Coaching Conversations: The Tunnelling Out Technique

Coaching Conversations: The Tunnelling Out Technique

Written By: Kevin Watson

19th February 2015

This week, I’d like to share with you a neat little framework to hold your coaching conversations.

If I had a pound for every person that has come up to me and asked: “I’ve got a problem but I can’t seem to find a solution – can you help me?” I’d be a very rich man!

In order to help someone with a problem using a coaching conversation, questions need to be asked – but where do you start?

Here are a few ideas to help you on your way, using a series of questions called the tunnelling out technique.

It’s called this because it’s been designed to help people with their tunnel vision, removing the blinkers from their problem or challenge.

Here goes:

1. Context

Start by asking questions about the problem they are facing. A simple question such as:

Q: What’s the problem you have right now?

2. Outcome

Follow up by asking questions about their desired outcome. For example:

Q: What do you really want?

Q: Why is this imp[oprtant? 

3. Expectations

Then, ask questions to set and specify expectations or the evidence criteria to be used once the desired outcome is achieved:

Q: How will you know when you have achieved what you want?

Q: What specific measures of success will you set?

4. Resources

Ask questions to identify the resources this person has already that can help achieve the outcome. Something like:

Q: What skills, resources, expertise etc do you already have that will help you achieve your desired outcome?

5. Options

Finally, ask questions to explore what is possible, ideas that may not have been thought of yet. Here are some examples you can use:

Q: What are your options?

Q: What else could you do?

Q: How else might you be able to achieve what you want?

Q: What would your closest friend do?

Q: What have you done in the past that is similar?

This is a really useful technique, providing structure to your coaching conversation.

Go ahead, try it out for yourself and let me know how you get on.

Coaching Works

Download your free copy of this illustrated eBook, with quotes from coaches around the world in response to the question: how do you know when coaching works?


Coaching Conversations

articles, videos and resources to further the conversation about coaching

Coaching Development

articles, videos and exercises to help you develop your own coaching skills

Leadership Coaching

articles and resources to help develop your leadership practice

Team Coaching

articles and resources to help create and maintain teams and high-performance teamworking

Coaching News

articles, videos and resources from around the globe curated for you to enjoy

You May Also Like:

How Will You Reflect On Your Day?

How Will You Reflect On Your Day?

One of the great achievements coaching is credited for is the emergence of reflecting as a discipline. Use the WHAT, SO WHAT, NOW WHAT to help you reflect and grow.

What Are You Doing About Your Blind Spot?

What Are You Doing About Your Blind Spot?

You may have heard of the Johari Window, a simple and useful tool for illustrating and improving self-awareness. It’s especially relevant today, placing emphasis on building empathy, collaboration, inter-team development and interpersonal development.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share This