9 powerful life coach questions: keep it simple (and stupid)

There are several abilities that will help you if you want to succeed as a life coach. Authenticity, the ability to really listen, and the desire to help other human beings to name a few.

In addition to those, a successful life coach needs to know how to ask relevant and effective questions.

So as a public service, below is a short list of 9 life coach questions that I found out to be very effective, and usually, lead to the anticipated “a-ha” moment for the client. A good practice could be asking yourself these questions as well, and honestly answer them. I guarantee that you will have your own “a-ha” moment if you are really sincere.

What can you learn from that?

This question usually comes after a bad experience that the client has. The bad experience has already happened, so you might as well make the best of it. With every bad experience it’s important to learn the lesson, otherwise a valuable failure is wasted.

This question is usually used to re-frame a situation, and show that even the bad times we have, hold the potential to become a learning experience that will make us grow.

What are you willing to die for?

This question focuses the person on what he really finds important, because when you weigh your life against something, it better be worth it.

All though the question is more relevant to people which do not have any pre-defined goal that they want to achieve, it can also serve as a great motivation for anything.

If you are willing to die for your kids, for example, than you can use them as a great reason to become an excellent parent, and understand where do you want to invest your time in.

Do you mind if I ask a very personal question?

All though at first this might look like a stupid question to ask, it’s vital to ask it in order to gain permission. If the client does not agree to be probed deeper than any questions that will be asked will make him close up and will steer the session into a negative swerve.

People need to give their permission to others to share their personal information, otherwise they will not be honest, and there will no results.

If you did know, what the answer would be?

This also falls in the category of seemingly stupid questions, after all if you knew the answer to whatever the issue is, you would have solved it by yourself already, right? Wrong! You’d be surprised at the discoveries that this question achieves.

The answers I receive to this question usually surprise the client as well. It’s as though that by asking the question the client actually starts thinking differently than he normally would have, and the focus shifts to finding a solution rather than dwelling on the problem.

On a scale of 1 – 10 how honest have you been about this, with others, with yourself?

If the score the client give is any less than 10, then I know that I can dig further and find out what is really bugging the client. If he is not completely honest about any issue, then there is something that he feels is too embarrassing/scary/painful to give any attention to.


The usual follow up question to the one above is: What is it that you are not telling yourself/others?

This question usually lead the client to the surprising realization that he is holding something back, and after a short silence, it usually comes out.

What else?

I love this question!

It’s so simple and yet so powerful. This one never fails.

When a client feels stuck on any subject, this question pushes him out of his comfort zone to discover what else lies within, and extracts what he didn’t know he has.

I have never yet encountered a situation where I didn’t get an eye opening answer to this one.

What’s next?

A close relative of the previous question, and has similar effects.

This one is used to focus the mind on figuring the next step of a newly composed idea or plan. This simple question has so much power that if you ask it continuously, you can get a pretty organized plan to achieve some idea the client have.

As a matter of fact, I use it regularly, but the results are better when someone which is not yourself is asking you this.

What does your intuition tell you about this?

A good “get unstuck” question. When I ask a client about something, and the answer received is “I don’t really know”, I usually ask the above question.

This question has the capacity to allow the client to think from his gut, rather than his logical mind. It’s as though when asked to do so, the client suddenly activates a different mental muscle and the answer pops up.

Who can help you with this?

Another great “get unstuck” question.

When the client really thinks he can no longer find the answer to the question by himself, we turn to other sources besides ourselves to find the next step. You’d be surprised at the amount of possibilities that open up once you look a bit further than yourself.

Whatever it is you are trying to achieve, there is someone out there who has done one of two things:

  1. Already achieved it
  2. knows someone who already achieved it

Find out who is that person and ask him how he did it, or in the case of the second point, get acquainted with that person

Some of these questions are great to ask yourself as well, to get new insights on the way you do things. Let me know in the comments below how did they help you.


4 thoughts on “9 powerful life coach questions: keep it simple (and stupid)

  1. Garen

    I think a lot of people need to improve their listening skills, and this is important for a life coach too. Not always seeing things from a good or bad standpoint is a great idea when listening to someone. There is always a third viewpoint which people commonly overlook.

  2. Hindy Pearson

    Very interesting post, I enjoyed reading it. I have been told all our answers are in our heart, we’re just too busy in our own heads to access them. Interesting how what sounds like similar questions, phrased slightly differently can warrant such different results. Sometimes all it takes is a conversation with someone objective, who knows what to ask, and how, to experience that life changing “ha ha” moment as my husband prefers to call it.

  3. hi Ido!
    Oh, as a therapist, I love those questions! They are such good ones! They help the client focus on themselves, open up on certain topics, and see things from a different light. I like the “let’s get deeper questions” but also the “let’s see how you can get unstuck” ones. I mean, oftentimes, clients do not see the light at the end of the tunnel, and sometimes it is about exploring the resources they have around them. Some might be obvious to us but not to them. And sometimes it is incredible the solutions they are able to find for themselves.

    • ido

      I also love to see how someone finds that the solution to certain question or issue was within him all along. Every time I see that spark of understanding lit in the eye of the client, I know that from now on his life will be better because of it.

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