Purpose: The goal of this questionnaire is to learn more about you and your goals, your relationships, places in your life that are creating unease or stress, and the ways you regulate yourself. These questions are a starting point to pull out data, but they are far from the end of the conversation. The hope is that we will be able to get a big picture look at the range of issues you are facing and from there choose areas to focus on.
Remember: you are the expert here! You know where the problems really lie, and you may know if there are areas that I’m not asking about. Please volunteer information you think is relevant, and feel free to talk about information that occurs to you even if you aren’t sure how it fits in.
- Describe yourself as someone in your work might describe you. What is it like for people to work with you? How do you act in meetings, with your direct reports? With your boss or board? When are you most productive and least productive? Where do you excel, and how do you excel?
- Name 6 challenges you’ve faced recently or that you are working through now, ideally the stickiest challenges you’re facing or ones that inspired you to come here today. Don’t get into the details now, just a few phrases to describe each:
- Now identify the ones that feel like we should be addressing in these sessions. These could be issues that never got resolved, or are emblematic of deeper trends, or point to an area of deep stress or discomfort.
Relationships with others
- Describe your relationship to your work. How do you feel about it? How do you feel when you walk into work in the morning? When you leave at night? How do you feel when you think about your job in the future? Focus on your emotional state more than intellectual descriptions.
- Now talk about the relationships you have with co-workers, board members, funders, coalition partners, contractors, or others you work closely with. Are any of those relationships struggling with conflict or tension? If so, let’s name the most tense, frustrating, or unresolved relationships here, and then jot down a few words to describe them:
- If you have direct reports, then name a few of those relationships and give a few words to describe them. How often are you meeting with them? What is going well and what needs improvement?
Work and emotions
Emotions have their pros and cons. Emotions can’t solve complicated problems. They can’t make decisions for us. They won’t navigate a difficult relationships or guide you through a tense negotiation. But they *do* serve vital purposes. They can serve as a map. When we feel joy or fulfillment, that is a piece of data. It is our minds and bodies telling us something about how we experience the world and our work. When our emotions are negative—frustration, sadness, anger—that is also useful data. These emotions can tell us that something is broken or not working as it should, or that something is missing.
We can’t decide things on emotions alone —after all, how often will our emotions tell us that something is entirely someone else’s fault? Or that everything is broken beyond repair? But we can listen carefully to our emotions and use the data about those emotions to glean information about the structures, relationships, and work in our lives. Emotions are great indicators for when things are working well and when they need a tune up!
- What makes you happiest in your job? What makes you feel satisfied and fulfilled, if anything? Can you share a sense of why that may be?
- What is the most challenging part of your job? What makes you feel sad, frustrated, disheartened or adrift? Can you share a sense of why that may be?
- Talk about stress. What things make you feel stressed out? How do you showcase that stress? To what degree is stress a problem in your life?
- What do you do for stress relief? How well does that work for you?
- Are there factors outside of the workplace that may be impacting your work now? What might those be? How do they impact your work?
- Describe the perfect future. Who do you want to be and what do you want to be doing? What are your relationships like? How are you handling challenges? What is different from today? Use adjectives to describe yourself and your life. What important accomplishments have you achieved? What have you left behind?
- What goals do you have for this coaching, if any? What would you most like to get out of it?