<<< Back Posted: November 2017

Sneaky Questions

Is there even a sneakin’ chance that you tend to slip in advice by posing a leading question? If so, it could sound something like this:

I could go on and on.

What often happens next?

(1) They say, “No”, and they are feeling stupid, or
(2) They reply, ‘Yes, and it didn’t work.”

Either way, your question gives many receivers the impression that you think they should undertake the action you are asking about. And, you could run yourself ragged brainstorming solutions to suggest, and all your coachee has to do is say “yes’” or “no”, over and over again.

I have developed a straightforward and empowering three-step method that helps us coaches quickly find out what our coachees have already tried, what they are trying, and what they haven’t tried yet: PAST-PRESENT-FUTURE. It is important to use this technique in chronological order.

Step 1: PAST

"What have you already tried?" (Followed by "What else?" "What else?" "What else?" until you have a complete list.)

Other follow-up questions can include:


"What are you currently doing?" (Followed by "What else?" "What else?" "What else?" until you have a complete list).

Other follow-up questions can include:

Step 3: FUTURE

"What have you not tried yet?" (Followed by "What else?" "What else?" "What else?" until you have a complete list.)

Amazingly, this may get them to share what they haven’t dared to try yet, OR, it can get them to think of things that they haven’t thought of yet. Variations on the theme include:

We coaches need to keep stepping back and letting our coachees do the work on past, current. and future solutions. Let them do the thinking!

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