10 Questions that Build Trust and Make People Coachable, Accountable and Engaged

Ever wonder why people are resistant to coaching? Do you feel like people are telling you what they think you want to hear? The fact is, your people are scared of you; and coaching. If you want a team of coachable sales champions, here are ten critical questions every manager needs to ask to ensure people understand your positive intentions and the benefits of coaching, or run the risk of having your people hide from you. 

We’ve all been there. We want to support our team the best way we can. And the most effective way to do so is through consistent and effective coaching. But what happens when you sense that some people just don’t want to be coached?

Managers are always telling me, “Keith, when I’m coaching certain people, I feel they’re just telling me what I want to hear.”

So then, why do managers find themselves in this situation?

The answer is quite simple. You never set clear, positive expectations and your intent in order to create alignment around coaching and the value they can expect.

Set Positive Intent In Every Conversation

Without setting proper expectations, you’re leaving it up to your team to decipher your intentions. The greater cost is, most people have not had a positive experience being coached. They feel it was more of a directive, manipulative conversation managers use to drive their own agenda. As such, the foundation and the essential component of coaching has been compromised – TRUST, because;

When expectations aren’t CLEAR, people default to FEAR.

In any conversation that you’re initiating, the first step is letting people know the what, why, how and what’s in it for them. What follows is a coaching talk track that will successfully position this conversation in a positive way in order to make people open and comfortable around being coached. 

How to Successfully Create Alignment and Enroll People Around Coaching

“What I want for you is to experience the level of fulfillment and success that you want in your career.

Quite frankly, in many ways when it comes to supporting, coaching and developing you in your current role, I feel I’ve let you down. I hope you accept my apology. I’m fully committed to be the best manager and coach to make you as successful as possible so you can achieve your goals.

I have some great ideas that would make coaching more valuable for you, as well as give you a massive competitive edge when selling, while building a strong personal brand.

This is a journey we’re going on together, so I’m counting on learning from you as well so that I can continually grow as a leader in order to coach you to live your fullest potential and achieve your goals – just like every world-class athlete has a coach.

What’s most important is that you understand my intentions around this conversation.

How do you feel about discussing this?

Great, expect an email from me to schedule a one to one meeting over the next week or so to set expectations and the parameters around coaching so that it’s the most valuable experience for you, and I can become the resource and coach you need to help you achieve your career and personal goals.”

10 Questions that Set Coaching Expectations and Make People Coachable

During the meeting, here are 10 questions you can use today to build trust and set or rest coaching expectations, uncover each person’s coachability index, and how they want to be coached.

  1. How would you define “coaching?” (I’ve had people tell me coaching is manipulation, all based on their experience. Rather than ask me, “Do I have to call it coaching?” co-create a new definition of coaching that inspires and serve them best.)
  2. Have you ever been coached?
  3. What was your experience?
  4. If you could define/re-define your coaching guidelines when we’re coaching, what would they be?
  5. What are three specific goals we can work on together that are most important to you?  (Personally and professionally. There’s no more line between work and life, there’s just LIFE!)
  6. What would your expectations be of me as your coach?
  7. What would you like to accomplish or ensure we cover during our coaching sessions that’s most important to you?
  8. What should I be mindful of when coaching you? What would you like me to do/not to do?
  9. Since I want to be a leader who makes you more successful, would you be open to coaching me? (The law of reciprocity always starts with you. Model vulnerability based leadership, and they will follow.)
  10. What concerns, if any, do you have about our coaching and what we discuss?


Everyone Is Coachable

When you change the conversation, you change the outcome.

That’s it! It’s simple. Leverage the language of enrollment and the power of leading every conversations with questions, and you’ll immediately notice a positive change in your team’s disposition, openness and willingness to be coached.

Remember, in every conversation, without setting positive intent, you will recognize resistance from the coachee because of the negative assumptions they’re making around coaching. (Why does my manager want to coach me now? Am I in trouble? Did I do something wrong? Am I on the path of termination? I thought coaching was only remedial and used to coach a problem or the underperformer?”)

As such, this conversation will be dominated by fear, and resistance. Starting every conversation you initiate by setting positive intent ensures you have a willing participant who wants to have this discussion, since they now hear what the benefits are to them.  

Now, go enroll your team in coaching!