Favorite Powerful Questions from 5 Holistic Coaches
As a Coach Trainer of an International Coaching Federation (ICF) accredited coach education program called the Holistic Coach Training Institute, I often hear students inquire about powerful questions. Powerful questions can feel like the secret that unlocks potential within a coaching conversation and client. Therefore, I asked our holistic coach community to share some of their favorite powerful questions with you so you can hear what’s being currently used by active professional coaches to evoke awareness within coaching conversations.
Who are you?
Sandy Swanson, ACC, NBC-HWC, A-CFHC
"In my sessions of late, I’ve noticed a deep desire for clients to discover who they are authentically. Many of them feel stuck and are motivated by external things: other people, company culture, what is considered “the norm” or “traditional”.
However, how the rest of the world moves through life may not always line up with how a client wants to move through life. So instead of asking “so what do YOU want?” or “what is important to YOU?,”, which also may result in surface-level goal-oriented answers, I ask “who are you?”
This question usually stops a client in their tracks, and opens up the possibility of going deeper. Some clients resist this, and this is ok. Or some may default to an answer along the lines of “I’m a dad and I’m a software engineer at Google.” I invite coaches to challenge their client to go deeper than this!
The ones who choose to go this deeper route usually uncover values and passions within them that were being ignored. Getting in touch with these things allows clients to find true *internal* motivation instead of seeking motivation from the outside world.
Be warned: answering this question may take more than one session, I recently had a client take three sessions to work through this one."
What was your biggest aha moment today?
LinkedIn: Heather Taylor
"There are several reasons why I like to use this question.
I think this question gives the client an opportunity to pause and take a moment to deeply reflect on our session and their learnings. During a session, we often talk about many different aspects of a topic and this helps the client to zero in on their most important learning or learnings about the topic and/or themselves.
I love that I am often surprised by what comes forward from my client. Often what I think was the aha moment isn’t what they found to be the aha moment. This reminds me to always stay curious and listen to what is important to my client.
Once the aha has been shared, it gives me the opportunity to dig deeper and ask why this was important to them, what can they do with this information moving forward, how will they act on this aha?
I also like being asked this question as the client. When I take the time to pause and reflect on my learning(s) of the day, I often find I’m able to walk away from the session with a true revelation about myself or my situation that I can move forward with as I work through my goals. Often, the aha wasn’t even part of my original coaching agreement, but rather something that came through as we worked through the agreement."
What do you already do now that you might acknowledge, in service to your agreement, that you might not have considered before?
Beth Parasmo, Holistic Self-Love Embodiment Coach, E-RYT282 Tantric Hatha Self-Love Intuitive Yoga Guide
Linkedin: Beth Parasmo
"I love this question because it helps bring clients into their own gifts and resources that are easy to access. These gifts and resources are the ways in which they already love themselves, so that “the work” doesn’t have to seem so insurmountable.
In fact, most of us already do so much of the things we truly want and are best for ourselves, it’s just a matter of perspective shift to get us out of our negative thought cycle, by witnessing what we already do so that we can relax a bit in knowing there is not a lot we must add to our schedules.
It’s soothing and empowering when we see what we naturally do is enough. Then, we can celebrate, and move forward with greater ease and trust in ourselves.
It’s a way to hold oneself accountable and provide compound loving. Just like supersets in the gym, rewarding myself for just loving myself by doing something else loving for myself in celebration at the same time. An example: I’m already doing my yoga practice which brings me more in touch with my highest self & intuition, so I will “superset” it by adding chanting, journaling, crying, hugging myself, mantra, positive intentions, or just humming during my exhales. LOVING begets even more loving, and doesn’t have to be so hard."
What can you say to yourself to help keep you on track?
LinkedIn: Kitty Agioutantis
"This is a favorite question of mine, and I have used it often in a coaching session. The question resonates with me because it came up for me organically during my own healing journey. This practice of using a short phrase or even a word to remind myself of my goal at those times when I was tempted to go back to my old habits, proved to be very effective.
The interesting thing is that coachees/clients come up with an answer to this question very easily, like it was just beneath the surface for them, like it makes complete sense. You can see from their expression that they enjoy the playfulness and creativity of this practice.
Picking a short phrase, mantra or affirmation to say to yourself when the going gets tough, creates a feedback loop that spurs motivation. Once you come up with this phrase and you say it to yourself, it makes you determined to keep going. It empowers you to stay course, and when that happens, you find yourself using your chosen phrase even more. Often this phrase or word evolves to something that is more catchy or helpful. It's a creative process!
Some people use objects, or Post-its to help them keep their goal top of mind. The great thing about mantras though, is that you can apply them anywhere and they don't require pen or paper or for you to be in a specific place. They're a simple and powerful way to strengthen accountability to self and motivation."
What do you think (or feel) about that?
Becca Rich, Holistic Time Coach & Educator
"Because of the nature of the time management industry, people are used to being given solutions, tools, and systems and trying them on. As a holistic time management coach, it's my job to help my clients come up with their own solutions. After working with clients around time for over 3 years now, I rarely give my clients tools or solutions because we partner up to create solutions that are unique, long-lasting, sustainable, and easy to integrate into their lives.
This question does however allow me to share certain mindsets, solutions, tools, and systems that have worked well in the past for me and/or my other clients. Asking this question after sharing solutions with my clients helps me as a coach give the responsibility and power back to the client. It allows them to get in touch with how they think or feel about the offered suggestions, it gives us an opportunity to customize it even more, and talk through any hesitations about the solutions.
Asking this has saved my clients countless hours trying on tools and systems that don't stick, helping them to make meaningful progress toward their intentions and see results much easier and quicker."
Whatever powerful questions you choose to use, always remember to ask questions that are in alignment with the agreement for the call and the coaching container.
At the Holistic Coach Training Institute, we teach the ICF’s 8 Core Competencies to coaching. Powerful questions fall under the Core Competency of Evoking Awareness.
If you’d like to learn more about the core competencies of coaching or how to ask powerful questions so that you may improve your communication and facilitating skills, visit our website at https://holisticcoachtraininginstitute.com/.