Coaching Excellence: Inspiring Breakthroughs and High Performance with Great Questions


Research has proven that executive and management coaching is one of the most effective ways to improve performance. But effective coaching takes a willing coachee and an excellent coach. The key to great coaching is asking great questions! In this fast-moving and interactive webinar, you’ll be introduced to a powerful coaching framework that’s specifically designed around great coaching questions – the kind of questions that result in personal breakthroughs and high performance!

Along with great coaching questions, bestselling author Bill Treasurer will share insights and experiences drawn from thousands of coaching hours over the course of two decades of coaching managers and leaders. You’ll learn tips for increasing your coaching effectiveness, mistakes to avoid, and powerful coaching questions. In short, you’ll learn how to maximize your return on coaching!

Participants will learn:

  • What coaching is and what it isn’t
  • The attributes of a great coach, and mistakes to avoid
  • The “Martini Method” – a coaching framework
  • Great coaching questions that result in breakthroughs and high performance
  • Q Cards: a structured approach to preparing for high-impact coaching

Who should attend:

  • Leaders and managers in a coaching role
  • New and seasoned coaches
  • HR and trainers who focus on coaching in the workplace

Sarah Cirone: Hi everyone and welcome to today’s webinar Coaching Excellence,
inspiring breakthroughs and high performance with great questions
hosted by HRDQU and presented by Bill Treasurer. My name is Sarah
and I will moderate today’s webinar. The webinar will last around one
hour. If you have any questions, please type them into the question area
on your GoToWebinar control panel and we’ll answer them as we can or
after the session by email. Our presenter today is Bill Treasurer, Bill is
the Founder of Giant Leap Consulting a courage building company. The
author of the international bestseller Courage Goes to Work.
Sarah Cirone: Bill courage building workshops have been taught to thousands of
executives in 12 countries on five continents. For over two decades Bill
has worked with leaders from such renowned organizations such as
NASA, Saks Fifth Avenue, The Home Depot, UBS Bank, SPAX, eBay, the
Pittsburgh Pirates and the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Bill is the
author of five books, his newest is The Leadership Killer: Reclaiming
Humility in an Age of Arrogance, which he wrote with Coach Havlik.
Prior to founding Giant Leap Consulting, Bill served as an executive and
a centers change management and Human Performance Practice,
eventually becoming the $35 billion companies first full time internal
executive coach.
Sarah Cirone: Bill continues to regularly coach executives and we’ll be sharing his
insights from his experiences during today’s webinar. Bill, attended
West Virginia University on a full athletic scholarship under his master’s
degree from the University of Wisconsin Green Bay. It’s an honor to
have you speaking with us today, Bill.
Bill Treasurer: Thank you. Thank you so very much. I appreciate it and I’m looking
forward to this webinar. It’s going to be fast moving, there’s a lot of
content to share with you. Let me start off by saying that I am in a place
of gratitude and that is because all of you are interested in the idea of
coaching and being effective coaches so that you can bring about
breakthroughs for the coaches that you coach. I’m very grateful for all of
the attendees, many of you coming from different parts of the country.
We have a huge registration list and I’m really glad that you’re here and
I’m also glad to HRDQ. They have been a partner of mine for years, I’ve
worked with them on many occasions. I’ve done other webinars for
them, as you may know.
Bill Treasurer: I’m here today with Sarah Cirone and she’s got me all squared away.
She’s got the technology going. Sarah [inaudible 00:02:39] who I’ve
worked with in the past from HRDQ as well. You all are attending as part
of HRDQ University HRDQU which is their webinar series. I’ll give you a
quick look at me. I’m patching in today from my home office in
Asheville, North Carolina. Getting ready to share an hour with you on
good coaching practices, we’re calling it Coaching Excellence. I’m going
to share with you a really unique tool that can add a lot of value to the
coaching that you are doing. So that, you can have even more impact in
your coaching practice. Whoever you may be, maybe you’re somebody
who is interested in the idea of coaching, maybe you’re a manager who
wants to be more effective at it. Maybe you’re a life coach, and you’re
looking for ways to cause breakthroughs with the people that you’re
coaching or maybe you’re an executive coach. Whoever you are,
however you decided to attend here. I’m grateful that you’re here and I
look forward to the time that we’re going to spend together.
Bill Treasurer: Now, I’m going to go off the webcam and come back to that a little bit
later. I also want to introduce you to these new coaching cards. They’re
called Q Cards, I’ll tell you about them again at the end of the webinar,
but we are launching them with HRDQ and it is an online course. Where
you are able to get introduced to a preparation tool that we call
coaching cards that help you prepare for a coaching conversation. I’ll get
a little bit more into this as things go along. Just know that there are
tools available to you to help you be an even better coach and prepare
for a transformational coaching conversation.
Bill Treasurer: Now, this is somebody who means a lot to me. His name is Hines
Brannan, and years ago, when I was working at Accenture, we decided
that I would move into a coaching role. I was going to become the first
internal executive coach that was ever had at Accenture. I got prepared
for it and they put me through coach training and such. Through the
whole time I had assumed that I was going to be an executive coach for
other managers like I was, but then this person Hines Brannan and my
mentor said, “Hey Bill, I’m really glad you got all the training. We’re all
ready to have your coaching. The coaching practice is going to start on
Monday you’ll be coaching the partners and associate partners.” I said,
“Wait a minute, Hines, coach the partners and associate partners, what
are you talking about? They all outrank me. They all have more
leadership experience than me, how can I possibly coach them?” He
said, “Bill, you coach me all the time.”
