Skip to main content

Maria Connolly, LPC Facebook Facebook Facebook

Clarify Your WHY: 7 Go-To Questions That Keep You Focused On Your Dreams

Here are 7 go-to questions that help you clarify your WHY, because once you know why you’re doing something, it’s easier to see if it’s helpful or not.We are all coaches. We coach ourselves by correcting or cheering ourselves on toward our dreams. We coach others as we give them advice, support, and encouragement. But most people come to a coaching role without training. That’s why it’s so important to have some go-to resources that help you clarify your WHY, because once you know why you’re doing something it’s easier to see if it’s helpful or not.

I’m happy to see more people being formally trained in the art of coaching. The most effective coaches know how important building relationships are in the process of achieving our dreams. 

Adjusting to change is hard. That’s why we need supportive and caring relationships that guide us through the process. I recently experienced this myself, as I once again took on the role of a student rather than a coach. I learned about International Coaching Federation some years ago. Its program and philosophy deeply resonate with me. So I immersed myself in learning and applying it to my life and coaching practice. I thought I had it nailed until… well,  more about that in a moment…

We all need some go-to points of reasoning that keep us on track with our dreams. It’s especially good to revisit them when you’re feeling lost or overconfident, which are the two ends of the spectrum of having life figured out.

7 Go-To Questions That Clarify Your WHY, Keep You Centered, Focused, and On Track

Let’s examine these from the perspective of a professional life coach, but keep in mind that these questions will benefit any relationship or endeavor.

1. What is your motivation? Most men and women who want to be professional life coaches have huge hearts and want to make a difference. 

    • Sound motivation will help you weather the ups and downs of running a coaching business because your higher purpose will keep alive the big picture of how you want your life and business to be.
    • Slowing down and examining your motive will also help you determine if you’re truly being helpful or interfering in the other person’s journey through life.

2. What are your strengths? Life coaches should be energetic, inspiring, motivating, and well-organized. You’ll need excellent listening and communication skills. 

    • This requires preparation, training, integrity, and the ability to maintain a professional relationship with clients. 
    • Become a powerful influencer, so your clients take action. You need to be able to look at a client’s life with an unbiased eye and offer a fresh perspective. You’ll also be providing accountability for your clients, so they can continue their forward momentum.

3. What is your focus? A professional coach must focus on what the client wants and needs, NOT what you think they need. 

    • When you’re coaching, your motives and goals are kept out of the picture. 
    • It’s not about what you think is important. It’s all about supporting your client in what he or she thinks is important.

4. What is your specialty? When you identify your niche or specialized area of expertise, your coaching skills will excel and you’ll attract clients who will benefit most from your skills. 

    • Rather than offering a generalized coaching practice, pick a maximum of three very specific topics in which you excel. 
    • The more targeted and focused you are, the more focused your clients will be, and the better the results will be.

For example, if you have a social work background you might specialize in coaching people through their grief, divorce, or adoption. If you’re from a business background, you might specialize in business advancement and excellence. If you have a healthcare background, you might address specific health issues or physical disabilities.

5. What is your education? Successful life coaches realize that a well-rounded education is imperative. 

    • Certification from a reputable coaching program enhances your coaching career. You don’t want to cut corners on your education. 
    • And be aware that having a certificate isn’t the “be all end all”. Because one approach alone will not serve your clients, you’ll want to continue your education.
    • However, the best education comes from working with your clients. So don’t think you need to know everything to get started.

When you become a professional life coach, your education doesn’t stop at the services you offer, either. You’re going to become a business owner, so you also need to learn about business skills such as time management, calculating your cash flow, and marketing.

6. What are your approaches? Helping each client will be a very individualized process. 

    • Methods that work for one may not work for another. 
    • Develop plans based on each client’s strengths, weaknesses, abilities, and limitations. And don’t forget their spirituality and core values.

7. What are some additional trainings? You’ll benefit from studying psychology and personal development. 

    • A mindfulness practice to help our coaches stay in the moment. 
    • Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) helps improve your communication skills, as well as centering techniques, and breathing exercises. 
    • Somatic coaching helps you ground your work in the body. 
    • These give a well-rounded base of knowledge from which to draw. However, don’t get overwhelmed by the choices. Start at the basics and then you can move on to the next.

Now back to my story…

Once I reconsidered these questions, I knew that I had to approach my work with my ICF Mentor Coach with a beginner’s mindset, a growth mentality. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be open to her feedback. 

When I signed up, I was excited, intimidated, but also resigned to do what I needed to do to get my credential. I came to this process with many years of experience as a coach. 

However, my fundamental understanding of coaching came from NLP — I coached using NLP skills and tools, and I taught NLP coaching to others —  it had become an unconscious competence

And that unconscious competence got in the way. I had to unlearn old ways of coaching to make room for ICF competencies. The process was challenging, at times discouraging, and overall, very frustrating. My mentor coach supported this process of unlearning and relearning with kindness and humor and kept me going. 

Ultimately, I gained a wider range of choices in my coaching style. NLP is still part of my repertoire, but I have so much more than that to offer. As I continue with my education. I understand better what it is like to be the student, being excited, intimidated, impatient, and feeling discouraged when the results take time. I look forward to guiding coaches with this new-found awareness.

Depending on where you are in your journey, I can help you with basic Stepping Forward skills, Somatic skills, NLP skills, and now ICF Mentor Coaching! Please contact me and let’s discuss which option is best for you.

Thank you for the photo  Tim Mossholder

Personal Growth - Professional Growth

Let's get started with 30 free minutes

I invite you to learn more about me and my coaching and counseling services. Please contact me to schedule an “It starts with you!” 30-minute complimentary consultation with me, in-person, by phone or via video consultation, so we can explore our partnership.


How to Step Forward to a Future You've Created

Discover how to replace your old, self-limiting map with a new map full of possibilities for the future