The Progress Coaching Blog

    Coaching = Effective Conversations

    November 13, 2013 Posted by : Tim Hagen
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    Coaching = Effective Conversations

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    Having a conversation is about a dialogue (asking), not a monologue (telling). The best coaching questions are:

    • Open-ended;
    • Focused on useful outcomes;
    • Non-judgmental


    Here are some examples of good open-ended questions compared to the close-ended version:

    Open-ended/Inviting Questions

    • What is the status on “x”?
    • How can I help you? 
    • Can you tell me about that error?
    • Walk me through your thought process?
    • What other approaches might you take next time?
    • How are your emotions influencing your perception of the situation?

    These questions require the employee to think of an answer instead of just answering yes or no. Also, this will help the coach and employee communicate better and work together. When you ask an employee a close ended question, the answer takes almost no thought to answer because they are usually yes or no questions. Here are some examples of close-ended questions that you should NOT ask:

     Close-ended/Evaluative Questions

    • Are you finished yet?
    • Do you have a problem?
    • Did you make that mistake?
    • Will this really solve the problem?
    • What made you think that was a good idea?
    • That’s clear enough, isn’t it?
    • Didn’t I go over this already?
    • Why didn’t you do “x”?

    Your employees will be developed and challenged in way that truly builds new skills and enables them to learn from experiences.

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    About Author

    Tim Hagen
    Tim Hagen

    Tim Hagen founded Progress Coaching, a Training Reinforcement Partner Company, in 1997. His entrepreneurial career began in college leading to positions in sales, sales management, and sales training for small and large corporations, and eventually ownership of several training companies. Tim is often a keynote speaker at companies teaching the value of coaching and conversations in the workplace. He possesses a unique combination of hands-on experience, academics, and innovative insight to solve the industry’s most common challenges specific to workplace performance. Tim holds a bachelor’s degree in Adult Education and Training from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

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