Do you feel like you're the only problem-solver and creative thinker on your team?

Are you powering through long hours and heavy workloads?

You need to help your team solve problems creatively and take some pressure off you!

Coach your employees or teammates with powerful questions to help them grow and make a stronger team.

Why Coach?

Coaching takes planning, skill, and effort.

So why do it?

Frye from Futurama holding cash saying,

Doing all the work yourself interferes with your own work-life balance. You can help your team members develop and grow to share the workload.

Coaching can lead to stronger team through increased:

  • problem-solving skills

  • innovation and creativity

  • confidence

  • job satisfaction

What Are Powerful Questions?

Powerful questions are open-ended, nonjudgmental questions to lead your teammates through a process of reflection and understanding.

Bernie Sanders saying,

Effective coaches avoid telling teammates the correct answer.

The goal is to help them find their own answers and solutions, rather than the "correct answer" or your own pre-conceived solutions.

Toddler pumping fist in celebration. Top line says answered the questions. Bottom line says got a great idea.


Mike has given Chelsea a project to improve the user interface on their smart watch. He meets with her to ask powerful questions. Which question facilitates reflection and growth?

Avoid Judgments

Avoid questions that sound judgmental or accusatory.

Child in judge's robe giving the side-eye, a negative expression.

You are trying to build their confidence and skill, not undermine it.

The idea is to help them sort through their own ideas and approaches.

Use Active Listening

Show you are paying attention to what they are saying:

  • Avoid interruption.

  • Make eye contact.

  • Nod in response.

  • Say "yes" or "uh huh" to indicate you are listening.

    Man walking over and saying I'm all ears to indicate he's ready to listen.

Take the time to think about and understand what they are saying.

"Tell Me More"

Keep them thinking, talking, and exploring the issues by simply asking them to tell you more.

Follow up with, "What else?"

Oprah's you get a car meme, but she is saying, you get another powerful question, everybody gets another question.

Your goal is to conclude the coaching session when they:

  • decide on a course of action for themselves

  • identify additional information they need

  • say they have new ideas to pursue

  • set a goal for themselves

Coaching Scenario

Flaticon Icon

Janelle has assigned Milo a project to develop a social media campaign for a financial institution. She knows it will challenge him so she schedules a coaching session three days later.

Flaticon Icon Her goals for the session:

  1. See what Milo's thoughts are about the direction for the project

  2. Guide him to new insight about the project

Flaticon Icon Questions she might ask:

  1. What strategies have proven effective for other projects?

  2. How might this social media campaign differ from other bank advertising?

  3. What factors have you considered?

  4. What social media avenues have you considered?

  5. What else?

A man and woman in business attire high fiving. Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash

Which of these statements from Milo would cue Janelle to end the coaching session?

A) "I think I'll do some research on social media preferences by age group."

C) "I'll just use the same old ads and turn them into social media posts."

B) "Let's hire Taylor Swift as a spokesperson."

D) "You should give this project to someone more experienced."


Choose one answer.

Take Action

Take some time this week to:

Woman giving herself a high five and motioning to the other person as if sending them a high five.


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