Christian Life Coaching Websites and the Importance of Asking Powerful Questions
Every Christian life coaching website should stress the importance of asking powerful questions. Why? Because life coaches need to understand the power of well-structured and impeccably timed questions. Why are insightful questions so important?
Consider your personal day-to-day interactions; there are some questions that arise that make you pause for a few moments before you respond. That’s because questions can be thought-provoking and, in some instances, liberating. One of the benefits of taking ICF certification programs is to help you understand the importance of asking powerful questions and to educate you on the specific types of questions to ask your clients that pertain to their situation. In fact, powerful questioning is one of the important ICF certification core competencies.
Powerful questioning refers to the ability to ask a question that can inspire the client to share the kind of information that both the client and you would need to achieve maximum impact. A powerful question is one that is direct, clear, and leads to the revelation of new information. As a Christian life coach, you should aspire to ask questions that:
Reveal you are actively listening and fully understand your client’s situation
Inspire the revelation of new information
Lead to a decision to commit to a certain action
Help the client to move towards the desired direction
A Biblical Perspective
Jesus used powerful questioning throughout his public ministry. For instance, in John 4, Jesus meets a woman who was not leading a very good life. The text notes that she would move from one husband to another, and, to make matters worse, she would even “steal” husbands from other women. Because Jesus knew everything about the woman even before she spoke, he had the choice of approaching this issue from all manner of angles. For instance, he could have started by rebuking her. However, Jesus knew that wouldn’t be very effective. So he chose to ease in with a powerful question.
“Will you give me a drink?” (John 4:7, NIV)
Jesus knew the woman’s heart, so he also knew she would have thought this to be a strange question to ask. The Jewish people did not interact with Samaritans. The woman would have been shocked that Jesus had shown interest in her, and even more startling was the fact that he was asking her to give him water.
This simple but powerful question was an amazing icebreaker, and soon the woman was conversing with Jesus effortlessly. By the time the woman was ready to leave the well, she realized she was talking to the Messiah, and she had decided to make a lifestyle change.
And it all began with one powerful question.
As a Christian life coach, you must coach your client from a biblical perspective. Here are a few pointers:
Base your questions on what you have heard AND what your discernment or intuition tells you.
Use questions that will lead to the client seeing new perspectives, not your own presumed conclusions.
Help your client focus on their faith by asking questions that help to bring out your client’s values.
Use the Jesus model of asking questions. Jesus used insightful, challenging, and poignant questions to inspire critical and objective thinking.
Ask your questions in a tone that is not judgmental. Do not ask the kind of questions that require a “right” answer.
How to Ask Powerful Questions
Questions should not be asked haphazardly. A certified Christian life coach should observe the following important rules when asking questions.
Avoid asking “why” questions.
When you ask a why question, your client might feel attacked and/or accused. Everyone struggles with why questions at a personal level. We want to know why God created us, why we are different from others, why some things happen. On a personal level, it is great to ask yourself why, but when coaching it is better to ask “what” and “how” questions.
Limit the use of closed-end questions.
The problem with yes or no questions is they are closed-ended. Unless you are coaching to an extremely talkative person, closed-end questions will mostly be answered with a succinct yes or no with no follow-up information. Instead, ask open-ended questions that will result in thoughtful and more detailed answers. Open-ended questions encourage the discovery of new information and inspire commitment to a given action.
Avoid asking questions that you already know the answer to.
Apart from wasting time, asking questions you already know the answer to makes you less authentic as a Christian life coach. For instance, it would seem strange and confusing to your client if you asked him to introduce himself each time you were starting a session. When clients notice such a pattern, they may become offended or defensive, and most certainly will feel they are being taken for granted and/or disrespected. However, asking questions that have no set answers will help your client to feel valued, inspiring her to give answers that will be more insightful and beneficial.
Ask questions that move the client forward.
As much as possible, avoid dwelling on questions that will keep clients focused on the mistakes they made in the past. Instead, ask questions that will inspire them to move forward. The apostle Paul tells us to forget what lies behind and reach forward to what lies ahead (Philippians 3:13). As a certified Christian life coach, it is your duty to help the client to focus on their vision for the future, rather than the mistakes they made in the past.
Use language effectively.
When phrasing your questions, use words, phrases, and a tone that is simple to understand. The purpose of communication is not to impress the other party with complicated jargon but rather to convey a message. The way you frame a question will also impact your client’s response. For instance, if you use negative language, you will most likely get very few positive responses.
It is almost impossible to ask powerful questions when you do not practice active listening. Active listening entails paying close attention to the cues from the other party. For instance, if someone is upset and looking for an opportunity to vent, the last thing they want is a coaching conversation.
If you are not an active listener, you may ask questions that do not have your desired impact. As a life coach, you must be attentive to what the other party is saying. If time is an issue, let the client know and schedule a more appropriate time when you can converse freely, without being in a hurry to rush to something else.
Active listening avoids cutting the other person off or finishing their sentences. Always give room for your client to have time before responding and respond appropriately. If something is not clear, you must ask for clarification. Do not assume your client meant what you think she meant if she hasn’t communicated it effectively.
Asking powerful questions is not a gift: it is a skill. Attending an ICF certified program is one of the ways to effectively hone the skill of asking powerful questions. Any Christian life coaching website will teach the art of powerful questions and you will become proficient with the right training and practice. Remember, asking powerful questions in your Christian life coaching program is key to making your client a satisfied person, and someone who can move forward with direction and purpose in their life.
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