5 Coaching Questions to Get You Moving! | THE LEADERSHIP COACHING INNER CIRCLE™

Have you ever found yourself at a loss for words during a coaching conversation? I’ll address the common question I receive ALL the time, “What should I do if I freeze in a coaching conversation?”

Have you ever found yourself at a loss for words during a coaching conversation? It's a common challenge faced by leaders, managers, and HR professionals. But fear not because there are effective strategies to overcome this hurdle and guide your employee towards success.

In this first edition, I'll address the common question I receive ALL the time, "What should I do if I freeze in a coaching conversation?" You'll discover valuable insights and actionable techniques to transform those moments of uncertainty into opportunities for growth and breakthroughs.

Coaching frameworks/models (stay tuned for valuable insights coming your way soon) will be your guiding light, providing a structured approach to keep the conversation on track. Today, I'll equip you with five essential coaching questions that will empower you and your employees to explore new perspectives and uncover their true potential.

 “Fight” or “Flight” response AND “Freeze”

When we think of stress, we usually think of the “Fight” or “Flight” response, but “Freeze” is just as expected. And in my early days of coaching, I used to freeze quite a bit. I was so concerned about delivering value and being a great coach that I often created the very situation I feared most.

And then, I would make the situation worse by judging myself and beating myself up for my ‘failure’ to stay on top of the coaching session.

If it makes you feel any better, I can guarantee that that moment of panic– when you have no idea what to ask or which direction to head in–has happened to every single leader, manager, HR professional, and coach out there.

In fact, it’s probably happening to someone right now.

So I developed a strategy to get me through those moments when I froze.

Everyone has an instinctive understanding of what will best serve them; they just need to take the time to tune into their inner wisdom and seize the opportunity for true clarity. If the coachee knows what’s right for them. Doesn’t it make sense that they might also know some of the questions?

The strategy? Trust your coachee to know what’s best for them and get them to tell you what to ask next. 

If you feel stuck, take a nice deep breath, then ask a question that asks your employee to show you the next steps. Trust your coachee, trust YOURSELF, and trust the coaching process.

Simply wait for your employee to speak again. Take a deep breath, feel your feet on the floor, and trust that your employee knows what to say next.

Here Are Your 5 Coaching Questions to Get You Moving!

1. What would be the best question I could ask you now?

This question implies that there are many questions available and asks your coachee to suggest the BEST one.

2. If you secretly knew the way forward from here, what would it be?

This question assumes there is already a way forward AND that they already know it.

Use this question only with a good rapport, so your coachee feels supported– and not irritated by the question.

3. If you were coaching yourself, what question would you ask now?

This question gets them into a coaching frame of mind to find a powerful question.

By asking your coachee to put their coaching hat on, you may get a surprisingly insightful question.

4. What question do YOU think I should ask you now?

Constructive use of the word “should,” cutting through all ‘the fluff’ to the question you SHOULD ask to move them forward.

5. I don’t know where to go next with this. Where would you go?

Ask confidently! and know that by asking this question, you’re also modeling a healthy willingness to be imperfect– and letting them be the expert too.

If You Are Very Comfortable With Silence... Here’s Another Strategy:

The simplest and also the most challenging strategy is, ironically– more silence.

It’s easy to make the situation worse when we freeze by judging ourselves and letting our inner critic beat us up for our ‘failure’ to stay on top of the coaching session. This only creates a vicious circle where we take ourselves even further away from dancing in the moment with our coachee.

It takes a lot of guts when you’re already panicking to give your employee more silence. It means sitting with and allowing the discomfort of NOT knowing.
But if you lean into the silence and your discomfort, real coaching magic can happen. And it may not happen too!

If, after this extended pause, your employee suddenly says, “Hello, are you still there?” you can say, “I was waiting to see where you would take this next.”

Then, like me, you’ll quickly learn that your employee didn’t think you were a terrible coach. And you’ll learn that the world does not end simply because you don’t have the right questions.

And once you’ve had a few of these experiences, you’ll realize you can handle anything.

What a beautiful place to be!

I recommend that you take the 5 questions above and write or print them out on a piece of card, add the word SILENCE to the top, and stick it somewhere you can easily see when you’re coaching your employees.

Freezing in coaching conversations is a challenge that can be overcome with practice and the right strategies. Mastering challenging coaching conversations is a journey that requires dedication and practice. By implementing the strategies, utilizing essential questions, and embracing continuous growth, you'll gain the confidence and skills needed to navigate these situations with ease.

Embrace growth, stay present, and remember that every coaching conversation is an opportunity for personal and professional development. Start your journey towards mastering challenging coaching conversations today and make a lasting impact on your coachees' lives.

I look forward to seeing you rise to your full potential and can't wait to hear your coaching stories!

Yours in growth,


P.S. Oh, and one more thing!

I want to give you an opportunity to access my FREE Sunday’s Coaching Growth Notes.

I think it will encourage you and give you practical thoughts to make the right changes you need for a better growth environment. Access them for FREE right here, right now!  You are going to have access to Coaching Tools and Specific Growth Actions that will create transformational change in your life and leadership this year.

Sunday's Coaching Growth Notes with Leyda Lazo


Leyda is an accomplished international executive coach, author, and authority in leadership coaching, mentoring, and individual and team development. With a wealth of experience as a respected HR executive, Leyda is renowned for her invaluable insights and transformative guidance. She is the proud author of the empowering and influential book "The Executive Coaching Guide: What Every HR Professional Needs to Know." As a sought-after mentor and leadership coach, Leyda's unwavering expertise and contagious passion inspire HR professionals and executives globally to unleash their full potential and achieve unparalleled success.

Leyda’s methodology follows the foundational knowledge of professional coaching, including humanistic psychology, constructivism, neurolinguistic programming, positive psychology, and systemic coaching.

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