Be Curious: Ask nonjudgmental questions

The Why

Coaching Prompts are designed to gather data, push thinking, and guide colleagues to do the heavy lifting toward solving problems. Coaching is most effective when done in the presence of evaluation and the absence of judgment, allowing curiosity to guide the prompts. Some of the prompts below can be turned into declarative statements depending on whether you are building a relationship with the coaching client or have an established, trusting one. 


Supporting States of Being

Step 1


Be Curious Prompts are in no particular order

  • What is clearer to you?

  • How are you leveraging your strengths?

  • What would you like me to know?

  • What would you like people to be saying about you a year from now?

  • Tell me more about that.

  • What have you already tried?

  • What are you doing that’s having an impact on students?

  • I’m wondering…

  • How have you solved other similar problems?

  • What’s at stake?

  • Are there things you are worried about regarding the process or outcome?

  • Do you have the tools you need?

  • In response to the colleague saying “I don’t know ask, “If you did know, what would you say?”

  • If you were coaching someone, what would you tell them?

  • How would you redirect that scene?

  • Can you articulate how your scope is wider this year than last year?

  • How will you know when you’re successful?

  • Does your staff know The Why?

  • Is it urgent?

  • What do you find challenging about leadership?

  • What lights you up?

  • Can you sort these tasks by importance?

  • What’s your strategy?

  • What are you encouraged by?

  • Do your teachers know what is expected of them?

  • Are you thinking as a teacher or a leader?

  • When you coach teachers, what are you learning?

  • How do you spend your time with teachers?

  • What are the 2 things you do really well that you can choose as priorities?

  • Are you mostly working on things you have passion for?

  • What can you delegate?

  • Silence.


Check in with your colleague during the session:

  • Is this helpful?

  • What do you need more of? Less of?


Close by asking: What's clearer to you?

This protocol works with students, too.

Potential Traps

  • "Why" questions sound accusatory and should be converted into "what" and "how" questions

  • Asking multiple questions at a time are confusing

  • Asking judgmental questions such as: Shouldn’t you find a way? Why did you do that? What’s the point of that?

*In each State of Being, I will toggle among pronouns She, They, and He.


Copyrighted by Linda Belans, EdD