Principle #17 in Jack Canfield’s book “The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be” is “Ask! Ask! Ask!

This principle had a profound impact on my life over the years and I believe as a coach asking the right coaching questions is the key to helping your clients achieve what they actually want to achieve in their lives.

Asking the right questions is the key for us to deliver a quality coaching website as well.

Therefore, we asked some of the top coaches:

What is your favourite coaching question and why?

I believe we have a list of powerful questions and how these questions are helping these top coaches find success for their clients for years.

I’m thankful to all the life coaches for their generosity in sharing their secrets for success. 🙏

Don’t forget to share your favourite coaching question in the comments below after reviewing all these responses.


Farrah Miller is a Intuitive Angelic Healer & Health Coach, helping millennial women  heal inner child, create healthier mindset and bodies, cultivate more joy, peace, purpose, and align with their highest version

Favourite coaching question and why:

What are some options you have in this situation?

I love asking this question because of these three reasons. 

1. There is always an option. You are born with wisdom and intelligence to figure things out.
2. Perceptions creates our reality, when you change your perception, your thoughts create with emotion and solutions can manifest. 
3. We have the answers to our challenges available, we just have to be willing to ask the right questions and take the opportunity to look deep within to find what is that causing this conflict and how to allow the solution to appear.

Laura Weiner-Kiser works as a speaker, certified personal trainer, nutrition specialist, and certified health and life coach. For the last decade, her mission has been to help women build a bridge from where they are to where they want to be. Laura simplifies neuroplasticity to make it a usable tool for anyone who is ready to heal the unhealthy relationships they have in their life. Whether that be to food, movement, communication, time, or themselves. Laura’s passion radiates from the stage and empowers the audience to find their inner power in order to become the best version of themselves. 

Laura helps them heal the relationship they have with themselves and their bodies. She does so by helping clients deepen their understanding around how food, exercise and emotions work together to create their health

Favourite coaching question and why:

If (challenge) was a solution to a problem, what would that problem be? 

Often people intertwine inside problems and outside solutions. For example, if you had back pain you’d likely go to a physical therapist over a social worker (outside problem, outside solution). Whereas if you’re feeling depressed you’re more likely to go to a social worker over a physical therapist (inside problem, inside solution). These examples make sense, but when they are intertwined we don’t get what we want. 

I frequently hear clients who struggle overeating and in turn then bullying themselves. Applying my question it might sound like, If overeating was a solution to a problem, what would that problem be? I’ve gotten answers like feeling lonely, not feeling seen, not having control or feeling overwhelmed. This allows me to get to the source of the problem. Overeating is just the wrong solution. 

It’s important for me that my clients understand every part of who they are has helped them at some point and time. It was a solution to a previous problem, it helped them cope with certain life challenges. This isn’t something to judge, rather something to appreciate, respect and consider if it’s time to upgrade and find alternative solutions to the same problem. Our brain is always trying to protect us, we just don’t always enjoy the experience. With this new knowledge it opens up the space to face the problem head on and create alternative ways to cope with the challenges of life. 


3. Jeff Roth

Jeff Roth is a leadership and executive coach along with a Career coach. His focus is on helping others see around corners, develop greater self and situational awareness, and significantly increase their effectiveness and ability to accomplish more with greater ease. Moreover, he is a Professional Certified Coach accredited from ICF.

Favourite coaching question and why:

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

Oftentimes, a client believes they’re limited by external factors – time, resources, others opinions, things they can’t control.

Through my work with them, they come to understand that it’s often fear that limits them – fear of the unknown, fear of not having experience, fear of embarrassment or being judged, etc. 

This question shifts their mindset to visualize a future state where fear is not limiting them. They gather their confidence, recall their past successes, and identify concrete next steps to take toward that vision of their future.

Bea Kim 1

4. Bea Kim

Bea Kim is a life coach, executive coach, career coach and transitional coach. She helps people find purpose in their lives. She also offers corporate coaching and workshops. Along with coaching, She facilitates conversations for the Stanford GSB Women In Management program.

Favourite coaching question and why:

What would success be at the end of our call? 

It makes my clients dig deeper in what they’re actually looking for in a call with me – is it for clarity? is it to better understand their motivations? to make a decision on something? to process a situation or an emotional state? It’s a question I encourage anyone to use for any type of call, not just coaching – make sure you are aligned on what the desired outcome is for a conversation or meeting! 

