The coaching question that’s like a mini-earthquake

September 18, 2023

I think about my coaching questions as being like warm hugs or cold showers, or mini-earthquakes. I wrote about the cold shower question a few weeks ago and am curious whether any of you tried it! 

The mini-earthquake coaching question is: What do you wish I would ask you right now? 

When I’ve asked clients this question, I’ve been shocked, at times, by their responses. Here are a few that stand out to me: 

  • I wish you would ask me how I’m managing to get up every morning and get here. It’s taking Herculean strength to do this. 
  • I wish you’d ask me about my dad. He’s dying, and he’s all I’m thinking about. 
  • I wish you’d ask me why I don’t quit. I can’t think about that, but it’s probably what I need to do. 

When I asked this question, I had no idea that my first client was having such a hard time, that the second was losing her father, or that the third was contemplating quitting. It was because I asked the mini-earthquake question that they were able to share something really important with me. 

This question is like a mini-earthquake because it interrupts our usual conversation. It asks the client to surface what’s most important to them, what’s most on their mind, and what they don’t think they can share. It’s an invitation to center themselves. It usually feels a little uncomfortable to all of us (like a mini-earthquake) but it also often opens things up in an important way. 

 

I guarantee you’ll be surprised by what happens when you try this. Give it a shot.

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