Just ask

I’m teaching a three-part coaching course this month. The purpose of the class is to equip the participants with the skills they need to effectively help higher ed students of different ages, stages, and backgrounds succeed in school, at work, and beyond. It’s challenging and fun at the same time.

One of the primary areas of development for emerging coaches is the skill of asking powerful questions. What makes a question powerful? A powerful question is one that evokes awareness in the responder, leading to an “ah ha” moment. These questions are most often open-ended, nonjudgmental, and come from a place of curiosity rather than confirmation.

Powerful questions, I’ve found, are also one of my most powerful tools when it comes to combating Jerk Brain. The person I’m coaching in these instances is myself. When I encounter the familiar voice of Jerk Brain, telling me I can’t do something or I am unworthy of love or care, I pause. Then, I ask myself one (or more) powerful questions.

Here are a few that I find helpful. What are your favorite questions to evoke awareness in yourself and others?

1. What is the source of my discomfort in this moment?

2. What am I afraid of?

3. How could I be kinder to myself right now?

4. What am I missing or trying to avoid?

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