Coaching Questions

There are hundreds of great coaching questions for those who are in ministry. In my opinion, here are some of the best. 


Two of my favorites are from the work of business management guru, Peter Drucker, who said that "there are two essential questions that everyone must answer if they are going to succeed." "What business are you in?" and "How's business?" Ask those questions to church pastors and leaders and see what answers you get. 


I have found the following coaching questions to be some of my most useful questions.


What can we celebrate? How has God shown up in your life and ministry this past week or two? What are your top three…? What else…? Can you give me some more options? What one thing can you do that will increase your ministry effectiveness by 20%? What do you need to say "no" to this week/month/year? What resources do you need to take your next step forward? What obstacle is hindering you from _____________? What SMART goal do you need to set to increase your personal spiritual growth/ministry effectiveness/health of your ministry or church, etc.?


Coach and author Tony Stoltzfus, in his excellent text, Leadership Coaching, lists many excellent questions such as the following.


Did you do your action steps this week? (How did that go?) Describe the problem you are facing? What options have you considered? What motivates you most? What would be most important for us to focus on? Who could you talk to about that? How have you prayed about this? And, what has God said to you? If you knew you had unlimited resources, how would that change your approach? What do you think God wants to do through this situation?


Laura Whitworth, Henry Kimsey-House and Phil Sandahl in their book, Co-Active Coaching, suggest three excellent coaching accountability questions: What will you do? When will you do it? And How will I know?


In his insightful text, Coaching for Performance, author John Whitmore suggests an acronym based on the word GROW to guide the creation of effective questions for a coaching session. G stands for goal setting for the session, for short term and for long term achievement. R represents reality or checking to explore the current situation. O is for options or alternative strategies and courses of action. W stands for what is to be done, when it will be done, by whom it will be done and the will to do it.


Writers Steve Ogne and Tim Roehl in their book, TransforMissional Coaching, give guidance for coaches in asking holistic questions using a four F model. Feelings - refers to asking such questions as, How have you been feeling about this issue? Family - includes such questions as. How's your family doing? Faith - incorporates questions like, How are you and God doing? and What's he been talking to you about lately? Focus - is a reference to such questions as, What's most important here? and What comes next?


The best questions for productive coaching will be open-ended and related to the needs and opportunities of the person being coached. If asking effective questions is an essential skill of coaching, the flip side is listening to the answers with intent while focusing on the needs of the one being coached. These skills can be practiced and learned through training and coaching.


"In a coaching conversation, the client should get around 80% of the airtime and the coach 20%." – Tony Stoltzfus in Leadership Coaching