This question can also be broadened and used for your own reflections – say, a weekly intention or a weekly reflection. What would success look like for me at the end of this week? at the end of this day? Success can be defined however you’d like – it could be a feeling (to feel accomplished) or actual tasks to be completed. You can have the question serve you and the people you’re meeting.

Jordan Carroll is a career and business coach, most commonly known as The Remote Job coach. Outside of speaking and teaching concepts of remote work and job-seeking, He is an artist at heart. Whether through video, writing, or podcasting, he is always creating helpful content.

Favourite coaching question and why:

My favorite question is dependent on the situation and the issue we’re trying to solve.

For example, if I feel a client is having trouble getting clarity because they are overcomplicating a situation, I might ask them a simple question like, “How would you do this if it was easy?”

If someone is having trouble making a decision I’ll ask them, “What are all the criteria you need to understand to be able to make a decision?” Typically people defer to TIME to make a decision — i.e. they will pick an arbitrary timeline — I’ll make a decision in X months… but that ignores the actual criteria needed to make the decision, which is far more important.

I like to use the projection technique and let the person coach themselves in some situations. For instance, if they are having a problem, I might ask them to imagine I am them, and say, “If I was [describe specifically the situation they are in], what would you recommend I do as the first step?” Focusing on just the first step is really important because many people think they need to know all the answers before acting, which isn’t true.

I like to sometimes open up a brainstorm if I feel like we need to evaluate different opportunities, “What are all the options available to you?” Then from there, we can look at the different paths and they can give that valuable perspective for themselves.

If someone is focusing on something they can’t control or something that’s very far in the future, I like to ask them, “Do you need to know the answer to this right this second?” Usually, they’ll realize they are fretting over something they don’t need to worry about.

All of these are meant to help someone realize that deep down, they often know the answer, they just need permission to use it.

Jennifer Tardy is a career success and executive coach. She helps job seekers find careers they were meant for and recruiters how to create diverse work environments. She brings over 14 years of experience in this field.

Favourite coaching question and why:

When it comes to your desired career, what are some hurdles that have gotten in your way, or keep getting in your way? 

As a career coach, one of my responsibilities is to help identify and remove obstacles that stand between my clients and their career goals. Asking this question not only helps me to see what they perceive/define as obstacles, but it also allows me to see if these are more internal or external, self-inflicted or coerced? It is a great launching pad for further discovery and development. 

Amy Smith 1

7. Amy Smith

Amy Smith is a Business and LinkedIn Strategist, coach, and speaker helping business owners, coaches, and consultants launch and grow their businesses online.

Her career has spanned Canada, UK, and Australia working within the Human Resources, Business Development, and Coaching space.

Favourite coaching question and why:

What will it cost you if things remain the same and unchanged?

The reason I love this question so much is that it helps people to realize that there is always an opportunity cost to staying the same. Most people worry about change or have anxiety/fear about the unknown and as a result, get trapped in their comfort zone and frustrated by the lack of growth in their life/business/career.

However, what they fail to realize is the real cost of NOT making a decision or not taking a leap of faith into something new. For example, I speak with corporate leaders and executives every week who want to make the leap out of their corporate jobs and into their own coaching or consulting business but they are focused only on the cost associated with starting a business.

Asking this question allows them to reflect on the actual accumulated cost of staying as they are. Such as the cost on their mental health from being in a stressful position working 12-hour days, the cost of missing out on time with their family and not having the flexibility and freedom they crave in their life and the cost of trading ‘time for money’ for the long term, the cost of disappointing themselves when they continue to see others doing what they know deep down they could also be doing.

It also brings out some surprising answers and areas of discussion that become really impactful towards their success in making the leap.

Fay Blakey is an ICF accredited coach,  passionate about self-development, realizing potential, and developing performance, and growth. She works with leaders and professionals to help them develop so that they can achieve greatness including their purpose, vision, and goals both personally, and professionally.

She helps her clients to focus on themselves –  developing into the person they want to be, both internally and externally. Her coaching supports the development of leadership skills by creating the space to consider where they are now, what they need to do next and exactly how to get there.   

Favourite coaching question and why:

Is that true?

Clients often come to coaching sessions with their own beliefs – beliefs that they may have held for many years or even generational beliefs. Beliefs that are long-held feel very true – but that’s not necessarily the case. Sometimes, a client’s beliefs can get in the way of them being able to move forward in a particular circumstance. Asking if their thoughts and belief is true allows the client to challenge their own assumption. This challenge can break down their belief and allow them to think in totally new ways that support what they want to achieve. 

