the process of questioning and seeing how the staff responds, the manager can better understand where the staff might need more development, guidance or more exposure in certain aspects of his/her job.

The typical coaching questions are the Wh questions - Why, What, When, Where and How because they are open questions and encourage the coachee to open up and promote joint exploration and learning.

Why questions could be rephrased as What could be the reasons if Why creates defensiveness ( in certain cultures like Japan, Why is deem to be too confrontational)

Why do you think that happened?

Why do you think they responded that way?


Where does it happen?

Where do you think it went wrong?
Where do you see yourself in..?


What happened? What do you think happened?

What makes you think that?

What did that mean to you?

What did you learn from that?

What was behind that?

What might you do differently?

What was important about that?


How did you think or feel?

How often did …

How would you liked to have handled that?

How have you coped in the past?


When did you realize this?

When did that first occur?

The art of coaching is in asking the right question at the right time –there is a purpose behind every question from the coach. The purpose of the question could be to:

1. Clarify (e.g. when you say… what do you mean? Did that sound right?)

2. Elaborate (e.g. Could you say a bit more about that?)

3. Challenge (e.g. what makes you think this/that? Is that an interpretation or fact?)

4. Confront (e.g. Can you help me understand…You say this.. but on the other hand, you state…)

5. Quantify to provide clarity or sense of progress (e.g. on a scale of 1 to 10, how important is this/ how would you rate yourself?)

As a coach, you would ask different questions depending on the coachee’s response. Coaching is very much a dynamic process, like a dance that takes place between the coach and coachee – the coach dances accordingly in response to the coachee’s steps.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)