Sometimes a great question is the key to unlock an insight that helps people get ‘unstuck’ both personally and in their leadership. Exceptional coaches know how to use clarifying questions to unlock the potential of those they are coaching.
My personal favourite question from the annals of history in the early Methodist movement is “how is it with your soul?”. That is a great conversational question that moves us well beyond talking about the weather and our favourite sports team!
Then there is the master coach Jesus, who led with questions that exposed, healed and transformed people, such as:
- Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? (Matthew 9:4)
- Who do you say I am? (Matthew 16:15)
- What is it you want? (Matthew 20:21)
- What do you want me to do for you? (Matthew 20:32)
Asking the right question leads to the right conversation which leads to the right solutions.
To help spark your thinking in this area, the following are 40 leadership questions that you can ask of yourself and/or those that you are coaching (taken from ‘Gospel Coach’ by Thomas and Wood- see link below):
(1) How are you unique? (calling, gifts, passions, personality, experiences, sin patterns)
(2) How do you stay inspired? How often do you practice this?
(3) How do you apply the gospel to yourself? What is the message in your mind?
(4) What are the rythms of grace in your life? (Scripture, worship, prayer, community, family, time off)
(5) What idols compete for your worship? How do you forsake each idol?
(6) What sinful mental images repeatedly play in your head? How do you take those thoughts captive?
(7) How are you stewarding the gifts you have for the greatest benefit? (time, resources, skills)
(1) Who understands you best? Other than your family, who are the people with whom you share life together? (2 Timothy 2:2)
(2) Whom do you pray for? What specific petitions are you praying for them?
(3) Who would you like to choose to become one of your influencer friends? What is your plan for making this happen?
(4) How are you telling “truth in love” to the people under your leadership? When do you “spin” something?
(5) How faithful are you in being on time and following through with promises?
(6) Do you say yes and no with clarity so that it builds confidence and trust?
(7) Whom are the people you tend to try to please and why?
(8) How are you discipling each of your children and your spouse (if applicable)?
(9) Who really knows you?
(10) What relationships are broken in your life? What are you doing to bring reconciliation?
(1) How has God called you to serve him? How are you fulfilling this calling?
(2) What things nudge you away from following your calling?
(3) What is the most pressing leadership issue you are currently facing?
(4) Do people in your leadership area know with clarity what you expect of them?
(5) What are you doing well in your leadership? What needs your attention?
(6) How do you encourage those you are leading to follow the objectives of your organization?
(7) In what ways do you personify your calling?
(8) What opportunities did you decline for the sake of fulfilling your objectives?
(9) What are the stories that define the culture of your leadership area? How do you capture these stories? How are the stories being shared?
(1) Who is your team? (roles, styles)
(2) Who is going to replace you?
(3) How do you demonstrate your love for each team member?
(4) What dysfunctions in your team are you addressing?
(5) With whom do you sense the most synergy? How can you maximize this?
(6) With whom do you sense the least synergy? Why? How are you minimizing this?
(7) Whom do you struggle to trust? Why? How do you address issues of distrust with them?
(8) What inspires each team member? (Ask each one, “What aspect of your work brings you the most joy, and what stories do you tend to tell most often?)
(9) How do you empower your team members to exercise their greatest gifts and talents on the team?
(1) What does faithfulness in your calling look like for you?
(2) In which young leaders are you investing your life to develop?
(3) How are you making disciples?
(4) How are you equipping others to serve Jesus’ church more effectively?
(5) How are you living in a missional way?
May God richly bless you in your leadership journey!