A Coach Should Not Ask Why

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When you are using questions with your coaching client, you should try to avoid the why question as much as possible, because when you do, you are setting yourself to be misguided.
There are several situations where you may wish to ask - Why? Let's examine them: Why did you...
When you ask your coachee why he did or thought something, you are asking him about his own psychological processes.
First, he may not be objective about it, and may give you a misleading answer without intending to.
And second, unless you are a Psychologist as well as a coach, you have no training and no authority to go into the coachee psychology.
Trust me - you do not need to go there to get your results.
Why did...
someone else...
When you are asking you client to explain why someone else did anything, you are asking for an opinion or an assumption.
It may be right, it may be wrong.
Either way, it is not objective fact.
Unless you really have to, try to avoid asking your client to explain someone else.
In fact, you often find that your client's harmful behavior stems from just such an unfounded interpretation.
A much better question would be - What? What did you think about this? What did you feel? What is the principle behind your action? What was the rational for your decision? What were the circumstances? What was the outcome? What did he decide to do? What have you gained? Etc.
'What' questions direct the coachee to facts, and facts are much better substance for your coaching process then opinions and assumptions.
Where, when and who are also good questions.
Stay with the facts as much as you can.

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