Powerful questions play a crucial role in the coaching relationship. They may serve different purposes at various stages of the development process, but overall, asking the right life coaching questions will encourage the client to come up with their own solutions and raise awareness of their current situation. If you lead a simple conversation without incorporating purposeful questions, it will be difficult to incite the same accountability that produces outcomes.
Life coaches are not there to provide a quick fix but to allow clients to reach conclusions on their own terms through your advice. Even if you believe you are dealing with a well-known pattern, and feel compelled to solve it for them, one way or another, it will just not have the same impact as a guided thoughtful introspection based on well-structured coaching questions.
Read on to better understand how to make a bigger impact on every single coaching session.
Note: Bonsai is helping tons of coaching professionals to seamlessly manage administrative tasks and client relationships. We offer excellent tools to create tailored questionnaires, intake forms, invoicing and much more! Get your free 14-day trial today.
Effective life coaching sessions happen when you can maintain an open and sincere conversation with your clients about their goals. You want to focus more on listening than on interrogations, which is why asking the right coaching questions (and in the right way) is essential in your practice.
In order to do this, you want to make sure every session includes open ended coaching questions that encourage your clients to self-reflect on their actions, stay focused on solutions, share their motivations, and identify unhealthy habits in their current reality. Let's do some further reading into some details about these vital types of coaching questions.
Recommended reading: Read our life coaching intake questionnaire to discover the kinds of questions a life coach should ask.
Monosyllabic responses to questions are ineffective for coaching; if you ask yes-or-no questions the result will often lack substance and you will need multiple follow-up questions to get the information you need. Instead, ask questions that begin with what, where, when, how, and who, which should elicit a more reflective answer.
This leads to a more thorough conversation that gives you information you can use to better understand your clients and involve them in discussions about how to grow and improve their skills. Keep in mind that using "why" inquiries will also get an open-ended response, but because they can come across as critical and aggressive, it's advisable to use them very occasionally to avoid creating hostility.
Asking your clients to consider their routines, behaviors, or practices and challenging them to view things from a different angle in order to move forward is a great life coaching method. Reflective questions should be created to increase self-awareness of performance or behavior as a means of analysis and improvement, whether the issue is one of professional development, personality or the need for them to grow in a particular area.
These type of coaching questions will also liberate your clients from any emotional baggage they may have brought to the coaching session. It also gives them an opportunity to stay objective and maintain a certain level of emotional distance from their own actions and behavior. Having a more subjective perspective will be extra helpful to achieve growth and change.
Note: Try Bonsai to create your life coach intake form. Our software lets you create and design beautiful intake forms and various other templates. See for yourself how easy it is. Claim your 14-day free trial here.
During your coaching sessions, you will often have to help your client shift their focus from a negative to a positive perspective. This can be challenging at times, especially if coaches haven't established a good level of rapport yet. So including a set of powerful questions to direct the conversation in a way that is beneficial for both and allows the client to clearly see what resources they have available.
In order for your client to experience positive and fruitful life change, they must be the ones driving their own motivation. However, they expect you as their coach to support and encourage them to embrace growth and transition. Asking powerful coaching questions that help you understand what inspires them will make it a lot easier for you to achieve this goal.
Aside from their motivations, it's vital for you to comprehend their values as well as how they impact their behavior, choices and even how they perceive the world.
A skilled life coach can assist their clients in identifying harmful habits and providing the necessary coaching tools to replace them with more sustainable behaviors. Use powerful questions to identify bad habits, people in their life who may be incentivizing unhealthy behaviors, as well as any psychological or physical setting that may be hindering your client's way forward.
This may give you a different perspective into why your clients are struggling to build a better relationship with those around them and opens new possibilities to provide more structure to your program.
Now that you know the type of questions that will help you lead a successful coaching session, you can start implementing them into your regular interactions with clients. But not only that, you can also explore other options to not only discover this essential information as well as keep track of it for future references.
Bonsai offers you a great tool to create online questionnaires and client intake forms so you can get the answers you need to structure a better coaching program ahead of time. Our templates offer fully-customizable fields and you can add your own branding elements and tailor your forms to fit into your type of coaching (business, life and executive coaches welcome). We help you create unique documents that add value to your business.
A verbal contract (formally called an oral contract) refers to an agreement between two parties that's made —you guessed it— verbally.
Formal contracts, like those between an employee and an employer, are typically written down. However, some professional transactions take place based on verbally agreed terms.
Freelancers are a good example of this. Often, freelancers will take on projects having agreed on the terms and payment via the phone, or an email. Unfortunately, sometimes clients don't pull through on their agreements, and hardworking freelancers can find themselves out of pocket and wondering whether a legal battle is worth all the hassle.
