The 12 Questions to Self-Coaching

Hi there,

What’s the Story?

This week’s podcast returns to cover more of the work of Jordan B. Peterson as I tackle two of his books ‘12 Rules for Life’ and ‘Beyond Order’. I walk through 24 rules all suggested by Peterson. You can access that here:

Today’s article, however, takes a departure as we talk about how to coach yourself.



The 12 Questions to Self-Coaching

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes 27 seconds


One of the practices that the highest performers tend to use is the power of coaching. Having successfully coached billionaires, Olympic athletes, and high performers, I figured it would be useful to walk you through the most important questions that I use in my coaching conversations.

These questions are powerful regardless of what type of coaching you use. If you are doing executive coaching, life coaching, career coaching, performance coaching, or even if you are informally coaching a member of your team in your company, these twelve questions are the most valuable tools that you can possibly have in your toolkit.

Whether or not you coach others, you can use these questions in coaching yourself. As we go through each question and example, try and answer the questions for yourself.

1. What do you want, exactly?

This first question is an obvious one. Understanding what you want helps you to begin moving towards it. The important element here, however, is the word exactly.

Often the big issue is a lack of clarity in terms of what we want to achieve.

It is essential to be as clear and specific as possible in identifying what you want to accomplish to optimize the likelihood that you will be successful.

2. Why do you want it?

This question is the key to building motivation and driving you to succeed. When you ask the question Why? you put yourself in a position whereby the question is motivational by its very nature.

As you answer the question, you are vividly thinking about the reasons you want what you want. This amplifies the desire.


3. What will this look like once you succeed?

This question is very helpful in following on from the first question. Here you are making the goal tangible and something that you can actually measure or know when you are successful.

You give yourself the opportunity to have a way to know when you have done what you need to do.

4. Is achieving this worth it?

When you ask this question, you are protecting yourself against self-sabotage. So often, because we don’t fully think through whether something is worth it, we don’t fully go after it.

By asking this question, you consider the reasons for and against succeeding and you evaluate the time, energy, and effort you put in. You also become aware of how this goal will impact the other people in your life so it is worth it overall.

5. What stops you from achieving it?

Here, you are identifying specifically what gets in your way. You are exploring everything that can possibly prevent you from succeeding so you know exactly what you need to overcome.

When asking this question, pay attention to whether or not what stops you is something internal (to do with you and how you’re thinking) or external (to do with factors outside of you).

6. Is it possible that you are wrong in that assumption?

Whenever you start talking about what stops you, this is often where your limiting beliefs come into play. This question challenges those limiting beliefs and offers you the chance to rethink and consider alternative perspectives that might assist you in moving forward.

7. What can you control or influence and what can’t you?

When you ask this question, you are becoming really clear about exactly what you can control and be certain of, what you can influence and impact, and what lies outside of your control.

By knowing what fits in each category:

1) Control,

2) Influence, and

3) Outside of control or influence,

you can work on those in the first two categories and accept what’s in the third.

8. What do you need to achieve it?

This question is designed to give you clarity about what resources are necessary for you to overcome the challenges and successfully achieve the goal.

By answering this, you are gaining an understanding as to exactly what you need to use and leverage to win.


9. What options do you have at your disposal?

With this question, you are helping yourself to understand the various options you have and what is possible for you to do.

This means instead of just choosing the first idea that comes into your mind, you’re evaluating the different possibilities that are there and deciding on the most optimal route forward.

10. What is the sequence of steps you will take to achieve it?

Here, you build the strategy so that you can go from where you are, and by acquiring and leveraging the resources and choosing the best options, you can overcome the challenges to achieve the goal.

11. What will you do once you’re successful?

This question is extremely powerful for two reasons. First, it presupposes that you will be successful which builds confidence and conviction. This has a positive impact on performance.

Second, it gets you thinking about the future and how you can celebrate and learn from the experience of achieving the goal.

12. What is the next goal you want to achieve?

The final question is helpful because it starts the process again. Human beings are goal-seeking creatures. We constantly strive for things.

The key is to be proactive and strategic in terms of what you strive for so it’s worth pursuing. By thinking ahead and answering this question, you give yourself a recipe for future success.

These twelve questions are by no means the only powerful questions… but they are extremely important. You can use them to coach anyone including yourself.



The Brain Prompt

What are the three most important areas of your life and business you would like to get coaching on?

  • Which is the most important of those three?

  • Go through the questions above and write out clear and full answers to each question.
  • Do the same thing for the second and third most important areas as well.


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P.S. To watch this week’s Changing Minds podcast episode on ‘The 24 Rules of Jordan B. Peterson’, check it out here.





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