One of the skills that leadership coaches bring to the table for their executive clients is the ability to challenge them. If you are coaching a leader who is at the C-level, they may not be challenged enough by their colleagues, and as a leadership coach, you have an incredible opportunity.
With the skill of challenging the client, you may be:
- Asking the leader to step up to a bigger game
- Pointing out inconsistencies in answers and behaviors
- Holding your client accountable to higher standards
- Take on a new way of thinking that will push them to the edge of who they are and who they want to become.
The questions I most often ask that seem to really work for my executive clients include:
- You seem to me like a big player, but you seem to be playing small right now. What’s going on?
- As someone who has told me you want to be challenged and you are up to big things right now, the decisions you are making seem to be pulling you a few step backwards. As a coach, how can I help in challenging you to move forward?
- My gut is telling me this goal is not big enough for you. I want to ask you to double the goal. What would that look like?
- I’m hearing you say “I’ll try” or “I might” or “Probably”. Those sound like they have an open back door…a way for you to get out of this challenge. I am going to ask you to shift your language to “I will”, and we will then talk about the how of getting where you want to go.
- You seem a bit wary of this big challenge. Other people have achieved this goal. What is the gremlin inside of you telling you about your ability to achieve this big challenge (everyone has gremlins, so get them on the table).
- This goal seems a bit narrow and a little weak. What would it take for you to expand the goal and make it rock solid?
- In order to reach this challenge, what behaviors will you stop doing and start doing to accomplish this goal?
There are so many great challenge questions, and I would love to hear from you your list of questions you ask when challenging a client. Just leave them in the comment section below.