'Whatever level of coaching competence a coach is operating at there are only a few key elements that underpin the coaching process within the coaching dynamic: exquisite listening, questions at different levels of appropriate challenge and opportunities (silences) for the coachee to self-reflect.
Without exquisite listening and questions, the all-important self-reflection will not happen. Questions then, form the ammunition which fuels the vast majority of coaching interventions made internationally. Judy Barber has therefore done a great job in seeking a wide cohort of coaches to expand and develop ideas about how questions can be used, when they may be most effectively used, as well as understanding the underlying `intent' of the question. These overt `intents' enable the reader to confidently think about developing good questions of their own. Having set the questions into groups with common underlying purpose, Judy brings further clarity to the text as well as deeper learning.
Too many coaches bring their own obsession with goals into the dynamic. I recall one novice's opening gambit which was something like, `What amazing objective do you want in your life today?' and the response was, `my mother just died this week so I am wanting to deal with how I am now'. So good questions also include `sustainability questions' to check that the resources for change are available, that priorities can be changed if necessary to make space for effort. If someone close has just died, then something else might have to happen first, so the Grovian question, `And what would you like to have happen?' (provided in this book by Wendy Sullivan) is truly valuable. The enthusiastic coach through inadvertent `leading' will fail the coachee. As Judy puts it, `If you are more personally detached from the outcome and more relaxed than the coachee then they can focus on their own motivation and you can put your energy into being receptive to their agenda.'
Judy Barber's book includes questions to help coaches think much more deeply about what they are doing, not just what they are asking. For the reader who wants to understand more about the underlying messages, this book is a great library of source-material for creative thinking and advancement. What coaches might also like to consider is whether they are capable of coaching using questions designed only for the benefit of the client and not just to help themselves understand. When they do this, they are truly differentiating themselves from what Robert Dilts calls `small c' coaches. 'Good Question! The Art of Asking Questions to Bring About Positive Change' can help you to Coach with a capital C.Performance Coaching: The Handbook for Managers, HR Professionals and CoachesPerformance Coaching ToolkitThe Life Coaching Handbook: Everything You Need to Be an Effective Life CoachThe Business Coaching Handbook: Everything You Need to Be Your Own Business Coach