Academic Master


Leadership Coaching

Based on your reading of Leadership Coaching chapters 13–17, what elements make for great questions and why? Secondly, what are the primary factors that influence success or failure in the coaching process?

In the coaching process, the best questions for successfully coaching a client are open-ended questions, bigger questions, and probing questions. Each type of question has its place in the coaching process, and each plays a significant role in the process. Stoltzfus (2005) explains that questions are the main tools a coach uses to focus a conversation, foster exploration, push the client to dig deeper and reach higher, and ensure commitment. It is best when the coach keeps questions simple and communitive and the flow easy so that the client finds the questions to be helpful. That is why an open-ended question is best in most cases. Open questions keep the client in charge; there is no right or wrong answer, and they do not put people on the defensive during the conversations (Soltzfus, 2005). They allow the coach to come up with more to talk about, and the conversation has an easier flow. Bigger questions take an open-ended question further. It expands on a smaller topic and allows the client to think about it in a grand fashion. A bigger question takes practice. Lastly, a popular questioning technique is the probing question. Probing questions are employed to open up the funnel when the client is exploring an issue (Stoltzfus, 2005). The probing questions help to explore, gather, and discuss ideas. They are not usually used to problem-solve or conclude issues.

Success or failure in the coaching process is reached when a client and coach maintain their initial agreements. Those agreements, in my opinion, are usually based on the following: accountability, encouragement, and the client’s overall willingness to change. The client has to be committed to the process fully in order for the coaching to be effective, and if so, the coach has to be committed to the client to encourage and hold accountable the client so they can change. When accountability is working properly, it energizes the client and motivates them to change (Stoltzfus, 2005). Accountability is not punishment or ridicule. Rather, it is a reminder of the client’s commitment to the process and themselves, and the coach acts as the accountability partner. Encouragement is the energy in the relationship. It becomes the motivation and the inspiration to keep the client focused on their goals (Stoltzfus, 2005). A coach can become the biggest cheerleader in the client’s life. They have the chance to help see the client through some of the most transformational times and can make the difference between success and failure through their words and actions. Their influence helps to change people’s lives on a daily basis.


Stoltzfus, T. (2005). Leadership coaching: The disciplines, skills and heart of a coach. Virginia Beach, VA: T. Stoltzfus.



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