The main differences between written and oral contracts are that the former is signed and documented, whereas the latter is solely attributed to verbal communication.
Verbal contracts are a bit of a gray area for most people unfamiliar with contract law —which is most of us, right?— due to the fact that there's no physical evidence to support the claims made by the implemented parties.
For any contract (written or verbal) to be binding, there are four major elements which need to be in place. The crucial elements of a contract are as follows:
Therefore, an oral agreement has legal validity if all of these elements are present. However, verbal contracts can be difficult to enforce in a court of law. In the next section, we take a look at how oral agreements hold up in court.
Most business professionals are wary of entering into contracts orally because they can difficult to enforce in the face of the law.
If an oral contract is brought in front of a court of law, there is increased risk of one party (or both!) lying about the initial terms of the agreement. This is problematic for the court, as there's no unbiased way to conclude the case; often, this will result in the case being disregarded. Moreover, it can be difficult to outline contract defects if it's not in writing.
That being said, there are plenty of situations where enforceable contracts do not need to be written or spoken, they're simply implied. For instance, when you buy milk from a store, you give something in exchange for something else and enter into an implied contract, in this case - money is exchanged for goods.
There are some types of contracts which must be in writing.
The Statute of Frauds is a legal statute which states that certain kinds of contracts must be executed in writing and signed by the parties involved. The Statute of Frauds has been adopted in almost all U.S states, and requires a written contract for the following purposes:
Typically, a court of law won't enforce an oral agreement in any of these circumstances under the statute. Instead, a written document is required to make the contract enforceable.
Contract law is generally doesn't favor contracts agreed upon verbally. A verbal agreement is difficult to prove, and can be used by those intent on committing fraud. For that reason, it's always best to put any agreements in writing and ensure all parties have fully understood and consented to signing.
Verbal agreements can be proven with actions in the absence of physical documentation. Any oral promise to provide the sale of goods or perform a service that you agreed to counts as a valid contract. So, when facing a court of law, what evidence can you provide to enforce a verbal agreement?
Unfortunately, without solid proof, it may be difficult to convince a court of the legality of an oral contract. Without witnesses to testify to the oral agreement taking place or other forms of evidence, oral contracts won't stand up in court. Instead, it becomes a matter of "he-said-she-said" - which legal professionals definitely don't have time for!
If you were to enter into a verbal contract, it's recommended to follow up with an email or a letter confirming the offer, the terms of the agreement , and payment conditions. The more you can document the elements of a contract, the better your chances of legally enforcing a oral contract.
Another option is to make a recording of the conversation where the agreement is verbalized. This can be used to support your claims in the absence of a written agreement. However, it's always best to gain the permission of the other involved parties before hitting record.
Fundamentally, most verbal agreements are legally valid as long as they meet all the requirements for a contract. However, if you were to go to court over one party not fulfilling the terms of the contract, proving that the interaction took place can be extremely taxing.
So, ultimately, the question is: written or verbal agreements?
Any good lawyer, contract law firm, or legal professional would advise you to make sure you formalize any professional agreement with a written agreement. Written contracts provide a secure testament to the conditions that were agreed and signed by the two parties involved. If it comes to it, a physical contract is much easier to eviden in legal circumstances.
Freelancers, in particular, should be aware of the extra security that digital contracts may provide. Many people choose to stick to executing contracts verbally because they're not sure how to write a contract, or they think writing out the contract terms is too complicated or requires expensive legal advice. However, this is no longer the case.
Today, we have a world of resources available at our fingertips. The internet is a treasure trove of invaluable information, platforms, and software that simplifies our lives. Creating, signing, and sending contracts has never been easier. What's more, you don't have to rely on a hiring a lawyer to explain all that legal jargon anymore.
There are plenty of tools available online for freelancers to use for guidance when drafting digital contracts. Tools like Bonsai provide a range of customizable, vetted contract templates for all kinds of freelance professionals. No matter what industry you're operating in, Bonsai has a professional template to offer.
A written contract makes the agreement much easier to prove the terms of the agreement in case something were to go awry. The two parties involved can rest assured that they're legal rights are protected, and the terms of the contract are sufficiently documented. Plus, it provides both parties with peace of mind to focus on the tasks at hand.
Bonsai's product suite for freelancers allows users to make contracts from scratch, or using professional templates, and sign them using an online signature maker.
With Bonsai, you can streamline and automate all of the boring back-office tasks that come with being a freelancer. From creating proposals that clients can't say no to, to sealing the deal with a professional contract - Bonsai will revolutionize the way you do business as a freelancer.
Why not secure your business today and sign up for a free trial?