Bill Treasurer: I hadn’t thought of it that way. He said the only thing that he could have
said, that gave me permission to move into a role where I would have
enough confidence to coach people that outranked me. Before I knew it,
I was coaching upwards of 35 people on a regular basis, all of whom
outranked me and I became the first internal executive coach at
Accenture. I continue to do coaching today in my practice with Giant
Leap Consulting, we’re a courage building company, we do a ton of
leadership development. As part of developing leaders, part of our
practice is executive coaching to help strengthen leaders effectiveness.
Bill Treasurer: Now in the time that we have today, I want to make sure that we all
keep an open mind. We come in here with preconceived notions about
what a good coach is, or whatever practice that we may have been
introduced to in the past. We glom onto it and consider it to be the best
of all things. Today, I just want to open our minds a little bit and before
we get into it we’re going to do a couple of quick illusion activities.
Here’s the first one. What do you see there? If you were to read that?
What does it say? You don’t even need to put your answers in the
question to you could but you don’t have to. You could just do it out
loud at your computer terminal there. What does it say? Yes, of course
it’s a what? You mean it’s not my cup of tea. What we find is that
sometimes you only have partial information that you’re working with
and you draw conclusions about something. Sometimes you might draw
conclusions about a coachee, and they’ve only given you a couple of
clues and you need more information than what you’ve gathered
Bill Treasurer: Here’s activity number two. What do we see here? Of course, it’s… Wait
a minute, is it good? Is it evil? Is it Yes? What do we see here? Yes, we
see the word. Wait a minute, do we see victory or do we see defeat?
Sometimes we get conflicting information. Sometimes the answer is yes,
it doesn’t have to be either or sometimes it’s both. Here’s one more for
you to limber up the mind and get us ready for the information we’re
going to share with you. What do we see here? What do we see here?
Some of you might be like, “It looks like the Elephant Man.” What if I
just shift things a little bit? What do we see? Does it make a difference
in terms of what you’re looking at? If you shift it a little bit? What if I
isolate it? Does anyone see the little puppy? I hope that you do. The
point is that sometimes you have to frame things in a new way to get
people to look at them differently.
Bill Treasurer: I like to do those quick activities just to limber us up getting you ready
for new information that may be different than what you heard before,
suggesting that we might need to be open minded as we go through this
material. I’m going to start by doing a couple of poll questions. I’m going
to get ready here to launch a poll that you will then answer and I’ve
launched the poll and here’s the question, what degree of impact has
coaching had on your career? When you think about yourself, the folks
that have patched in today, what about coaching relative to you? Has it
made an impact on your career? Your options are coaching has greatly
impacted my career. Coaching has significantly impacted my career.
Coaching has moderately impacted my career. Coaching has slightly
impacted my career or coaching hasn’t impacted my career.
Bill Treasurer: Let’s see where we land, the answers are still coming up here. I’m still
collecting responses to the question. Let’s see, must be… All right, I’m
going to let you go just for a minute more at less than a minute more. I
see the answers are starting to come in. I appreciate your answering the
question. I’ve got another one for you on the back of this, I can tell you
personally, that coaching has had a very big impact on my career, but
I’m very interested in what you say. All right, I’m going to go ahead and
pause it there and we’re going to go ahead and share the results so that
you can see that so hopefully you’re seeing it there. 37% of you said that
coaching has greatly impacted your career. 40% just a little bit higher
than the other, coaching has had a very significant or significant impact
on your career. Then for 14% of you moderately impact on your career,
but and then 9% slightly effect.
Bill Treasurer: First of all, 100% of you agree that coaching impacts your career, and
most of you the vast majority 77% of you feel that it has either greatly
or significantly impacted your career. Just think of the impact that you
might help have on others when you’re in a coaching position, it’s
something that really should be honored. Because you might help cause
a breakthrough with someone, you might help transform a person’s
performance, you might help unblock them from something that’s
getting in their way. It’s not necessarily the magic of you, but the magic
of coaching and doing coaching the right way, but coaching can be very
impactful. I’m going to go ahead and hide that one and I’m going to get
ready for the next coaching question. I’m going to launch it here.
Bill Treasurer: What coaching skills are you most interested in learning about today?
Here’s your options. The polling is in progress, how to be more present
as a coach, how to create a safe climate for the coachee how to listen
with less bias and judgment, how to ask great coaching questions or all
of the above. Let’s go ahead and see, the answers are coming in. I hope
not to bias the responses here, but I will say that all of the responses are
getting responded to. It’s not just one answer that is getting all of them,
they’re all getting answers. We’ll see how they come in so far 72% of
you have voted. Some of you may not be at a terminal, whether it’s a
computer or your phone that you are able to for some reason, but I’m
going to go ahead and let it go. I will tell you that all of those things are
important to coaching being present and attentive, creating a safe
climate, being non judgmental and reducing your own biases, and
certainly asking great coaching questions.
Bill Treasurer: Let’s see here, I’m going to go ahead and close the poll, and then share
the results and we can all look at it together. As you can see, 5% of you
are here because you want to be more present, you might find yourself
occasionally distracted as a coach. The trick for me is if I’m doing any
phone coaching, I’ve got to turn off outlook, because there’s always that
temptation. If somebody is droning on about something a little too long
to have your own distraction take you somewhere else and that’s really
unfair to the coachee. Staying present five of you have challenge with
that. 2% of you are here learn about how to create a safe climate for the
coachee. That’s good. 8% of you think that you’d like to learn how to
listen with less bias and judgment, which by the way, connects to the
other one. That’s how you create a safe climate is to the extent humanly
possible, judgment free and bias free, which none of us can do fully but
we should all aim to do more.