Executive and Career Coach, Speaker, and Facilitator, Tammy Gooler Loeb is passionate about working with clients to achieve growth and deeper satisfaction in their careers and work relationships. She does this by providing individual coaching, training, speaking programs, and team facilitation in a wide variety of industries and professions.

Tammy brings over 25 years of professional experience to her work and is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach by the Coaches Training Institute.

Favourite coaching question and why:

My favorite question is a succession of questions – I start with: On a scale of 1 – 10, with 1 being your least preferred option and 10 being the optimal choice, where do you see yourself or your situation currently with regard to the goal we are discussing?  What does that number mean to you? Tell me more (if they only give me a general description).  What would it look like if it was 2 points higher on the scale? What would you be doing or how would you feel in that place?

This is one of my favorite lines of coaching question because it enables the client to connect with their situation from an intuitive or internal perspective while also seeing it in a more objective light. From there, we can develop a vision, goal, and action plan for moving forward. It’s a great way to help someone connect between their head and heart to get unstuck and move into action to get the results they are seeking.

Jessica Sweet is a Credentialed People Expert and Career Coaching Expert. She brings over 13 years of experience in the coaching industry. She has helped hundreds of clients land their next jobs, get that promotion, start a business and figure out their next careers.

Favourite coaching question and why:

Can you say more about that?

It’s open ended, and it’s asking for clients to elaborate, so you’re inevitably getting more information, which is useful. 
It’s neutral, so you’re not leading clients in any direction. There’s no judgment attached, it’s just pure curiosity. 
Used at the right time, clients go deeper into something that’s important to explore. At the same time, they don’t feel self-conscious. 

I find it to be a powerful way to open a conversation further. 

Jill Hauwiller, M.A. is the founder and principal consultant at Leadership Refinery. She has helped individuals and organizations around the globe reach their full potential for more than twenty years. Jill has worked in Talent Management, Organizational Development, and Human Resources roles for Fortune 500 corporations specializing in high-tech manufacturing, as well as higher education and professional services organizations.

She brings vast, cross-sector experiences in assessing and developing talent, working globally, and achieving lasting impact on individuals, teams, and organizational results.

Favourite coaching question and why:

What do you want (no, really want)?

This question and the parenthetical follow-up, is so important when working with clients. I use it throughout my coaching engagements, sometimes even multiple times in a session. Placing emphasis on different words in the question can prompt the client to think more comprehensively and put themselves in the driver’s seat. I am no longer surprised by the difference in answers between “what do YOU want?” and “what do you WANT?”

Asking this question is useful for clarifying goals, especially when the coaching engagement is just starting. For both the client and coach to be successful, the coach has to deeply understand what the client is working toward. When a client is feeling stuck at work due to a career plateau or difficulty making a decision, this question can help propel them forward by clarifying both the goal and the action steps. Making meaningful progress is an essential and rewarding part of the coaching process!

Going back to the question itself and why it is so effective: Many clients have a ready, superficial answer when asked what they want, and it is probably even true. However, those quick answers tend to be incomplete. By spending time getting to the “why” behind the answer, the coach and client can begin down the path to self-discovery and self-awareness. Because coaching for emotional intelligence is such an important part of my practice, I have found that this question is key for building EQ capabilities. The question serves as a starting point for curiosity, personal inquiry and reflection. It allows the client and coach to consider what is working now and what may have to change to get to the desired state or goal. 

I encourage you to give it a try in your own coaching engagements!

Tiffany Uman  is a Career Strategy Coach empowering ambitious professionals to be set up for the most success, avoid blind spots that cripple their progression and fast track achieving their career goals in record time. 

She is a former Senior Director with 13 years of experience in the corporate Fortune 500 space, where she achieved 7 promotions in under 10 years, was Head of Marketing on multi-million dollar brands, was named an internal transformation change agent and has received an executive business certification from MIT.

Favourite coaching question and why:

Looking back on your life from your retirement, what would you have hoped to achieve professionally?

The reason I love this question is that, compared to regret which has a negative connotation and makes it feel like you can’t do anything about it, this question fuels possibility. It inspires you to think “what do I really want for myself?”. Then, if what you’re doing right now isn’t that, or it’s not something helping you work towards that, it’s a good sign to take a step back and reflect on what’s next.

Sharon K. Summerfield is a holistic nutritionist and certified breath coach, with an extensive business background and the founder of The Nourished Executive. She works with business professionals sharing strategies to invest in their wellbeing, to manage stress and prevent burnout.

Favourite coaching question and why:

Are you focusing on your true priorities?

