How to Ask Good Questions

In the worlds of coaching, consulting, and sales, the ability to ask good questions is like having a secret weapon in your arsenal.

But what exactly are these questions, and why are they so important?

Let’s dive in and explore the benefit of asking the right questions. We’ll also share some valuable tips on how to master this essential skill.

Understanding “Good” Questions

Good questions are those that provoke thought, encourage reflection, and elicit meaningful responses. They go beyond surface-level inquiries to delve into the heart of the matter.

Whether you’re:

  1. A coach helping clients navigate personal challenges
  2. A consultant seeking to understand a client’s business needs
  3. Or a salesperson aiming to uncover a prospect’s pain points

… asking good questions is the key to unlocking success.

Open vs. Closed-Ended Questions

It is essential to grasp the distinction between open and closed-ended questions. These two types of questions serve different purposes and elicit different types of responses.

Open-Ended Questions: Open-ended questions are designed to encourage expansive responses and invite the speaker to share their thoughts, feelings, and experiences freely.

These questions typically begin with words like “What,” “How,” or “Tell me about.”

They prompt the respondent to provide detailed answers resulting in deeper reflection and conversation.

Open-ended questions are valuable for exploring complex issues, uncovering insights, and building rapport with clients or prospects.

Examples of Open-Ended Questions:

  1. What are your goals for the upcoming year?
  2. How do you feel about your current job?
  3. Tell me about a time when you faced a significant challenge and how you overcame it.

Closed-Ended Questions: In contrast, closed-ended questions are designed to elicit specific, concise responses that can typically be answered with a “yes” or “no” or a brief statement.

These questions often begin with words like “Are,” “Do,” or “Have.”

While closed-ended questions are useful for gathering factual information quickly and efficiently, they tend to limit the scope of the conversation and may inhibit deeper exploration of the topic.

Examples of Closed-Ended Questions:

  1. Are you satisfied with your current living situation?
  2. Do you have any experience with project management software?
  3. Have you attended any industry conferences in the past year?

The Benefits of Asking Good Questions

Now that we’ve covered the basics of question types, let’s explore why asking good questions is so important.

Good questions help build rapport with clients or prospects by demonstrating genuine interest and empathy.

They lead to richer conversations, enabling you to gain a deeper understanding of your client’s or prospect’s needs and objectives.

Moreover, good questions empower individuals themselves to explore new perspectives and challenge assumptions

Tips for Asking Good Questions

  1. Start with Open-Ended Questions: Begin with questions that invite expansive responses, such as “What are your goals?” or “Tell me about your biggest challenges.” This encourages clients or prospects to share their thoughts and feelings freely.
  2. Use Probing Questions: Follow up initial responses with probing questions like “How does that make you feel?” or “Can you elaborate on that?” This encourages deeper reflection and exploration of key issues.
  3. Practice Active Listening: Pay close attention to the responses you receive and ask follow-up questions based on what you hear. This demonstrates that you’re fully engaged and genuinely interested in understanding your client’s or prospect’s perspective.
  4. Avoid Leading Questions: Steer clear of questions that suggest a particular answer or direction, as these can influence the response and undermine the authenticity of the conversation. Instead, strive to maintain neutrality and objectivity in your questioning.
  5. Be Mindful of Tone and Body Language: Ensure that your tone is warm and welcoming, and your body language is open and receptive. This helps create a safe and comfortable environment for clients or prospects to share openly and honestly.

What to Avoid

There are also a few pitfalls to avoid. Avoid bombarding clients or prospects with too many questions at once, as this can feel overwhelming and intrusive. Do not judge the responses. Instead ask clarifying questions.

Strive for a balance between asking insightful questions and allowing space for thoughtful responses.

Additionally, steer clear of questions that are overly complex or convoluted, as these can confuse or frustrate clients or prospects.

Tools to Enable Good Questions

In the quest to ask open-ended questions, having the right tools at your disposal can make all the difference.

One powerful tool that promotes self-reflection and sets the stage for meaningful dialogue is the “Wheel of Life” assessment. This tool provides individuals with a visual representation of various aspects of their lives, such as career, relationships, health, and personal growth.

Consultants can also use a Maturity Model assessment to do this.

By seeing a snapshot of their satisfaction across multiple categories, individuals gain valuable insights into areas where they may be thriving and areas that may require attention.

Such an assessment can be customized for any domain or area.

Armed with this self-awareness, coaches, consultants, and salespeople can ask open-ended questions that delve deeper into clients’ thoughts, feelings, and aspirations.

This lays the foundation for rich and insightful conversations that lead to greater clarity, understanding, and growth.


In conclusion, asking good questions is an indispensable skill for coaches, consultants, and salespeople alike.

By mastering the art of asking probing questions, you can unlock deeper insights.

So, the next time you find yourself in a coaching session, consulting engagement, or sales conversation, remember the power of asking open ended questions. Watch as it transforms your interactions and drives success.

Get started with a 14 day free trial. Create a Wheel of Life or another custom assessment such as a Maturity Model assessment suitable to your business.