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How will I ever learn the art of asking effective coaching questions?

Last week, our Organizational and Leadership Coaching Cohort practiced asking coaching questions. We were split in groups of three, taking turns being the coach, the client and the observer. I had no issue at all being the observer listening to the brief coaching conversation and providing feedback, which is not surprising, as I am used to being an "editor" from my management role prior to retiring. Similarly, I had fun being the client and enjoyed our coaching conversation. Once it was my turn playing the coach, however, I sort of derailed. Instead of honing into my client’s story about her mindfulness practice and asking about the substance around her practice (e.g., in which way is her practice helpful or what could she do to make it even better), I asked her about the process of her practice truly missing the point!

Why did this happen? Well, asking about the process was (1) very interesting to me, as I am in the process of developing a mindfulness practice of my own, and (2) quite comfortable, as it did not go too far into my colleague's personal affairs. Both reasons are about myself and not about my client! How will I ensure that I will solely focus on my client next time? I believe the answer will lie in on-the-go mindfulness practice. Next time, I will take a deep breath and guide myself to my client and only then starting the conversation.

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Also, the tone of "How will I ever learn the art of asking effective coaching questions?" made me laugh out loud. Maybe it's how I read it, but it sounded like you were asking, how will I "EVER DO THIS?!" Keep in mind, we are about to read up on the gentle art of asking questions - no one expects you to do this yet.


Regine, you are so quick and perceptive in your observations about how you did during the exercise, but I hope that you are also applying a thick balm of kindness and self-compassion as we all embark on this journey of becoming coaches together. It seems to me you are exactly where you need to be on this journey, and I have a lot of confidence in you.

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