Bill Treasurer: 37% of you are here to ask great coaching questions, I can tell you that
much of the emphasis of this time that we’re going to share together is
on coaching questions. 49% of you want all of that, that’s why you are
here, which is terrific. My aim will be to at least touch on all of these
concepts, with a greater emphasis on coaching questions, but thank you
for answering the poll questions. Just one way of trying to keep it
Bill Treasurer: All right. I’m just going to go through those you’ve already answered
those. Now what I’d like you to do at your computer or on your mobile
device, just write down what is your favorite all time coaching question.
Your favorite all time coaching question. You don’t have to chat this in.
You don’t have to put it in the question box. You don’t have to do
anything with it yet. You’re going to use this later on, but think about
your all time favorite coaching question. Maybe it’s a question that a
coach asked you or maybe if you are a coach, it’s a question that is one
of your go to questions that you like to ask others. All right, go ahead
and pin that to the side for now, we will come back and visit it later.
Hopefully, you were able to jot something down.
Bill Treasurer: I want to go into coaching just a little bit and talk about what it is and
what it should be focused on. First of all, coaching does have a degree of
role modeling. If you want a coachee to open up in front of you, you do
have to be attentive you can’t be talking the whole time, you do have to
role model the behaviors, you’re wanting the other person in particular
situating yourself in your integrity, and speaking in a non judgmental
way. Role modeling has something to do with it. Definitely being
attentive, not looking at your outlook, not looking at your mobile
device, particularly if you’re on the phone to be fully attentive. It’s easier
to do when you’re one on one in a coaching session looking at
somebody eyeball to eyeball, but it’s much harder to do when you have
all of the other devices at your disposal and it’s disruptive. Being
attentive to your coachee is critical.
Bill Treasurer: It’s highly individualized. You may have go to questions that you could
ask almost of everyone, but the coaching conversation is going to be
very individual to the unique person that’s in front of you. It’s attending
to that person’s uniqueness. It’s focused on the success of where that
person is trying to go. I say that it’s only for those who want it,
sometimes a coachee will come to you because their boss is making
them get coaching. They want their boss thinks that you’re going to
clean up some HR mess for them, and then they’ll bring this coach in to
work with this coachee thinking either it’s a last resort or that the coach
him or herself becomes the proxy for the boss who doesn’t have enough
courage to give the person the feedback themselves, they enlist a coach.
Sometimes, that coaching situation just it’s not going to work because
the coachee doesn’t want to be there from their own volition. They feel
forced to be there. The context and the setup is wrong. It is true that
you a person who is in a coaching relationship has to want to be
coached. If they don’t want, if it’s just resistance the whole time, they’re
not going to be able to get very far and you’re not going to be able to
get very far with them.
Bill Treasurer: Coaching is not about fixing people, people are not broken. People are
human beings. We all are idiosyncratic, including the coach. It’s not
about fixing someone who’s broken like somehow you as the coach are
the magical healers have them. Your job is not to be a therapist, therapy
is focusing on a person’s past and maybe reconciling issues that hadn’t
been addressed yet. Cleaning up something from the past that’s
inhibiting them today. A coach is focused on the future and helping a
person move towards the opportunities that will help them become the
person they’re aiming to become. Building trust is really important
before resolving challenges, the relationship matters, creating a space
where the coachee fully trust that the coach will not be disclosing what
the coachee tells him or is critical. So, building trust.
Bill Treasurer: Accentuating the coachee’s voice, you as a coach what you want to do is
help bring out the full authenticity, the full gifts, the talents, the
contribution of the coachee so that they feel more confident expressing
them. Your job is to accentuate the coachee’s voice and let them give
voice to their voice, whatever it may be. I also find that 95% of great
coaching is asking questions and listening and only 5% of telling. Too
many coaches… now, there’s a difference between say being a coach of
an athletic team where you might be directing the plays and telling
people what to do. When you’re a coach of executives and in a business
environment or a life coach, your job is to help them come to their own
conclusions. Help them come to clarity around something that might be
unclear for them and not fully baked.
Bill Treasurer: Your job is to help ask good questions so that they can be more
thoughtful and activate their internal resources where they can come to
their own conclusions. Very rarely should a coach offer a prescription,
“Here’s what you should do.” Or, “If I were you, I would do this.” It’s a
very rare occasion when you do that. It’s much more powerful, if you
can help them come to their own conclusions by asking great questions
because they’re the ones that have to own it. If it’s your idea imposed
on them, their ownership for actually doing the thing will be much
lower. We use coaching to raise individual performance, to provide
occasionally corrective feedback, to resolve a specific issue. Sometimes,
it’s about learning a new skill. Sometimes it’s helping a person become
remotivated or reengaged or to lift morale.
Bill Treasurer: Keep in mind, you got to check yourself as a coach. Coaches can be
impatient, judgmental, distracted, inattentive, opinionated, elitist,
sometimes petty. In other words, coaches are human. You as the coach,
have to get yourself right before you engage with the coachee. You have
to get yourself right before you engage with the coachee to be able to
create the container with which the coachee can then have
breakthroughs. If you are all of these things when you go into the
coaching conversation, you’re not going to be the very good coach that
day. Here’s an example, let me just read this scenario to you. Two weeks
ago, you committed to meeting with Rob, one of your direct reports.