I like to ask this question as often we are pulled in many directions. Looking at our true priorities, helps us put in place boundaries that align with our values and purpose, and bring our best self to all we do.  

Joanne Mallon is a Media Career Coach. Her coaching is focused on your future, which makes it different from counselling or therapy which examine your past. She has helped clients in changing their careers, boosting confidence, restarting careers, negotiating better pays. Moreover, she is an established author of many books.

Favourite coaching question and why:

If you were operating at 100% confidence, what would you be doing?

I like it because the answers are often so unexpected and it’s a great way to get to the heart of what a client really wants (as opposed to what they think they should want).

Laura likes to call herself a creative soul guide & spiritual confidence facilitator. Her goal is to support women in finding, embracing, trusting and loving themselves through spiritual support, self-development and creativity, but to also facilitate safe and nurturing spaces in which they can be heard, seen, and held, beautifully as you are

Favourite coaching question and why:

If nothing else mattered, (no financial ties, no logistics to worry about, no social pressures, no guilt) who would you be?

My mission is to support my clients in getting to the point where they have created a life where they are confident and fulfilled enough, so the above are no longer obstacles, mental blocks or excuses.

So to find out who they would give us a goal to work towards, an idea of their “if nothing else mattered” wish. It also gets them thinking on why they aren’t doing it already, so gives us information to create a road map of how they may achieve that and how best I can support them in doing so. It facilitates so much, yet so simple

Vicky Henderson is a Mindset Revolutionary, Emotional Intelligence Specialist and multiple award-winning coach, mentor, trainer and speaker.

She works with teenagers, young adults, adults, business owners, and leaders to boost their performance.

Favourite coaching question and why:

How will you know when this problem has disappeared?

I love this question because it plants that seed in the subconscious mind that the ‘problem’ will disappear. It then gets the client to project into the future and identify what life without the problem will look like/sound like/ feel like. This plants these ideas in the subconscious mind too.

She works with clients to develop emotional empowerment and compassionate boundary setting skills. She also launched The Rebound Way last year, a self-development community that supports people in learning to adapt effectively to change and feel epic in their bodies.

Favourite coaching question and why:

If you knew you were going to fail and nobody was going to connect with your work, what would you still absolutely, without a doubt still have to create in this lifetime?

This is one of my favorite questions because fear of failure and doubt so often get in our way of creating what our heart-of-hearts, the center of our being desires to create. If you knew it was going to fail, what is it that’s so deeply meaningful to you that you’d create it anyways?

This question clears fear out of the picture by asserting, if the worst case scenario comes true, would you still take action to create what you want to bring into the world? If the answer is yes, that’s a powerful place to take action from!

Kinita provides Cultural Education and Transformational Coaching to encourage, empower and equip individuals and groups to grow forward in their leadership roles. They have over 50 years of experience in the areas of leadership development, coaching, cultural education, and women empowerment.

Favourite coaching question and why:

After a client has shared about a situation and they are looking for a solution, I ask

What are you willing to do about it?

This helps the client to go from “I want to do this or that” TO “I am willing to / I can do this or that” in order to heal and grow forward in their story! 

Depending on their response I can gauge how far they are going to go in the coaching process I have set up!

Michelle has over 20 years of experience working with individuals with disabilities in educational and corporate settings. her passion for helping individuals see their weaknesses as a strength has paved the way for her success and theirs.

Believing that disability is an asset, Michelle is on a mission to build sustainably inclusive practices & experiences for all. Grounded in that mission she works with clients to disrupt the company mindset around disability, resulting in authentically developed, sustainable processes that are inclusive by design.

Favourite coaching question and why:

Friend, what can I do to help you be successful?

The word Friend- removes the power dynamic that can sometimes exist between coach and client- it levels the playing field and reaffirms that as a coach I come from a place of curiosity rather than judgment.

Based on the work of Lev Vygotsky, the question honors the Zone of Proximal Development but does so in a way that encourages the individual to identify their own zone, as well as the strategic steps a guide can take to support their trajectory forward.


We appreciate all the top coaches for taking the time and share their favourite life coaching questions and why. We hope these questions will help other coaches to improve their coaching and find more success for their clients.

What is your favourite coaching question and why?

Feel free to share it in the comments below.

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About Rana

Building a website that drives traffic and generates leads is challenging. Rana is a website development consultant and a Co-Founder of WP Minds, a website consulting service that helps coaches, trainers, authors, and creatives to create winning website strategy, develop high converting websites, attract visitors and convert leads into customers to grow their businesses.

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