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Coaching Podcast: Asking Questions that Move the Dial

Asking powerful questions the move the dial takes skills. Here's how to start, with powerful questions taken directly from the science of positive psychology.

The Catalyst Life Coaching Podcast, featuring JRNI Coaching founders John Kim and Noelle Cordeaux is a deep dive into the experience and business of being a life coach. In this episode of the Catalyst Life Coaching Podcast, we discuss burnout and stress. Subscribe to get all our episodes!

Every coach has their own core strength. But if there’s one thing common in good coaches, it is that they know what questions to ask. They know when to ask these questions. They know what questions help move the dial. The art of asking questions is something to be honed. Mastered. And with the help of a good coaching program, it will be easier for new coaches like you to develop your own skills and coaching techniques.

Asking Powerful Questions is What Life Coaching is About

One of the most common misconceptions about life coaching is that it’s about giving advice. It’s not. Life coach, business coach, mindset coach, any other type of coach - it’s not about giving advice. It’s not about saying “okay, do this and this and that and your life will be perfect. Your problems will be solved.” Coaching is client led and client directed and it's much more about asking.

And not just asking anything. It’s about asking powerful questions. The kind that makes people think and wonder. The kind that makes people reassess aspects of their lives, imagine new possibilities and confront their own limitations. These are the questions that move the dial. And good coaches know how to ask these without being insensitive. It’s a question-based discipline that helps clients uncover answers on their own.

The Art of Listening For Rather Than Listening To

There’s a big difference between listening for something and listening to someone. And this is something taught in quality coaching programs. Listening to someone is hearing what they say. Listening for something or someone is a different animal.

The latter means you’re listening for emotions and for sub-context. You don’t just focus on the words but you go deeper. You pay attention to the emotions, to how your client shares it. You’re considering your client as a whole person and you’re pulling on genuine curiosity and a genuine desire to really understand the situation at hand. This type of listening is an art form and can be one of the best assets of every coach.

How to Listen For Something

But how do you actually ‘listen for something?’ As mentioned, it starts with genuine curiosity. When talking to you, when in session, clients are dumping out their life legos. Their hopes, dreams, frustrations, everything. And as a coach, it is your job to deeply listen to them and really understand who they are, what they need, what they want, and where they’re going. This will help you formulate questions that will break through everyday life.

Moving the Dial Doesn’t Happen Overnight

Just because you asked the right questions doesn’t mean your client will have massive life changes overnight. Moving the dial is a slow but rewarding process. It takes patience as a lot of back and forth will probably happen. Clients have their own way of dealing with powerful questions that force them to rethink their lives and ask more questions of themselves as well. Some go with it, others don’t. And when they don’t, it takes patience for both the client and the coach to figure out how to move forward.

It’s safe to say that life coaching is an interconnected teamwork between the client and the coach, but directed by the client. And it’s important to understand that while you may be focused on asking powerful questions and honing this skill, it’s also important to know the art of powerful listening and how it can greatly impact your coaching practice.

Ready to know how to ask questions that move the dial? If you're ready to learn more about how to become a life coach, take a look at The Catalyst Life Coaching Intensive. Vibrant community. Evidence-based life coach training. Lifetime support.

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