I’m a Certified Coach and These Are the 3 Questions I Ask in Every Session

UPDATED: May 7, 2024
PUBLISHED: October 19, 2021
I’m a Certified Coach and These Are the 3 Questions I Ask in Every Session

We’re making some changes over at the SUCCESS Line. Introducing your new host—me! I am the managing director of SUCCESS Coaching, and I am so excited to be picking up the baton from Rory Vaden on this project. 

This week, I am joined by Josh Ellis, editor-in-chief of SUCCESS. Together, we talk about what it means to be a coach and our hopes and dreams for the future of SUCCESS Coaching. Toward the end, I even lead Josh through a coaching session. 

The coaching space is severely underrated and undertrained. So many coaches spend all of their time telling clients what to do, but coaching is not telling. Coaching is asking deeply rooted powerful questions in order to elicit the response the person already has inside of them. And you can tell how powerful a question is by the silence found right after it. It is in that silence that personal development occurs. 

Read on for the top three most important questions I ask in a coaching session, and then try them out on yourself. Sit in the silence that follows and see what you hear. You might be surprised to see just how clear your inner voice really is. 

1. What could it be?

When I asked Josh what he’d like to focus on in his coaching session,  he explained that there was not one specific problem he needed help with. His life is pretty nice—he’s passionate about his work, and he has a loving and growing family. So how do I pull out of him the areas we want to focus our efforts on? 

We often find ourselves saying, “Eh, life is OK,” and then we settle there. But nobody gets up in the morning excited to tackle the mediocre. None of us want to settle for average. So the first question I start with is this: If it is just OK, what could it be? What would make it amazing?

For Josh, we discovered that what would make his life amazing is if he can fulfill his duty as a father and pass along his wisdom to his children—to make them the best versions of themselves, so they can bring more to the people in their own lives in the future. 

If your life feels “just OK,” what would it look like in your wildest dreams? What would it look like if you lived to your fullest potential? This question begins to uncover the areas of life that we need to focus our efforts on. 

2. Why is it important? 

Why is what you just named important to you? Why else? Without knowing why it is important to you, it will be very difficult to follow through on your commitments. 

In Josh’s case, he responded that he feels responsible for his children and obligated to bring everything to the table for them. Why else? His relationship with his father is the closest relationship in his own life and he would like to model that with his children. It would be a “dream come true” if he could give them what he wanted. 

Which leads us to our third and final question. 

3. How will you functionally make it happen? 

Now is the time for action. You’ve pin-pointed the area of your life you’d like to focus on, you’ve named why it is important to you, and now you need to actually make it happen. Laser in on the actions you need to take to practically and tangibly make the changes you desire. 

For Josh, that looks like blocking off 5:30 to 8 p.m. every night in his work calendar so that he can be fully present for his daughter’s dinner and bedtime. It looks like committing time to reading to her and taking her on walks to help her learn about the world

It is not enough to simply name the change you want to make; you must act on it. There are so many things you could do when you wake up every morning. Get intentional and decide: what will you do? 

The SUCCESS Line is no longer releasing new episodes on the SUCCESS Podcast Network, but you can still listen to the full conversation below.

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Ben Fairfield is the Managing Director of SUCCESS Coaching & a SUCCESS Certified Coach.