Blog FPO
By: Aaron Wolowiec | May, 28 2021

Coaching Questions Guaranteed to Get Your Team Talking

ask sign with a light

Inspired by International Coaching Week, a week-long global celebration in May that educates the public about the value of working with a professional coach and acknowledges the results and progress made through the coaching process, the theme of the The Gardian Blog this month is coaching.

As a consultant, facilitator and coach, I’ve learned over the last 10 years that it’s impossible to single-handedly answer every challenge facing my team and our clients. In more cases than not, asking powerful questions helps individuals and groups work through the process of self-discovery to generate some of their own solutions. The coach’s role is to serve as a collaborative and inquisitive partner, drawing out information and creating greater self-awareness. 

But it’s not about asking questions at random. The intentionality of the questions and their order, along with the coach’s ability to listen and engage with the cues and clues embedded in the answers, allows the people, their perspectives and, ultimately, their ideas and recommendations to shine through. Often, these insights, coupled with my own knowledge and expertise, create new options for consideration and action.

Throughout our 10-year history, the Event Garde team has come to rely on well-researched models to support our internal work and collaboration among fellow team members, as well as our external work, relationships and deliverables with clients and other key stakeholders. Following are just some of the models and coaching questions we've found beneficial and subsequently adopted, and which align with our core values


Coaching Questions

Based upon the ATD Expert Coach Program I had the opportunity to take in 2019, I’ve assembled 67 powerful coaching questions you can ask in just about any scenario (e.g., one-on-on meeting, staff meeting, committee meeting, board meeting or strategy meeting) to jumpstart a journey of self-reflection and decision-making. Examples include:

  • What obstacles could you encounter and how will you overcome them?
  • What criteria could you use to evaluate each path?
  • How will this action help you reach your goal?
  • How did you come to that conclusion?
  • What are the consequences of ignoring feedback?

Conflict Resolution 

Conflict is a healthy part of personal and professional relationships, particularly as people work closely together on multiple projects over time. Conflict often arises as a result of breakdowns in communication, expectations (both spoken and unspoken), and trust. While many might prefer avoiding conflict altogether, it only manages to “pop-up” in unexpected ways at later times. Left unaddressed, it can have a negative and lasting impact on both relationships and outcomes.

In alignment with the four-part nonviolent communication process developed by Marshall B. Rosenberg, following are the most basic four questions to ask as you work to resolve conflict:

  1. What did I observe?
  2. How did I feel?
  3. What do I need?
  4. What do I want this person to do?


Feedback, which is often used as a basis for improvement, can seem like a frightening endeavor, particularly when it happens only once a year as part of an annual performance review. This is compounded by the fact that seemingly arbitrary written and unwritten rules often guide the process. For example, when “no one is allowed to get the highest rating,” but compensation and advancement opportunities are directly tied to review outcomes, it’s no wonder that feedback can set the team on edge.

But an annual review process also means that valuable feedback which could be used on an ongoing basis to make micro changes to knowledge, confidence and performance over time is withheld, inhibiting both short- and long-term growth and development. And in the worst-case scenarios, can actually be counterproductive by surprising and demoralizing team members. To that end, following are the questions we use almost daily to identify, share and act on feedback:

  1. TO THE TEAM MEMBER: What was one thing you were mindful of as you were (e.g., leading, training, consulting, facilitating, producing, managing)?
  2. TO THE GROUP: What is a gift you observed demonstrated by the team member that you appreciated? [Tell them directly vs. speaking about them in the third person.]
  3. TO THE TEAM MEMBER: What is one thing you will do differently the next time?
  4. TO THE TEAM MEMBER: Are you open to constructive feedback? [If yes, provide observations without judgment, blame or shame.]

For additional information about Event Garde’s conflict resolution and feedback models, visit our website. In the meantime, what questions have you found most beneficial in eliciting productive discussion from your team?

Image retrieved from Pixabay.

Great Events Equals Better Member Engagement for Association Chapters

The mainstay of association chapters has been their chapter events, polls show that the preference for virtual options has risen to nearly 50%, a stat that has a compound effect on member engagement. Where does this all leave chapters? In a precarious position. The good news is that chapters who throw out yesterday’s playbook will find themselves on more solid footing. Here are three strategies worth helping chapters to embrace. 

Read More >

Gardian of the Month: Tracy King

Tracy King is our Gardian of the Month! Learn about a subject she'd like to learn more about, her preference for networking styles, and read about a recent experience that she considered profoundly impactful. 

Read More >

From Gadgets to Growth:The Influence of Technology Innovation on Social Transformation

The decision to mandate antiracism or diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) training should be made carefully. While antiracism training can be valuable and effective when implemented thoughtfully, it is most effective when participants are engaged, willing, and open to the learning process. Mandating it for individuals who are not receptive may lead to a superficial compliance without genuine understanding or behavior change. It can also derail the experience for those who are receptive and came to learn. Models of innovation primarily used in business, marketing, and technology, may provide some insight.

Read More >
By: Kate Pojeta | Sep, 1 2023

The Real Estate of the Conference Namebadge (Part II: The Extras)

Kate covered the basics for the front of your name badge not too long ago, now it's time to consider the extras you may or may not want to include.

Read More >
By: Kara Nacarato | Aug, 25 2023

Tackling your Event Management Staffing Struggles with an Outside Solution

Today, more than ever, organizations are challenged with staffing issues. Whether the challenge lies in finding the right staff member, or budget constraints keep you from hiring a full-time employee, securing an outside contractor may be the perfect solution. Here are just a few of the benefits that come along when you bring in an external partner to plan and manage your meetings and events.

Read More >

Gardian of the Month: John Bacon

John Bacon is our Gardian of the Month! Find out his strategy for helping someone learn a difficult topic, he share his favorite network and why it's special, how he thinks mentorship aids in knowledge transfer, the book he can't live without, and what the title of a book about his life would be called. 

Read More >