Curiosity and Intuition: Powerful questions, judgment-free inquisitiveness

You probably already know the one-word answer to most Sunday school questions:


Did you know there is a one-word answer to the questions coaches are asking mentors most?


  • How do I know what to ask my client next?
  • How do I transition from one phase of the session to the next?
  • How will I know if my direct communication is resonating with the client?

What does this have to do with curiosity, intuition and powerful questions with judgment-free inquisitiveness?


Listening is the core from which all three of these coaching components emerge organically and synergistically.

Co-Active Coaching purports three levels of listening:

  • Internal Listening: emphasis on how what the client is saying applies to the coach.
  • Focused Listening: emphasis on how what the client is saying applies to the client.
  • Global Listening: emphasis on what is not being said but is sensed environmentally

While we need to spend most of our time in coaching sessions listening at levels 2 or 3, Christians have a whole other level that trumps the rest: The Holy Spirit.

The Spirit is in us and will instruct us as to what we ought to say at exactly the right time (Luke 12:12). The client has the coach as a helper, and we have the Holy Spirit (yes, so does the client). That’s really all we need.

Pragmatically, I believe that is how intuition comes into the picture.

We get that gut feeling there is something else. Sometimes we have a sense of exactly what it is. Sometimes we do not know what it is, but we know there is another layer that needs to be uncovered.

If we’re listening well, this comes naturally. If we are not listening well, we become too busy listening to our own thoughts and miss the words of the client and the Holy Spirit.

We are naturally curious creatures; and if we listen well, that will come through. Curiosity, like intuition, comes from listening well. We need to cease striving in these areas and know God will be the Master Coach (Psalm 46:10). He is responsible for the results. We are responsible to show up and listen.

Through listening well, letting the Holy Spirit speak through intuition and remaining naturally curious, the wellspring of powerful questions will flow.

A powerful question is not one that is perfectly formulated in the coach’s head and then beautifully articulated through verbal communication. It is simply the next best question to ask the client to help him or her move forward through expanded awareness and exploration.

Curious Inquiry: What would happen if we spent less time worrying about what to say next and more time listening, so we can hear the client and the Holy Spirit; and then let our own natural curiosity come through in our response?

By |2017-01-10T20:57:22+00:00January 28th, 2016|Categories: Articles, Coaching Skills, Uncategorized|Tags: , |2 Comments

About the Author:

Shelly Cantrell works as a life and leadership coach, consultant, freelance writer, influential speaker and photojournalist who mentors and teaches in those fields. She also partners with business owners to grow and build their teams. Shelly is passionate about loving God, others and herself well, while likewise inspiring the world. She encourages women to practice unselfish self-care for work and life balance. Whether she’s working or playing, Shelly delights in being and doing most anything outside with friends and family—especially at the ocean or in the mountains. To connect, e-mail Shelly.


  1. Don Mingo February 4, 2016 at 9:10 pm - Reply

    Good thoughts here Shelley!

  2. Shelly S. Cantrell March 6, 2016 at 5:38 pm - Reply

    Thanks Don!

Leave A Comment