Have You Heard About The - What? - Coaching Model

This Is Really The Most Important Question You Can Ask. Here's Why.

by Jean-Paul Cortes

What is really behind behavior?

More importantly, how can you help your clients change their behavior? Well, by finding out what may be driving HOW they do things.

Perhaps you've heard that one of the surest ways of gaining insight into someone's personality, behaviors or limiting beliefs is by asking them questions. I'm sure you've asked yourself the who, why, when, where and how?

I'm also sure that if your clients are like most people, you're likely to draw blanks more times than not. These days it's hard to keep track of even the simplest things, let alone trying to come up with answers to complex situations.

It makes much more sense to focus on a specific question, I'll tell you why in a second.

Let me ask you a question first, when you're asked to answer why, how does it make you feel?

If I'm right, do you want to know why you feel that way? Hang on for a second...

When someone asks us why we did something it normally brings up a funny reaction in us humans. You see, we want to be consistent with what we say or think and why tends to make us feel like we should justify ourselves, like we're being judged, and nobody likes that.

What ends up happening is that we tend to cling to our views, blocking our ability to see other perspectives and perhaps limiting our growth.

Something similar happens when we're asked how? On simple problems, this question may be easily answered but rarely is a problem simple and answering this question will likely involve having to come up with different processes, time lines, resources all of which is time consuming and requires a lot of effort.

What is the better question?

  • What is your life vision?
  • If you can get this, just the way you want it, what is the best thing about it?
  • Okay, so what is the first step to take to have that?
  • What will you do by next week?
  • What is the main obstacle that's preventing you from getting this?
  • What would it take to get past this block?
  • If you could freely overcome these obstacles, what would that mean for you?
  • What is your dream-line?
  • What is the number one thing you got out of this session?

Do you catch my drift? When you ask what, you're focusing your client's mind on a single item. One that's not looking for a reason or that's too difficult to answer. It very often provides a simple way to find a solution regardless of what you're answering.

Even if you don't want to entirely base your coaching strategy solely on this question, you certainly want to use it as a valid approach to finding and coaching many issues.

The next time you're looking for a solution, make sure to ask what?

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