I have asked “why” approximately 30 times over the last three days. Partly to myself and partly to my clients. It might just be my favorite thing to do.
But this tricky, seemingly little question used to be a question left unasked in my previous life as a trained counselor.
Towards the end of my masters degree in counseling, I took an intensive course on the in’s and out’s of an actual counseling session.
I very specifically remember the professor reminding us to avoid asking why during one of our lessons.
All of us students knew to never ask the question-that-must-not-be-asked, but the professor reminded us yet again to really hammer in the point.
In one particular class, I sat staring at my professor as she displayed a pseudo counseling session with another professor. I was impressed at how well she listened, took notes, and most importantly, avoided the question-that-must-not-be-asked.
This was so hard for me!
I loved asking why and understanding the reason the person in front of me did the thing they did.
I’ve been told I’m a questioner and that one of my learning styles is to ask why.
I never really grasped the issue with asking my client why, but I do as I’m told. And so, I let it go and got really good at asking how questions.
That is, until I decided to step away from counseling and become a coach.
I thought I knew of all the amazing things I’d be able to experience in this transition and all that would be different for me as a coach, but I could never have guessed this one thing that would really knock my socks off.
Let’s see if you can guess it…
One of the first lessons you learn as a life coach: ask why!
Could I have found a more perfect career?!?
As if to prove it true, I now ask my clients why at every single coaching session as often as I can.
Asking why often enough gets the real answer from my client, gets to the real reason they do what they do.
And believe me, no one, not even yourself, will ask why as much as I will. I’ve been working on the courage and clarity it takes to do so and now consider it one of my superpowers.
However, if you’re interested in getting curious and doing the deep work of knowing why you do (or don’t do) what you do, then here are a few tips from a professional questioner to help you out:
1.) Let go of all defensive and judgement before asking yourself why. Asking why and getting an answer is never for the end goal of punishing yourself.
2.) Write down your answers. It’s hard to really know what’s going on in your brain when there’s 60,000 thoughts swarming around in there on a daily basis.
3.) Have compassion for yourself, both who you are now and who you were when said “thing” happened. Curiosity always works best when paired with a heavy dose of compassion.
For more personal help, let’s get on a call. I’d love to show you my questioning superpowers as we see if coaching is right for you. There’s no better person to get on a call with and discuss whether to hire a coach or not then the person who will you help get to the true answer, the why. And that’s exactly what we’ll do.