Have you encountered coaches who respond to your sharing by asking a series of “Why” questions? This technique is often used to help a client delve into an immediate problem.
I avoid using “Why” questions in coaching. They can take the form of manipulation or judgment. Why equals....Explain yourself!
Alternative to asking "Why?"
A different sort of question can be supportive and constructive. “Are you willing to explore ...”
This approach both honors the client and offers a choice: If she wants to explore options, even a little bit, this type of question can open the door.
Here’s how a conversation might go for overeating:
Client: “I know I’m not hungry, but I just want to eat”
Coach: Are you willing to explore how eating is helping you?
Client: “I don’t want to deal with xyz, I just want to eat”
Coach: Are you willing to explore what you’re feeling about xyz when you eat?
The client can test the water. Empowered and feeling safe, she may decide to explore feelings about eating. Or she may not want to.
Either decision offers an opportunity to understand the basis of her choices.
When I share something personal and my listener responds with "Why", I feel challenged rather than supported, or validated. I draw back, Oh!, Oh! - I'm not going to share anymore with her/him!
Have you had a listener ask you "why" after you shared something personal like overeating. Have you found different shades of meaning in "Why?"