Determining the Conversation Outcome

Excerpted with permission of the author from Chapter Five of The Coach Model for Christian Leaders by Keith E. Webb

The way you ask the person for their intended outcome communicates something about the conversation you’re about to have. 

Consider this question: “What would you like to talk about?”

If you ask me that question, I have all sorts of things I’d like to talk about: sports, the weather, how to fix my car, a new restaurant I found, etc. But that’s not how I want to use our coaching time. Friends talk about whatever is on their minds. But coaching is an intentional conversation that empowers a person to fully live out their calling. Forward movement is not always an important outcome of a friendship conversation. 

Contrast that question with this one: “What would you like to work on today?”

What do you see emphasized in this question? That’s right— working on something. We’re not going to just talk about something, we are actually going to achieve a helpful result right now. We are beginning with the end in mind. We are creating a destination and purpose for our conversation, all according to what the coachee finds valuable. 

Example Outcome Questions: 

  • What would you like to work on? 
  • What would make today’s conversation meaningful for you? 
  • What result would you like to take away from our conversation?

Each of the previous questions accomplish several things that are critical to a coaching conversation: 

  • They put the coachee in the driver’s seat in determining the conversation’s outcome. 
  • They assume that there will be a result of some kind. 
  • They are motivational. 

The words “work on,” “meaningful,” and “result” suggest that there will be progress, which contrasts with the lack of hope that the coachee may have been feeling prior to the conversation. 

So, the best way to determine the outcome of the conversation is to simply ask the other person these outcome questions.

Keith Webb

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr Keith Webb, PCC, is the founder and President of Creative Results Management, a global training organization focused on equipping Christian leaders. For 20 years, Keith lived in Japan, Indonesia, and Singapore. These experiences led him to question conventional leadership practices. In 2004, Keith created the COACH Model® and since then, a series of International Coach Federation (ICF) approved coaching training programs. In the revised and expanded edition of The COACH Model for Christian Leaders, Keith shares the process that he taught more than 10,000 leaders around the world use to solve problems, reach goals, and develop people. Keith blogs at keithwebb.com.

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