5 Self-Coaching Questions for Uncertain Times

One of the biggest advantages of training to be a coach has been the ability to turn these skills on to myself, and show others how to do the same.

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Coaching skills and tools have been particularly useful to me during the current pandemic. I wanted to share some examples from one of these skills, in the hope they’ll also be useful to you too!

 5 Empowering Self-Coaching Questions

Coaching questions are open, thought-provoking, often very simple, and help us move forward with our thinking. Here are 5 that have helped me in recent weeks.

1) What’s in my control?

In times of challenge or heightened feelings of overwhelm, it can feel as things are slipping out of our grasp. Asking this simple yet powerful question, can narrow our focus of attention and enable us to think more about what’s manageable.

Basically - we can control:

  • how we respond to others
  • how we choose to act
  • how we choose to think

But we can’t actually control other people (much as we might want to!)

With regard to how we choose to think - this is about recognising our thoughts and changing unhelpful ones to something more useful or productive. For example:

You hear yourself thinking: “I’ll never be able to do ‘X’!”

Then change it to: “I could do ‘X’ if I ask for help / speak to my partner / believe in myself more ...” etc.

2) What’s the simplest answer / solution?

I admit that I’m a ‘detail’ person, and so can overcomplicate things! This trait hasn’t been in my favour recently, so I’ve been working hard to come up with simpler ways of making decisions.

Answering this question helps me feel at ease and reduce any feelings of too much choice or overwhelm.

3) What’s the best question I could ask myself right now?

A great question if you’re stuck! It’s as if you are your own critical friend. You know yourself best and can filter out unhelpful questions.

With a coaching mindset, you believe that you have the answers within you (or know where to go to find them). Be kind to yourself, as well as being positively challenging.

A couple of questions I’ve ended up asking myself, in response to this, have been:

- Do I really need to be doing this right now?

- Which action would be most useful to me here?


4) Which of my strengths could help me here?

Like many people, I’ve been faced with making changes to my business in a short space of time. At times I’ve felt as if I’m constantly living in my stretch zone, which has been exhausting.

One of the ways I’ve dealt with this is by focusing on what I’ve already got (strengths, resources, etc), so I don’t feel like I’m reinventing the wheel. As a result, my days have felt more manageable, and I’ve had more energy.

What strengths do you have that you may not be using to help you right now?


5) If I wasn’t putting pressure on myself, how would that feel? Or what could I achieve?

A great stress-reducing question. (Also a bit sneaky, as it’s 2 questions in 1!)

Admittedly, challenging and uncertain times will create additional pressures. We can alleviate these by firstly recognising the impact they’re having on us, and secondly by using these questions to encourage us to think of possible alternative situations.

They’re great ‘what if ...’ questions. If you’re quite a visual person, you might also like to add here: “And what would it look like when I’m not putting pressure on myself?”


Which is your favourite question out of the 5 above, and why?

There are lots of other great coaching questions that could be useful right now.

Which other questions have helped you?

Debbie Inglis

Resilience Coach, Square Two Development Ltd

Having spent 16 years in the education sector, I left suffering from burnout. Looking for another career - coaching ticked all my boxes. At the time it was still a growing industry and I was one of the first to gain a PGCert in Life & Business Coaching (Derby University). I'm now on a mission to help prevent school leaders and teachers leaving the profession because of overwhelm, illness & disillusionment. Loving the huge benefits of having coaching skills to support others, for the last 10 years I've been sharing that by training school leaders, teachers and managers in the private sector in coaching skills. My 4-day course is accredited by the ILM (Level 5) and the CPD Standards Office. Following overcoming a series of personal challenges, I've become interested in mental toughness and resilience, and the strategies you can use to manage and overcome life's challenges. In 2015 I became licensed to deliver 3 Mental Toughness online assessments (for adults and young people), and now use this as a support for identifying coaching goals, building leadership resilience and delivering Mental Toughness & Resilience training. With a mission to support the coaching industry, and facilitate the development of other coaches, I've led a Coaches CPD group in the East Midlands since 2011, and I'm also a Coach Supervisor. Connect with me if you'd like to chat about any of the above. Best wishes, Debbie


Go to the profile of Pranita
over 1 year ago

Debbie thanks for this article. I particularly loved your question 5 and am going to try getting into a habit of posing myself this question, to help me access my creative and curious mindset more often.

Go to the profile of Debbie Inglis
over 1 year ago

Thanks for your comment Pranita, and I love your reasoning for question 5!
I believe our creative mindsets don't get used often enough, and they perhaps need more recognition for how well they support and develop us :)