The coaching process involves two aspects: (1) raising awareness and (2) building responsibility.

Creating awareness is all about helping the individual see themselves ("self-awareness") and their situation (what is happening around them) accurately. People can only deal with what they are aware of. Without awareness, no true change or progress can be made.

John Whitmore says that “a coach is not a problem solver, a teacher, an advisor, an instructor or even an expert; he or she is a sounding board, a facilitator, a counsellor, an awareness raiser.”

Building responsibility is the next step. Until an individual accepts and takes responsibility for themselves and their situation, no change will occur. Telling someone to be responsible for something doesn't make them feel responsible for it. People have to choose to be responsible.

The Power of Questions

Good questions are the best tool for raising awareness and building responsibility because asking is more effective than telling.

Bob Logan says, “Good coaching isn’t the art of giving good answers; it is the art of asking good questions.” 

Questions are a powerful way to develop people.

Even the Bible highlights the impact of questions. God himself often asked questions when in conversation with people (see Genesis 3:8-9). Jesus, although he had so much to say, often used questions when talking with people (see John 1:35-38). Precision questions go straight to the heart. Jesus used questions not because he needed an answer but in order to bring a person to a new level of understanding.

Questions help build relationships, are a key to creativity and problem-solving, enhance education and learning, and are an aid to personal growth. After all, experience is not the best teacher; only reflection on experience turns experience into insight.

Today, why not shift from a 'telling' approach in your relationships and try more of a 'question-orientated' approach, followed by attentive listening. You will notice a remarkable change in your relationships and your effectiveness in helping others grow and achieve their goals.

Tomorrow (in part 3): A Model for Coaching.