“The questions you ask determine what you focus on. Change the question and you change the focus. Change the focus and results change.”
Coaching is an essential part of the learning process, both in and outside of the classroom. The coaching questions we ask determine where the learner’s attention moves. We act on what we notice. Whether you are leading one-on-one coaching sessions, coaching in the classroom or training managers how to coach, being conscious of how the questions you ask impact direct attention is key to results being generated.
The forming of the questions we ask as coaches influences whether attention is focused on the positive or the negative. For example, the question “Why do you think you are having a challenge meeting your sales goal?” focuses attention on all the reasons why sales aren’t materializing. Predictably, you will hear responses like “out-of-stocks” or “client budget cuts”. A positive question focuses attention on what is working and might sound like, “What are you doing that is producing progress toward your sales goal?” Positive-focused questions create an opportunity to explore what is working and how we could do more of this. They direct the brain to pay attention to positive performance circuits which, when reinforced, support enhanced future performance. In other words, the more we pay attention to positive results, the more positive results we can create.