Curiosity Ignites The Spirit

Coaching principle 11

By Dr Peter Chee and Dr Jack Canfield

I have no special talents.
I am only passionately curious.

– Albert Einstein

Curiosity ignites the spirit as a coach so you are always tuned in with the need to ask great questions by effective listening. This stems from knowing that you do not know and wanting to know because you know that something is worth knowing. If you thought you already knew something, you would not be curious about it. On the other hand, if you have a clear purpose of knowing, that makes your curiosity even more intense.

There is a common thread among famous inventors: their never-ending journeys of inquiry and exploration, and their quests to create new things. Thomas Edison was infinitely curious about how to bring light into the world without having to light a fire, and he invented the lightbulb after reportedly making over two thousand attempts.

Curiosity nurtures the innate drive to explore and discover better ways of being and acting that lead to more desirable outcomes in your coaching sessions. That benefits both you and your coachee. As a coach, you need to first acknowledge that you do not have all the answers the client is seeking. If you enter coaching convinced that you know everything there is to know, you run the risk of putting on the hat of an instructor or consultant and not that of a coach.

As a coach, you are expected to ask great questions and be an effective listener in order to draw out the answers that lie within the person you are coaching. But if you’re not really interested, your listening will lack depth and the questions you ask will be superficial. Genuine curiosity for a good purpose makes you open to new ideas. You become enthusiastic about learning so you ask a lot of helpful and insightful questions.

Curiosity is something you can develop in yourself. One good way to switch it on is by formulating questions. Start a question with the words, “I am very interested to know,” or “I am so curious to find out,” followed by the question. By using these phrases during the coaching conversation, you will stimulate creative thinking on the part of the client, who is looking for the answer.

Another way to encourage curiosity is to engage in “radiant thinking.” This involves focusing on a person or an issue and looking at it from many different perspectives to discover new insights. For example, when someone you coach is considering a new strategic direction for his organization, you can creatively explore his various intentions, plans, and the possible repercussions that might occur together with the strengths, and opportunities he has, as well as the weaknesses and threats that might exist. In this way, your client can get a lot of valuable input for consideration before rolling out the change.

Curiosity stems from knowing that we do not know and wanting to know because we know that something is worth knowing

– Jack Canfield and Peter Chee

When you get really curious about how to achieve better and better outcomes in your coaching, it motivates you to keep thinking and trying new creative approaches. As you ask better questions and listen more deeply, you help people find more ingenious solutions. Your authentic curiosity helps to spark their innate curiosity.

This will lead them to want to know where their true strengths and passions reside, what gives them true fulfillment and happiness, what is the desired outcome they wish to create, what they need to do to achieve better results, how they can overcome their internal problems and their external roadblocks, and what new behaviors they need to commit to. When both you and your client interact from a position of “I don’t know, but let’s explore this together and find out,” you embark on an exciting journey of discovery.


  1. WHAT can you do to cultivate a spirit of curiosity?
  2. WHAT can you do to remind yourself to be curious during a coaching session?
  3. WHAT are the roadblocks that is preventing you from being curious when coaching?
  4. HOW can you remain curious when you think you already know the answer to something?
  5. WHAT questions can you ask to spark creative thinking in others when coaching?



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World #1 Strategic Innovation Coach and World #3 Coaching Guru Dr Peter Chee

Coaching for Breakthrough Success combines time-tested principles of exemplary coaches with the latest disruptive techniques used by the world’s top performing leaders, this step-by-step playbook shows you how to nurture—in yourself and others—the three essential requirements of coaching excellence