You had to cancel the meeting twice because of work urgencies that just
had to be dealt with. You’re supposed to finally meet with Rob today in
an hour. You’ve gotten when that Rob is going to ask you for coaching
about challenges that he’s having with a teammate, another of your
employees. Personally, this is a tough time for you. You’re super busy at
work and you feel overloaded. Your boss says you need to delegate
more, your team is made up of a bunch of rookies, at home your
marriage is very strained. Your spouse accuses you for caring more
about work than her.
Bill Treasurer: What kind of leader or coach are you likely to be for Rob today? I think
we know certainly not your best self. Check yourself first when you’re in
a coaching role. What’s going on with you today before you have this
coaching conversation? How might what’s going on with you affect your
coaching? How can you show up as your best self for coaching? These
become really important. How do you get yourself right? Ask yourself,
am I prepared to be a good leader today? Am I the leader my direct
report deserves me to be? Get centered, free your mind of obligations
and distractions and then switch to service. Focus on What they need,
not what you want to get out of them. Get yourself right first, before
you go into a coaching conversation.
Bill Treasurer: All right. What I’d like you to do here is I’m going to have you chat your
responses to this next question and you’re going to use it by using the
question tool in GoToWebinar. The question is that I’d like you to
consider here and chat your responses are, what two skills do you
consider to be most essential for effective coaching? What two skills do
you consider to be most essential for effective coaching? This is not a
poll question. What it is, is using the question tool. Great. Here’s some
that are coming in and I’ll go ahead and share these with you. Open
mindedness, good listening, empathy and listening, patience and
listening, patience and understanding, listening and honesty, emotional
intelligence, active listening, asking good questions and listening, great
listeners and caring. Thank you for that. I like that. The caring piece, it’s
a nice addition. Good listening, deep listening powerful questions.
Bill Treasurer: Terrific. There was a question that came up, we’ll park the question to
later. Sarah, if you wouldn’t mind parking this question. Maybe you can
write it down and we can ask it and I will answer it first. That is, what are
the similarities between consultant and coach? That’s a question that
we can park for later. Just looking at all the things that they said in terms
of being a good coach. Lots of it around listening, lots around
questioning, lots around empathy, reflecting the coaches questions and
probing details agreements being fully present, repeating back the
words of the coachee. Good stuff. Being open mind, these are terrific,
lots of good answers to what you said. I do think that listening has a lot
to do with it. I also think, freeing yourself from judgment, and it’s really
hard. Because on the one hand, you do need to listen to what the
coachee is saying and you need to listen for incongruencies between
what they tell you that they value and then how they’re actually
Bill Treasurer: You’re looking and listening for incongruencies not to indict them and
tell them that they’re wrong, but to hold the mirror up to them. A good
coach is able to just gently hold the mirror up so that the coachee can
see themselves in a more realistic and more accurate way through you
as the coach saying, “What you just said was this, how does that square
with what you told me was important, which is this because those
things are not congruent.” I like this quote, you might remember it from
Stephen Covey, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” This
principle is the key to effective interpersonal communications. By the
way, he was quoting Saint Francis of Assisi. This idea to seek first to
understand and then to be understood. Putting yourself in the situating
yourself in the shoes of the coachee, understanding from their
perspective, not your perspective but from their perspective.
Bill Treasurer: This idea of suspending judgment. Look, all of us have judgments and in
fact, you need it. Because like I said, you need to sometimes be listening
for incongruencies. If you withhold judgments and conclusions long
enough to hear the person out, listen to his or her story, you will gain a
better sense of what his or her needs may be, and thereby how he or
she may be influenced. If you can listen without judgment, and
conclusions so that you can genuinely hear the person and listen to his
story, you’re going to get a better sense of what the needs might be.
Then you can ask questions that will identify the needs and help them
come to their own conclusions for solving them.
Bill Treasurer: We have to be listening at multiple levels, listening to the content of the
story that they’re telling you, but also listening to the feelings, the
emotions that are going on in the story, and then checking in with those
and validating. “I hear there’s some anger in there, am I getting that
right?” So that you’re saying, “Hey, I hear the story, but I’m also hearing
the emotion.” Being able to identify both of those. By the way, you’re
also really listening at a third level, what are they not telling you that
you would expect them to be telling you in the story they’re telling you.
We have to listen at multiple levels.
Bill Treasurer: Your tone as a coach matters. Now your tone may be different if you’re
coaching is that you are their manager and you’re coaching them to get
better performance out of them. Or you’re coaching them as some form
of a feedback giving situation. In the coaching tone that I’m talking
about today, I’m talking more about if you are an executive or a life
coach, frankly, I think it’s transferable to even if you are their manager.
Here’s a quick exercise we can do together, I’m going to read each one
of these words and put a different intonation in each round that I read
them. The words are, “I didn’t say you had an attitude problem.” Watch
how everything changes, just based on where you put the intonation. “I
didn’t say you had an attitude problem.” “I DIDN’T say you had an
attitude problem.” “I didn’t SAY you had an attitude problem.” I didn’t
say YOU had an attitude problem.” “I didn’t say you HAD an attitude
problem.” “I didn’t say you had AN attitude problem.” I didn’t say you
had an ATTITUDE problem. I didn’t say you had an attitude PROBLEM.
The whole meaning changes just by the intonation, so you as a coach
Have to set a climate where your tone is neutral enough that they feel
safe around you.
