coach asks good questions
The Coaching Experience

Let’s get real: provocative questions

High achievers. Successful people. Talented employees. Mindful leaders.

They all have their blinds spots. My job as a coach is to ask provocative questions to surface the root issues that are serving as blocks to their success, and help people resolve and remove those blocks, so that they can get back to the business of being great.

Clients have one of two responses to these provocative questions I pose to them about who they are, what they do, and what they want.

In the first type of response, high achievers or executive leaders will feel they ought to know the answer, yet don’t. And that’s a doozy of a situation to be in, because people are relying on them to know the answers. When they don’t, they interpret it as a failing on their part somehow. If this is you, then you might feel that having The Right Answers to All The Questions is the justification for the title you have or the level of salary you earn, and when you don’t know the answers, then… what does that say about you?

Good leaders have the right answers to all the questions… right?

In the second type of response, clients may know exactly the answers to my questions, but the answers are so distasteful to them that they don’t want to admit it to themselves, much less voice it to me. Because, after all…

Leaders shouldn’t feel uncertainty.
Achievers can’t lack drive or ambition.
Talent wouldn’t prefer to follow a path where their natural talent doesn’t lie.
Successful people are never lazy.
Loving parents don’t avoid their kids and prefer their smartphones.

And so… people deny these aspects of themselves. They sink deeper and deeper into dissatisfaction and paralysis, hoping that this “phase” of avoiding tough questions just runs its course, so life goes back to normal again. All because – when I ask questions about who they are, what they do, and what they want – they don’t want to admit, “I’m ______. I’m worried everyone is going to find out and realize I’m a fraud.”

The fascinating thing with most achievers is that of course they don’t believe a leader has to have all the answers; that’s ridiculous. Yet they have an internal standard for themselves that requires them to have most if not all of the right answers. My successful clients would never hold someone else to an impossible standard. Nope, they reserve that for themselves.

But recognizing that, my friends, is where the real magic and healing and course correction begins.


It’s time to explore what coaching – and a boatload of really excellent questions – can do for you. Removing your blocks, surfacing and embracing your expertise, leaning into discomfort and uncertainty in order to realize the gains of professional and personal growth – all of it.

Start with a free coaching mini-session to see what it’s like.

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