-Do they exist in the world of professional coaching?
- The “miracle or magic question” is not one
simple question with a ready made answer -for example: Q: “What day
is it?” A: “Monday.”
- The spirit of interviewing
cannot be captured in brief questions during brief encounters.
- When questioning is just
seen as asking simple miracle or magic questions, then a coach will
naturally think that coachees should provide the ideal answer.
- Questioning is an interpersonal
style. It has a subtle balance of directive and client-centered
components shaped by a guiding philosophy and understanding of what
triggers the need for behavioral change. If it becomes a trick or a
manipulative technique, its essence has been lost.
- Questioning is just one part of
the coaching process -including assessment, use of an appropriate behavioral
model of change and relevant techniques and tools etc.
- When the coachee does not
deliver the expected magic answer (which is nearly all of the
time) then the coach either believes that he/she hasn't the
right set of questions (and continues the search for the
allusive million-dollar question/s) or simply believes that questioning does
not work. This expectation handicaps both coach and coachee.
- A coachee cannot provide
“the” answer, but they provide “an” answer. Questioning is
not meant to be delivered with the intent of eliciting a specific answer.
Answers are meant to be heard as part of a longer statement to
which the coach addresses his/her responses.
- Many coachees have never had the
opportunity of expressing the often confusing, contradictory and uniquely
personal elements of their conflict, issue or situation. The coach's task
is to facilitate expression of all sides of their situation and impasse,
and guide the coachee toward an acceptable resolution that triggers
acknowledgment of the need and motivation to change.
- Questioning can also
be seen as a frame-setting device or a validated language style
by which the coach encourages the coachee to see and talk
about a better/stronger/happier future
after-the-problem/issue/situation-is positively changed.
The miracle or magic question does
not exist in the toolkit of the professional coach.
The right questions (that have a basis in the behavioral
sciences) are the opening moves in a structured language game that
can only be taught by a coaching educator who is also a
licensed clinical psychologist with long-term work-place experience.
In its simplist form -when the coachee responds, the coach asks further
questions to help them clarify and expand their initial response.
In this way, the answer you obtain informs you what
question you are best suited to next ask.
Clearly, this is not
a situation in which the coach simply uses a set of miracle questions to pull
out a miracle answer. Coaches, trying to take shortcuts, can get
sold on the myth of the magic question. This belief or false
hope is foundered on the incorrect assumption, pedalled by unqualified
people, that all the miracle
answers are already somewhere inside each person.
vital questioning techniques, behavioral-based change models, tools and techniques and
assessment instruments a professional coach requires are only available
via the Behavioral Coaching Institute's
Master Coach Course (online or campus format). The course,
for over 20 years, meets the critical needs for business and
executive coaches to be trained in the use of validated,
reliable psychology-based tools and techniques. Read
Behavioral Coaching Institute