Coaching Questions to Respectfully Challenge Ideas

Leaders are accountable to achieve results and also to coach and develop their team.  Asking questions (also known as “coaching”) is a way to accomplish both.

Below are some questions you can ask to coach someone to think about their ideas or challenges from another perspective – with the goal of helping them have their own insight(s).

Before asking any of these questions, be sure to listen carefully and summarize what you heard to be sure you understand what they are saying accurately. Also, be sure to check your true intentions for challenging the other person’s ideas.  The intent should be to support, help, guide, or develop – not to embarrass, shame or manipulate.

Questions to challenge:

  • Have you considered….?
  • I wonder if…?
  • Could it be possible that…?
  • What are some of the (risks/benefits) of that decision?
  • What might be the potential impact to yourself? To others?
  • Are you open to another idea?
  • May I share with you a different perspective?


What are other coaching questions you use to challenge others respectfully?  Please share in the comment section below.

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Comments 4

  1. *Help me to understand how you arrived at that decision.
    *Sounds like you put a lot of thought into that. Please tell me how that came about.
    *Have you used that idea in similar situations? Did it work? Why or why not?
    *There are elements of that I really like. Let’s step back and look at the big picture and see how it all fits together.

    These are a few that I have used in the past that seemed to get good results. I really like yours too!

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  2. Thank you Leigh Ann. I appreciate your posts!

    I worked for a company that was intensely focused on employees using their empowerment to solve customer opportunities. There were times when employees maybe did more that was appropriate given the situation they were dealing with. This created a chance for learning but it had to be done in a way that did not make the employee feel less empowered. The approach was to thank them for taking care of the customer and ask if they felt sure they had resolved the situation and believed the customer would come back. After reinforcing their empowerment the questions to ask to open the coaching conversation was “If you had it to do over again, is there anything you might have done differently?” This crated a chance to explore any lessons they may have learned and share other options.

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      Becky – thanks for sharing that powerful “learning” question. It is a growth-mindset question which, as you said, is empowering and supportive – while at the same time development. Love it!

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