Bill Treasurer: All right, I’m going to go on to the next. What I want to show you now is
I’m going to show you and introduce you to a framework that I call the
Martini Method. It starts by asking divergent questions, questions that
open the coachee up, and then it closes by asking questions that
converge on an action they can take. It starts with divergent and ends
with convergent and because it looks like two martinis upside down, we
call this the Martini Method. I’ve been using it in my coaching practice
for some time now and I’m going to walk you through the elements of
the martini method. What you would use this for is the coaching
conversation, the coaching cards that the company, the martini method
you would use to prepare for the conversation.
Bill Treasurer: Now, once you have a whole suite of and I think that having a suite of
great questions, meaning you have a portfolio of great coaching
questions, then you’ll know where to slot them in into the martini
method, you’ll sort of start to know it by heart. If there’s any
encouragement I can give you today on the webinar, is that you start to
become a collector of great coaching questions. Here’s how the Martini
Method works, the first set of questions that we asked our goal
questions. I’m going to give you examples of these in a minute, each one
of these five major chunky areas that make up the martini method there
each one has questions that come underneath it.
Bill Treasurer: The first set of questions we asked are goal questions basically, what are
they wanting to get out of the coaching conversation? Then we move to
questions around discovery, where you as the coachee need to learn
more about the situation that’s going on and the context. Then you
move to evaluation questions where you help them, evaluate the
options that are available to them as coachee. Then you have questions
around decisions to help the coachee come to a decision based on the
options that they have available to them. Then asking questions that get
them to take an action, because we want our coaching conversations to
result certainly in an insight that they can come away with, often some
sort of a breakthrough, maybe more self knowledge. We’d also like
them to come away with some action that they can take, either to rivet
down the lesson that they’ve come to or the epiphany that they’ve had
or to go and reconcile and do something about the situation they’re
facing, or to take an advantage of an opportunity that they might have
in front of them.
Bill Treasurer: I’m going to go through each one of the five areas that make up the
Martini Method, and show you the questions underneath them. First of
all, I also want you to know that not all questions are the same. In the
card deck that I’ll tell you about, again, at the end, we want to give you a
symbol so that you can recognize which questions are really mild
questions, which questions are a little bit bolder, which questions are
very bold and which questions are super bold? We do that on the card
decks by the spices. You may have a question that has no spice at all. It’s
very mild. You may have a question that’s really provocative, that’s hard
to ask and it’s hard to answer. It gives you a clue as you’re preparing
which kind of questions do I want to ask? How mild or how spicy?
Bill Treasurer: The first set of questions that we asked in the Q Cards deck are goal
questions, things like, what is your goal? Why is it important to you?
This is just one by the way. Each one of those areas that I showed you
those five areas that make up the Martini Method, come with six
different questions. This is one question in the goal category. What’s
your goal? Why is it important to you? Human beings are goal focused
creatures, and when you understand where they’re trying to get to, you
can be more useful to them. We have questions around goals.
Bill Treasurer: The next question around discovery, once they tell you what their goal is
the purpose of the conversation, what they’re trying to resolve, then
you can move into questions of discovery where you get to learn more
about the situation. An example is what’s the background or the
context? Can you tell me what led up to this situation? What you’re
trying to do is get more discovery. It’s just like a lawyer does discovery
before they go to the court case. You’re trying to do the due diligence of
understanding the situation, the full context, the players that were
involved, to what led up to this? How does it remind that person of
other situations that they’ve had in the past? You’re trying to
understand their frame of reference where their head is at, you’re doing
more discovery. Whereas the goal piece in your conversation is going to
be relatively fast, the discovery can sometimes take a little bit of time,
sometimes they’re not clear about some of the issues that they’re
contending with. It may take a bulk of the time of the conversation, but
discovery questions are important.
Bill Treasurer: The next category of questions are questions that help them evaluate.
When they do the discovery, now you move to the questions of
evaluation. For example, what are some options you have for advancing
your goal? Or what are some options you have for resolving this
situation? Now notice that me as coach is not saying, “Well, you know
what, I think here’s what your options are. If I were you, I would take
this option.” No, that’s not what coaching is. You want them to come up
with the options that they might have at their ready or at their disposal.
Now, it may be that they give you three options and you actually think
there’s a fourth option than if I was in that situation as the coach I’d say,
“Those options sound very legitimate. They sound very wise. They’re
very intuitive, may I offer you a fourth suggestion?” Then see, then you
can put your idea in there if you think it’s important. You want to ask
them questions now that will help them evaluate, which way should
they go? How should they move forward?
Bill Treasurer: That brings us to the next set of questions, which are questions around
decisions. I want to remind you again, that each one of the five
categories has six questions attached to them. By the way, it becomes
your option, which one you want to use. They’re six in each category so
that you as a coach, have a starting portfolio of basic questions to ask as
you’re moving people through the process. Here’s a decision question
because at some point you don’t want them to just evaluate the
options, now they got to they got to make a choice. That’s hard for
people, but it’s necessary to get them to move forward is to take a
position, is to have a point of view, is to make a choice. What’s the best
solution right now? What feels most right for you? That’s an example of
a decision question is you’re getting them to prioritize the options that
they have and now identify which one is the one that they are going to
move forward with. We ask them decision questions.
Bill Treasurer: Then we have to get them to an action. We want them to do something
with the information that you just talked about in your coaching session.
