It seems natural to most people to coach by giving instructions: “Here is how you do that.” The coach knows what needs to be done and simply tells the person they are coaching what to do. Often this is appropriate, but sometimes there is a more effective approach – coaching with questions. The questions approach has some distinct advantages:
- Questions makes the person being helped think for him or her self instead of relying on being told. Having to think through an answer helps them develop the practice of coming up with their own ideas.
- When the person being coached comes up with a good answer, it belongs to them, which means they are more apt to continue using it.
- Questions are less likely to inspire resistance. Some people just don’t like to be told.
Next time you coach, do at least part of it with questions:
– “How do you think SmartHands might be used in that task?”
– “Try these elbow positions. Which feels stronger to you?”
– “How could the Plan for Personal Control be applied in this situation?
– “How could you position your feet to gain a better Line of Power?”
Most of us prefer to make up our own minds and to work things out for ourselves, rather than feel like were being directed on how to do something. Questions give the person being helped the opportunity to think for him or her self instead of relying on being told. Coaching with questions take more finesse than simply giving instructions, but the results will make the effort worthwhile for both you and for the people you coach.