Inspire your work

Supplementary Coaching questions for What Next? Preparing for Challenge newsletter

If you’ve been mining your past experiences for learning and are looking for some additional inspiration or other types of questions, I’ve added some suggestions below. I suggest reading the list through to see which ones stand out or speak to you.

I’d love to hear your feedback about whether these questions helped your reflection, and if so, how they helped. Thank you!

Mining your past experiences

Remember: Critique and analysis of your past experiences, not criticism or condemnation.

You could try:

  • treating your experience-mining as a case study or root cause analysis.
  • reviewing your experience as if it were a movie, documentary, book or news item.
  • relating your experience to an audience – as a book, movie, presentation, motivational story.

Some coaching questions:

  • What was the challenge?

  • What happened?

    • to you?
    • to others?
  • What happened next?

    • How well did you expect to deal with the challenge, when it started?
    • How did you react?
    • How did you respond?
    • What did you think?
    • What did you do?
    • What did you feel?
    • How did you move from reaction to response?
      • How easy or difficult was that?
      • What helped that movement?
      • What hindered that movement?
    • What barriers did you face? How did you overcome them?
    • What strengths did you use?
    • What did you do well? (Where did you shine?)
    • What shadow parts of you did the challenge reveal?
  • Reflecting after the challenge:

    • What was relatively easy for you in the challenge?
      • What made it easy?
    • What was really difficult for you in the challenge?
      • What made it difficult?
    • What muscles did you build through the challenge?
      • How have they helped you in later challenges?
    • What ‘aha moments’ did the challenge give you?
      • What ‘aha moments’ do you have now, looking back at the challenge?
    • What did the experience teach you at the time?
      • about the situation?
      • about yourself?
      • about those around you?
      • Reflecting now with distance and more recent experiences, what else can you mine from the experience?
    • What meaning did you make of the challenge?
      • How has that meaning evolved over time?
    • What did you learn that can connect you to others?
    • How have you been able to help others because of your experience?
    • What changed perspective(s) has the challenge given you?
      • How is that helpful?
      • Where has it been helpful?
    • What can you do now that you wouldn’t have been able to do before the challenge?
    • How do you tell the story of your challenge to yourself?
      • How does hearing the story make you feel?
      • How would you like to feel about it? What would need to change?
    • If you had to choose a fictional character that represents how you dealt with the challenge, who would it be? Why?

Building a support network

  • Who’s on your team?
  • What are their strengths?
  • What can they teach you?
  • What do you value most about them?
  • What do they value most about you?
  • How willing and able are they to give you their honest observations and feedback from a place of positive intention to support your learning?
    • How can you ask them for that kind of feedback?
    • How can you show them that it’s safe for them to give that kind of feedback?

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