This classic NLP question shifts clients into investigative mode, encouraging them to become curious about what they indeed want. Asking it is particularly effective when clients seem stuck in the opposite scenario: what they don't want.
Very often people respond initially to this question with more negatives:
Until they come to coaching, many people haven't experienced the luxury of questioning what they really want. They've been what NLP terms at effect rather than at cause. They're always reacting to circumstances or demands placed on them rather than taking responsibility for creating their own experiences. Shifting clients to a place where they give themselves permission to consider what they want can be a challenge. You may be pushing them in this direction for the first time in their lives.
If clients struggle to articulate what they want, try some alternative ways of asking this question such as:
Also consider framing the question within a specific context such as: ‘What do you want…’