We move to action. What’s an example of an action question? Here’s a
simple one. What exactly will you do? When will you do it? You don’t
want vagaries. You don’t want them to think, “Yeah. I guess I could talk
to my boss. I’ll let you know the next time we get together. Whether I
did it or not.” You don’t want vagaries. You want them to know exactly
what they’re going to do. “I’m going to sit down, I’m going to have a
conversation with my boss that I’ve been avoiding, which we’ve just
talked about for the last hour, which is X. I’m going to tell the boss that
my needs are Y. I’m going to do that by next Tuesday. The first thing I’m
going to do is I’m going to send them an email this afternoon after our
coaching conversation to get on their calendar.” That’s how specific we
want it to be.
Bill Treasurer: Those are the five categories of that makeup the Q Cards that are used
to prepare for a coaching conversation. They give you more confidence
going into a coaching conversation for two reasons. One is now you
have a portfolio of questions to pull from and two now you have a
process to work through when you’re having a coaching conversation.
Once you learn the process, you know “Okay, here I’m in the goal
question now I’ve got to move to discovery. Okay, good. Now, I’ve
discovered what’s going on in that situation now I want that coachee to
move, to evaluate. Which one of those options is the one that may be
optimal for them. Great. Now I want them to come to a decision.” We
move them through a process, which is the benefit. It helps build your
confidence, because now you have a process and now you have a bunch
of questions.
Bill Treasurer: The cards also include other questions each one has multiple questions
as well and they are starter questions which are basically how do you
even start the conversation with the coachee? Thought shift questions,
sometimes they could be anywhere in the process, they could be telling
you about discovery. They could be evaluating something, but you hear
them being limited in their thinking, then you might provide a thought
shift question. Something as simple as, “I wonder if there’s a different
way to be thinking about that? If you were thinking at this through the
lens of somebody person, how might you think about it?” You try to
bring about a thought shift.
Bill Treasurer: A challenge question is, “I’d like to challenge you on that. I see it
differently. Here’s how I’m thinking about it. Here’s my challenge to
you.” You might have to occasionally challenge them. Then a prompt
would be something like, “I’d like to know more about that. Can you tell
me more?” In addition to the cards that walk you through the Martini
Method itself, we give you other cards to either start the conversation,
cause a thought shift, challenge the coachee or prompt them for more
information when you need more information out of them.
Bill Treasurer: Now, I want to go back to you, hopefully, by the way, hopefully, all of
that made sense the Martini Method. Now I go back to you and my
question is review your all time favorite coaching question. Remember,
in the beginning of the webinar, I asked you for your all time favorite
question. I told you, you wouldn’t have to share it. Now, what I’d like to
know from you is where does it fit within the Martini Method? Your
favorite question? I’ll go back and you think about the Martini Method.
Think about your favorite question, which category would it fall under?
Is it a question that gets them to the goals? Is it a question that helps
further the discovery? Is it a question about evaluation? Is it the
decision type of question? Is it a question that causes a thought shift?
Or challenges them? Or prompts them? My hunch would be that it falls
somewhere in the categories that I’ve just introduced you to.
Bill Treasurer: All right. Let’s do one thing, and then I’m going to open it up to
questions. That is, I’m going to have you practice using the Martini
Method. You’re going to chat in some of the questions that you might
ask based on this scenario. Let me read this scenario to you and then
we’ll open up your question tool again and chat in some questions.
Steve is a highly competent, but plateaued Senior Project Manager. He’s
been with the company 12 years and was recently assigned to a long
term multi stage project. You’ve gotten wind that Steve feels under
challenged in the role. Two years ago, Steve suffered a visible work
failure. The project he was leading suffered serious schedule slippage,
and it came in well over budget. While there are many legitimate
reasons for the failure, Steve felt like it was his fault. Since then, he’s
lost his confidence. What’s the crux of the issue with Steve? What does
Steve need? Use the martini method to chat in some questions to coach
Bill Treasurer: I’m going to go ahead and we’ll get that question box going. Now I’d like
to know what are some questions that you’d want to know from Steve,
use the Martini Method that we talked about before. You got this guy,
Steve and he’s clearly going through some stuff at work feels under
challenge and feels a lack of confidence. What are some questions that
you might use that fall into that Martini Method approach? One of the
questions that somebody just popped in with is, what do you want to
get out of this new project? How do you think we can rebuild your
confidence? I like that, right? Get them to think about how they can
rebuild their confidence. How are you feeling in your most recent role?
Let’s see and why. How are you feeling in your most recent role and
why? Where do you see yourself in 12 months from now or in 24
months from now? Good. How are you feeling today about this new
challenge? Good.
Bill Treasurer: As you drop in your question, see if you can figure out which category it
might fall into. Maybe it’s not, maybe it falls into a separate category. A
hunch would be it probably falls into those categories. Some of these
are really discovery questions. Some of them sound like goal questions.
Do you feel like there was only one decision that could have changed
the outcome to favorable on the past project? You’re doing a little bit
more discovery there about that project in the past learning, some more
context around it. What would you like to accomplish in your new role?
That’s a good goal question. I’ve noticed a change in your work
demeanor or your demeanor at work. What happened that influenced
this change? Might be a discovery question. What is your goal and why
is it important to you? That person gets special credit. That tells you
they used exactly the question from the card. Very good. What are your
options regarding this project and how could it be managed differently?
Terrific. You’re all doing great. These are great examples, you’re using
questions most of which would fall into the categories of the Martini
Bill Treasurer: You see, that that was mine, my bad there if you heard that. I’m going to
open it up now to actual questions. These are questions from you and
Sarah, you’re welcome to pop in and ask the original question. The rest
of you are welcome to drop in with any questions you might have for
me. We’ve got about 10 minutes that we can open it up to questions,
and I love the questions where real time learning happens. Please feel
free to drop any questions that you may have.
