This week, in a non-coaching context, I experienced the power of coaching questions to diffuse tension and start a productive discussion about an employee’s performance. You don’t have to be a coach to ask these types of questions.

  • What will help you do your job?
  • What do you need to get this [task accomplished]?
  • What do you need from us?
  • What can we do to help you to . . . ?

If these kinds of questions diffuse tension and open up discussions at work, how can they help your other relationships? What if you asked your spouse:

  • What can I do to help you . . . this week?
  • What do you need from the rest of us [to keep your sanity over the Thanksgiving holiday]?

Thoughtful questions to potential and current clients will elicit the same kind of information. You’ll find out their pain and you’ll realize what you can do to help them.

You don’t have to be a lawyer coach to ask powerful questions, and you don’t always have to wear your lawyer hat.