Seven powerful coaching questions you should be asking your team

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As a manager, one of your most important responsibilities is to help your reports grow and develop in their roles, and a key way to do this is through coaching.

This involves asking the right questions to help your team gain insight into their strengths and weaknesses, set realistic goals, and create action plans for long-term improvement.

But what should you be asking? Here are some key questions to keep in mind as you coach your reports:

1. What are your short-term and long-term career goals?

Knowing what your reports want to achieve in the future can help you understand their motivations and align their goals with those of the organisation. By having regular check-ins to discuss progress and any obstacles, you can provide guidance and support to help them achieve their aspirations.

2. What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Asking that they self-reflect on their skills and areas for improvement can help them gain a better understanding of their own performance. This also helps you identify areas where they may need additional training or development.

3. What are some specific challenges you’re facing in your role?

By understanding the specific challenges your reports are facing, you can provide targeted support and guidance. It is also an opportunity to offer resources, or to connect them with other team members or stakeholders who may be able to assist.

A staggering 70% of team engagement is directly influenced by a team’s manager, according to research by Gallup.

4. How are you approaching this task or project?

Asking about their process can help you understand how they think and work. It also shows you’re invested in their success and are interested in their work. This helps foster a positive and supportive work environment, and can encourage your reports to feel valued and motivated in their roles.

5. What would you like to learn or improve upon in the next quarter?

This question helps you hone in on specific areas for development, and can be a great starting point for setting goals and creating an action plan.

6. What kind of feedback or support would you find most beneficial?

Asking your reports what kind of feedback or support they find most helpful shows that you value their input, and helps you tailor your coaching approach to their specific needs.

7. What are some of the barriers to success you see?

Understanding their barriers to success assists in identifying any internal or external factors that may be holding your reports back and provides valuable insights into the team’s perception of the work environment. It also shows that you are interested in their perspective and willing to help remove any obstacles.

Asking these questions regularly, and actively listening to your reports’ responses, helps you provide more effective coaching and support.

Remember to be non-judgmental, empathetic and always willing to assist and guide them in their development. With the right coaching, your reports will be well-equipped to take on new challenges and achieve their goals.

FAQs on powerful coaching questions

Why are powerful coaching questions important for leading a team?

Powerful coaching questions are essential for leading a team because they promote deeper thinking, self-awareness, and personal growth among team members. By asking thought-provoking questions, you can help your team members identify their strengths and weaknesses, explore new perspectives, and develop problem-solving skills. Coaching questions foster a culture of continuous improvement and empower team members to take ownership of their development.

How can I use coaching questions to help my team members set goals and priorities?

To help your team members set goals and priorities using coaching questions, ask questions that encourage reflection and critical thinking. Some examples include:
a. What are your most important goals for the next quarter or year, and why?
b. How do these goals align with the team’s overall objectives and mission?
c. What specific steps or actions will you take to achieve these goals?
d. How can you break down these goals into smaller, manageable tasks or milestones?
e. What potential challenges might you encounter, and how can you plan for them?

How can I use coaching questions to promote a growth mindset within my team?

To promote a growth mindset within your team using coaching questions, focus on questions that encourage learning, adaptability, and resilience. Examples include:
a. What have you learned from your recent successes or failures?
b. How can you apply these lessons to future tasks or projects?
c. What new skills or knowledge would help you become more effective in your role?
d. How can you turn this challenge into an opportunity for growth?
e. What can you do to adapt and thrive in the face of change or uncertainty?

How can I use coaching questions to enhance team collaboration and communication?

To enhance team collaboration and communication using coaching questions, ask questions that foster empathy, understanding, and open dialogue.
Some examples include:
a. How can you ensure that everyone’s perspective is heard and valued in team discussions?
b. What can you do to improve communication within the team?
c. How can you better collaborate with your teammates to achieve shared goals?
d. What strengths do your teammates bring to the table, and how can you leverage those strengths for collective success?
e. How can you provide constructive feedback to your teammates in a supportive and respectful manner?

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