Sarah Cirone: Great, Bill. Well, circle back here to this first question that we received
earlier in the session. What are the similarities between consultant and
Bill Treasurer: I do both, it’s what I am as a consultant. I’m a consultant who does
coaching. I work with teams and people in organizations very, very
regularly in a consulting capacity. Here’s the similarities, I think that they
both involve good questioning. I could tell you a lousy consultant is
somebody who goes in and prescribes an answer to a prospective client
without knowing what’s going on with the client. It’s disrespectful to do
that. There’s a using good questioning. For example, yesterday, I was
having a business development meeting in San Antonio, Texas, and
they’re wanting to launch a new leadership development program,
which my company may be involved in helping design and deliver for
this organization.
Bill Treasurer: I think they were expecting me to come in and do a dog and pony show.
Eventually, I did but I started with, “I want to know what’s driving The
need for more leadership development? I want to do some discovery.”
Then I wanted to know basically go questions, what outcomes are you
hoping this leadership development will provide for you and the
organization? What is the difference that you’re wanting to make with
the people that go into the leadership program? By the time they come
out, how do you want them to have been changed? A lot of discovery, a
lot of evaluation, a lot of discovery. I want the client to have their
thumbprint on anything that I do in the work that I do with them. That’s
the similarity.
Bill Treasurer: The difference is in consulting is sometimes more directive from the
client to you, the client will be telling you what their specific need is, and
then you have to maybe go out and build it for them and to their
satisfaction. With a coach, sometimes it is more about you working with
the coachee to find out what’s going on for them and then jointly
coming up with solutions that move them forward. If they don’t
implement it on their end as the coachee, the coachee doesn’t do the
work doesn’t do the homework doesn’t do the action doesn’t follow
through, then that’s more reflection on them than you as a coach.
Whereas, if I do a job as a consultant, and I do a good job, and I’m going
to be rated on that good job by my client, whereas if I do a good job as a
coach, and the coach doesn’t do the homework, then that becomes
more of a reflection on them. It’s a little bit of a difference between the
two practices. Good question.
Bill Treasurer: Well, let’s see. Are you still there Sarah? Are you able to see some of the
other questions that came in?
Sarah Cirone: We have another question that came in from Ron, he’s wondering how
do we help the coachee take ownership and not be so resistant to
Bill Treasurer: It’s much better if they can come to the epiphany themselves, if
somehow you’re able to point out the incongruency between what
they’re telling you is important. Then, the gap with their actual behavior,
and how it’s when those things aren’t congruent, by the way, between
you and me, Ron, that’s called lack of integrity on their part, right?
Because integrity is when you are doing and saying and believing the
same things and acting in that integrity. If you can gently hold the mirror
up, so that they see, “You’re right. I did say that was important, but I’m
acting this way, which is suggesting that it’s not so important.” If you can
show them the incongruency in their behavior, and then work with
them to say what options are available, you want them to come up with
the options because the accountability is going to be much more higher
if they came up with it versus if you prescribed it as the coachee.
Bill Treasurer: The other thing that’s important for the accountability piece Ron, is the
followup that is if you’re in a regular coaching relationship with them,
you’re going to talk to them two weeks from now. You’re going to talk to
them a month from now. It’s one thing for them to set the expectation
of the activity that they’re going to do, but the inspection of that
activity, which comes up two weeks or a month from now, where they
have to report back to you, did they or did they not do the thing. Then,
they should have done it, if they know that creates a social
accountability, if they know that they’re going to be meeting with you to
report back to they do the thing.
Bill Treasurer: Oftentimes, in a coaching conversation, if I know I’m not going to be
coaching the coachee for another quarter, and we just discussed a
conversation that they’ve been avoiding that they need to have and
that’s where the action is and they say, “Okay, I’m going to have this
conversation I’ve been avoiding.” I’m like, “Great, when are you going to
do it by? “Great, what’s the first step?” “They have to get on their
calendar.” “Then, what I want you to do for me today is I want you to
send me an email after you’ve gotten on their calendar for that
conversation.” I get at least the first step, I know that they’ve taken. I do
that not to be over controlling micromanaging coach, but to do it so that
they validate that they’ve done the first step and that they’ve got
somebody me in their camp, helping them with the accountability piece.
It’s a long winded answer, I realized, but there are some things you can
do. It’s just much more powerful if you can get a person become
accountable for themselves, instead of you being the accountability for
them, vehicle for them.
Sarah Cirone: Then from Travis here, we have, how much time does a normal coaching
session last?
Bill Treasurer: In my executive coaching sessions that I have, they’re an hour, and I tell
them very clearly when we first get involved in the coaching
relationship, because there’s always the first coaching session, right? I’m
like, “Look, whatever coaching you may have had in the past, we cap it
at an hour and there’s a couple of practical reasons for that. One is you
can get a lot done in an hour. You can cover a lot of ground in an hour.
Two, I may have an often do have another coaching conversation
coming in 15 minutes after my hour with you. I need to pivot my head
and get ready for the next person.” Now if we get into an issue that’s so
meaty and juicy, and they’re crying, then I will have to tell them, “We’ll
do a part two on this.” I’ll look at my calendar, see, can I regroup with
them the next day, for example, or maybe later that afternoon.
Bill Treasurer: The opposite often happens too the opposite is, “Hey, we cover a lot of
ground in 30 minutes, they came to their resolution and their epiphany,
and they know what the action is that they’re going to do. We’re done.”
