Coaching and the art of asking beautiful questions

On September 30th, I will be giving the keynote speech at the 2016 Capital Coaches Conference in Bethesda, Maryland. My talk is titled, “Coaching and the Art of Asking Beautiful Questions.” And one of the things I’ll be discussing is my belief that coaches should not only be asking their clients great questions—which is something good coaches have always done—but they should also be teaching their clients how to become beautiful questioners themselves.

Why is this so important? Because we seem to be moving into a new era of business that calls for a different kind of leadership. Leaders of yesterday tended to behave and act as if they had all the answers (which is why you were supposed to be following them). But in today’s complex, fast-changing world, no one can have all the answers—and leaders now must be curious learners, adapters, and questioners. They also increasingly are expected to be “coach leaders”—who lead others by teaching, encouraging, and asking questions (as opposed to just barking out orders). Bottom line: the leaders of today and tomorrow will need to have good question-asking skills. Someone’s got to help them get better at developing this skill, and that’s where coaches come in; coaches tend to be great questioners themselves, and are in a great position to teach questioning.

If you have any connection to coaching (or you work in human resources or leadership development), you might want to check out the 2016 CCC ( This year’s theme, Designing Innovative Conversations, covers an array of cutting-edge content and skill-building workshops designed for both seasoned and aspiring coaches. Among the areas to be covered: Design Thinking; Neuroscience; Mindfulness; Storytelling; Peer Group Coaching; Changing Habits; Leadership Development; and Business Development. The other keynoter, speaking on Saturday Oct. 1, will be the noted performance improvement guru Dr. Richard Chang, author of The Passion Plan. I’m looking forward to speaking at this event, but more than that, I’m looking forward to doing a lot of listening and learning.