Getting Curious: #18 of 28 Big Ideas from the World of Coaching

This article is nineteenth in a multi-part series that adapts and excerpts my entire book, The Coach Within: 28 Big Ideas for Engaging the Power of Your Own Wisdom, Creativity, and Choices* (Everything Goes Media, 2017).


18. Getting Curious

“Be curious, not judgmental.”

— Walt Whitman

“We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

— Walt Disney Company

Getting curious serves a dual role for a coach. First, in its childlike, unassuming posture, it’s a potent means to explore the unknown and unlock the undiscovered with a client. Secondly, curiosity provides a template for how to be with a client — authentic, interested, and present rather than judgmental. A coach asks open-ended questions (big idea 5) not to interrogate, correct, or analyze, but to provoke a client’s own wisdom and awareness.

Do the same for yourself. Cultivate a generous attitude of wonder, genuine interest, and appreciation for what’s happening under the surface. Skip the harsh, berating questions, as well as the pithy, easy ones. Engage your curiosity and use provocative, significant probing to learn about yourself and awaken the hidden territory. Like a coach, your inquiries don’t all have to be actual questions:

  • Say more about that…

  • Tell me more…

  • Let’s explore that…

  • How interesting! [prolonged silence]

  • Oh!

  • Ahhh…


Your Coaching To-Do’s

⎕ Are you still feeling right, right now (big idea 17)? I hope so! I hope you’re still savoring all of that as-is perfection we generated in the last lesson. Let’s keep that alive and make this lesson’s task a nice, long, relaxing walk devoted to getting curious. There’s nothing to work on or accomplish, just wonder deeply about yourself while you amble: What do I think of this book and its coaching techniques so far? Which tools are most interesting to me? Where have I seen the most results? What has surprised me most? How am I incorporating these concepts into my life? How can I use them to achieve my most important goals? What am I discovering about myself? What’s opening up to me next?

*affiliate link