“Why do we never get an answer when we’re knocking at the door with a thousand million questions.”
Question by The Moody Blues from their 1970 CD A Question of Balance
Here are 24 coaching trigger questions that the Executive Leadership Coach (James) uses at the start of every coaching relationship.
The questions are used to prepare for the first (free) coaching session as follows:
- You are unsure if coaching is right for you, or whether this style of coaching is right for you, or whether you can work well with the CEO as your coach. These questions will help you to decide and make it easier to say YES or No.
- Next you share your answers with James. This gives him the opportunity to get a sense of your readiness and whether he thinks he can help you. (Obviously, he isn’t qualified, experienced or equipped to help every one.)
- Now you are both better able to decide whether you want to work together or not.
- If YES, then you are both already better prepared to make your first coaching (free) session useful, constructive and effective.
- The first free coaching session gives you a formal opportunity to decide to proceed or not.
Working with a coach
1. Why do you want to work with an executive coach?
2. What specifically do you want to get out of it?
3. How will you know if it is effective? How will you know when it is successful?
4. Complete the following statement:
I want this coaching to . . . . . . . so that . . . . . . .
Your current role
5. What aspect of your role do you enjoy most? Why?
6. What aspect(s) of your role are you prepared to do for the next 3 years?
7. What aspect(s) of your role would you like to delegate? Why?
8. What is the biggest lesson you have learned working in your current role?
Your personal ‘vision’
9. What do you want to become next (or still want to become)?
10. What do you want to be known for?
11. What is your personal strategy at your organization? In other words, what do you want out of working there and how will you ensure that it happens? (For example, are you happy to do this indefinitely or is it really a springboard to greater things? Other?)
12. What is the one thing most wrong in your organization today? Can you ‘fix’ it or influence others to fix it?
13. If you had a magic wand and all the power that goes with it, what would you change right now with yourself, your role, your team or your organization?
Your team (if applicable)
14. What is the one thing about your team that you are really proud of? Or what do you like most about your team as it is now? (In other words, why do you still work there instead of somewhere else, other than for ‘the money’)?
15. What do you like least about your team? Why?
16. What do you want your team to be known for?
17. Do you think your team should change? If so, why? And how will you know when and if the change happened or was successful?
The role you thought you had:
It happens that over time your role morphs into something not quite what you signed up for. Read the following questions. If they apply to you, or if they trigger interesting thoughts or feelings, then answer them as well.
18. Describe the role you thought you originally applied for and accepted.
19. Explain why the role you’re performing now is not the one you thought you originally accepted.
20. If you prefer the role you thought you applied for to the one you’ve got, then: Explain why you believe that you cannot turn the role you have into the one you thought you had accepted. What stops you? What or who are the obstacles?
21. Describe what needs to change for you to attempt to turn your role into the role you originally wanted or now want. Differentiate between issues-based or people-based changes.
22. If you believe that you cannot succeed with your current role, do you think you can still be successful within your current division or area of operation? If so, where else are you prepared to work? Please differentiate between issues, operations, style and people factors.
23. If you believe that you can no longer succeed within your current division or specific area of operation, where else in your organization are you prepared to work? Please explain why you think this area (or these areas) could be better for you. Please differentiate between issues, operations, style and people factors.
24. What are the two key things you will look for in your next position? Consider these in the light of ‘deal breakers’ as follows:
(a) If this ‘thing’ is present, then you will take on the role. What is this ‘thing’?
(b) If this ‘thing’ is absent, then you will take on the role. What is this ‘thing’?