Most powerful questions are simple and they are short—usually 5 words or less. What do you want? What would it look like? Who can help you? What are you hearing from God? These are short, simple questions.

Powerful questions have no long preamble or explanation on the coach’s part. In coaching, the spotlight is on the person being coached. So if you’re a preacher by nature, skip the sermon and get straight to the point. And in coaching, the point is the question.

Powerful questions are always open-ended. Not “So are you thinking of doing X?” but “What are you thinking of doing?”

Powerful questions aren’t background questions designed to elicit context and background. The person being coached already knows the situation, and you don’t need full context since you won’t be giving solutions or suggestions. You’ll get enough of the background as they tell the story.

Powerful questions are not immediately followed up by another question, but are followed by silence. If the person you’re coaching doesn’t immediately respond, don’t give them another question. Give them time to think.