“The mind resists commands and responds to questions.” – Nancy Kline
Becoming a coach means learning to ask open-ended and succinct questions to help clients to do all the following:
- Increase or create awareness
- Change or challenge perspective
- Design goals and actions
- Generate different options
- Elicit and identify emotions
- Encourage dreaming, creating or visualising
- Gauge extent or amount
- Test goals, motivation or commitment
However, anyone who has trained as a coach will know that, quite unconsciously, we tend to favour questions which play to our own preferences. For example, a coach who is not very comfortable with emotions will steer away from questions which elicit emotions, without necessarily realising they are doing so.
A good coaching supervision question to challenge this tendency is:
“Which sorts of questions do you use most frequently and what does this tell you about you or your coaching practice?”
We developed the Barefoot Coaching Cards because we know how valuable it is for newly trained coaches to have instant access to powerful, tried and tested coaching questions.
The cards are designed to support coaches in developing variety and flexibility in their questions and to offer inspiration for new ways of working with your clients.
There a number of valuable exercises that you can try with the Barefoot Coaching Cards, including:
- Pick a card at random to reflect on by yourself or use to start a coaching conversation with someone else
- Split the deck: divide the cards into questions with which you are comfortable and uncomfortable. Take one question from each pile and reflect/discuss
- Team coaching exercise: place the cards face down on a table, ask each person to pick up three cards at random and then take it in turns to pose the questions to one another
- Pose a question card to a person or group. Ask them to choose a Barefoot Picture card which represents their answer to the question.
- Encourage a discussion around this
- Lay a selection of cards face up. Ask your client to identify a question they would like to be asked, or a Picture card that appeals to them. Invite them to talk about the card they have chosen
- Using the Barefoot Picture Cards, lay the cards face up. Ask the person taking part to pick two cards, the first to represent where they are now, and the second to represent where they want to be
We have also heard about the following ways people have used our cards: on the tables at conferences, dinners or networking events as conversation starters; as a daily resource, kept on the desk of many managers and leaders, to assist them in using a coaching style of management; in staff appraisals and interviews and as ice-breakers in training sessions.
Barefoot Coaching Cards are available now on Amazon.co.uk. Visit our website shop for the current range of available titles and links to buy.