I would say, on average it’s an hour, but at that hour mark, oftentimes,
I’m flagging it five minutes before the hour mark and saying, “Hey, I just
want to give you the heads up. We’ve got five minutes left, so we’ve got
to really start moving towards action.” Every now and then I’ll go over
the hour, but more often than not, I won’t.
Sarah Cirone: It looks like we might have time here for a couple of one or two more
Bill Treasurer: Great.
Sarah Cirone: We have question we have here is, what do you see as the difference
between coaching? No, we already have that one. How did you come to
develop the Q Cards and what has the response to the cards been?
Bill Treasurer: Yeah. Thanks for asking that question. I came to develop the Q Cards,
because I was thinking about what would have it? Now I’ve got 25 years
of experience, it’s been 20 years since I was coaching at Accenture all
those years ago. I’ve made some mistakes along the way. I’ve had many
successful coaching sessions and an occasional flat session. I thought to
myself, “What would have helped me 20 years ago, when was just
starting out as a coach?” A lot of it had to do with questions, I just know
and recognize the power of questions. I do collect them over time, I’ve
been collecting them.
Bill Treasurer: I thought, “What would be helpful to the new person starting out in
coaching?” I developed the questions. I already knew some of these
categories, because they’re some of the categories are common in
coaching, when I went through Corporate Coach University. Some just
became evident as that they’re good categories to have thought shifts,
for example. It was things that I’ve written, I’ve written five books, and I
had written about the importance of thoughts shifts in one of my books,
and I knew that they were questions that I had already asked in that
book. The beauty is once I put them together the cards, I realized, ‘You
know what, these cards aren’t just good for new coaches. They’re good
for any coaches, and they’re good for new managers who have to coach
people occasionally.” Actually, any manager has to coach somebody
Bill Treasurer: Then we created the cards and I’ve had multiple versions before we
finally kick this idea of adding the spiciness to the questions that was
transformative. That changed them, that got it all ironed down. Now the
coaching cards are available, they’re available for purchase. The beauty
is they’re getting really, really strong reviews, which I love. The response
has been super positive.
Sarah Cirone: That’s great. I think we have time here for one more question and then
we’ll wrap things up. Let’s see, this is a good one. Do you have
suggestions on how to create a safe space for people to feel okay, to be
honest and share concerns?
Bill Treasurer: The first way to create the safe space is your personhood you as the
coach, are you coming in with a bunch of anxiety? Are you biting your
nails during the coaching session? What vibe are you giving off as a
coach? Secondly, is that When they say something to you, with your
face, you have to have a certain degree of poker face, in that if they say
something to you that in your head, you’re like, “Oh my God, I can’t
believe they told me that.” You can’t say that. You can’t be like, “Why
did you tell me that?” You’ve got to be like, just the normalcy of your
face, so that they feel that they can tell you something.
Bill Treasurer: Certainly, letting them know upfront the rules of confidentiality, that
what they tell you that you’re their advocate, that you’re you are there
for their best interest, and that you are not going to disclose what they
tell you without their permission. You may have an agreement with
their organization that you have to move that person forward and their
boss is involved in that. You also have to make it clear to their boss, “I’m
not going to tell you anything that they have not given me permission to
tell you.” You can talk in general themes, and you can make that aware
of to the coachee and say, “If you tell me something in a thematic way
that other people are telling me, I’m going to share that with your boss,
but I’m not going to share line item things that you tell me.”
Bill Treasurer: You create the agreement with them on what confidentiality is, and that
creates safety for them, and then never violate it, right? I’ve got
coaching relationships, I’ve got one guy that I’ve been coaching for 12
years. That guy he and I, I love that guy. I know that he loves me. He’s a
senior project manager. I mean love in the sense that we both really
trust each other because we’ve had deep conversations with one
another that I’ve never violated, and he knows I’ve never violated. It’s
honoring the obligation of the trustful relationship is part of it as well.
Psychological safety is very important, I’ve been paying a lot attention to
that recently and I’m soon to be writing about it, but I’m very keyed into
it. Good question.
Sarah Cirone: Great, Bill. That was great. That was all the time that we have for today.
Thank you so much Bill for today. We appreciate you looking to HRDQ
for your training needs. We publish research based experiential learning
products that you can deliver in your organization. Check out our online
print self assessments are up out of your seat games are reproducible
workshops you can customize, and more either at our website or give
our customer service team a call. If you need help learning a training
program or you want one of our expert trainers to deliver it for you, we
also provide those services. We look forward to being your soft skills
training resource. Thanks, Bill. Thank you all for participating in today’s
webinar. Happy training.
Bill Treasurer: Thanks, everybody.


Bill Treasurer is the founder and Chief Encouragement Officer of Giant Leap Consulting (GLC), a courage-building company that exists to help people and organizations live more courageously.

Bill is considered the originator of the new organizational development practice of “courage-building.” He is the author of the internationally bestselling book, Courage Goes to Work, which provides practical strategies for inspiring more courageous behavior in workplace settings. In 2009, the book became the sixth bestselling management book in China.

Bill is also the author of Courageous Leadership: Using Courage to Transform the Workplacea comprehensive off-the-shelf training program designed to help organizational development practitioners and training professionals inspire more courageous behavior in their organizations. The program has been taught to thousands of leaders in 11 countries on 5 continents.

For over two decades Bill has designed and delivered leadership and succession planning programs for experienced and emerging leaders for clients such as NASA, Accenture, CNN, Saks Fifth Avenue, Hugo Boss, UBS Bank, Lenovo, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the CDC, the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Learn more at

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