Share Questions – Not Content

Excerpted from Chapter Two of The Coach Model for Christian Leaders by Keith E. Webb.

Note from Bob:  If you are a “Coach” or would like to be a “Coach” or would like to be able to “Coach” your Direct Reports, this is a “Must Have” book for your library. Keith not only gives you a sound coaching process, with great coaching questions, he has filled his book with “Dialogue” examples that will provide you with an understanding of exactly how each question can be used! Special thanks to Keith for graciously giving me permission to freely excerpt from his enlightening book!

My schools, university, and seminary trained me to teach, propose ideas, and find solutions. All Content. So, when someone brings a problem to me, my first impulse is to share my ideas on how to solve it. I was trained to provide answers (Content), not to help people find their own solutions (Process). 

Asking questions is an excellent method for helping the other person listen to the Holy Spirit. 

Questions naturally draw Content from the coachee. Questions cause the person to look within, look up, and look around for the answers. 

The examples below illustrate different things that come up in conversations. The first sentence demonstrates how we might be tempted to share our Content, and the second sentence gives an example of a Process question that’s directed towards drawing Content from the other person. 

Re: Topic
Content Statement: Today we are going to work on your character.
Process Question: What result would you like from our conversation? 

Re: Stories
Content Statement: Here’s how I handled that situation.
Process Question: How have you handled this type of situation in the past? 

Re: Facts
Content Statement: There are three things you need to know about this.
Process Question: What is important for you to know about this? 

Re: Information
Content Statement: I can give you a good book on that topic.
Process Question: Where could you find the information you need? 

Re: Ideas
Content Statement: How about a huge poster in the shape of a monkey?
Process Question: What ideas do you have? 

Re: Suggestions
Content Statement: If I were you, I would sit him down and tell him everything.
Process Question: What options do you see? 

Re: Insights
Content Statement: I think you are realizing that more self-discipline is needed here.
Process Question: What insights occur to you? 

Re: Action Steps
Content Statement: Here’s what I want you to do before next week.
Process Question: What will you do to move forward? 

Re: Decisions
Content Statement: You should do that.
Process Question: What decisions do you need to make? 

The power of coaching is in the Process. A coach empowers others by helping them to self-discover, gain clarity and awareness, as well as by drawing Content from them. 

A good coach draws out what the Holy Spirit has put in.

Keith E. 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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