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Closed and open questions in coaching


When you ask a person a closed question, you deprive him of the opportunity to think. By asking an open question, on the contrary, you encourage the person to think on their own, and accordingly you get the best answer, from which both participants in the conversation will receive the necessary information for themselves.

Questions in coaching help to achieve awareness and responsibility, but not all of them, but only the right questions. For example, we can draw an analogy with sports. The most common coach command in ball games is “Watch the ball!” But it certainly does not help much to follow the ball. On the contrary, it keeps players on their toes and forces them to focus on one aspect of the game instead of seeing the big picture. Also, the “Relax” command in golf will not help you relax and make an easy and accurate hit on the ball. But if the various commands-instructions do not achieve the desired effect, then what can help? – Questions!

And we are not talking about the questions that coaches often ask too: “Are you looking at the ball?”, “Why are you not looking at the ball?”. Such formulations are absolutely natural  encourage the person to go into a defensive position. And in this case, there can be no question of any result. Quite another thing is open questions. “In which direction is the ball flying?”, “How far did it fly over the net?”, “How fast does it spin after the bounce?” and so on. Such questions: force the player to follow the ball, because otherwise they cannot be answered; the correct answer requires maximum concentration from a person; & nbsp; feedback appears with the coach, who has the opportunity to understand the accuracy of the answer and thereby determine the level of concentration of the player. Similar questions work in a similar way in other areas of life.

The best questions start with words that require facts and calculations—what, who, where, how much. “Why” and “how” is better not to ask. They require analysis, imply criticism, and may provoke unwanted backlash. It is better to replace them with “what are the reasons” and “what is the sequence”, respectively, since they allow you to get accurate answers. Ask general questions first, and then concentrate on small details. This way the coach can keep the client interested and focused.

The coach must listen to the answers to his questions carefully so as not to lose the person’s trust. However, he himself must know what question he will ask next. At the same time, questions should appear naturally, and not be prepared in advance, because otherwise the whole essence of the process of interaction with the client will be violated. At the moment the person answers, the coach should listen and listen to his words, and not think that he will ask after. It is much better and more rewarding to wait until the client has finished speaking and then pause to consider their next question.

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