Top coach Timothy Gallwey, author of the classic Inner Game book series has a simple formula for coaching clients to be at their best:
P = p – i
The formula proposes that performance (P) equals potential (p) minus the interference (i). In order to reach potential, you need to tackle whatever gets in the way. This interference may include:
This coaching question pinpoints the interference factors that need to change in order to turn a situation around. For example, if you're coaching an executive in an organisation, asking this question determines whether she needs to focus on what isn't working in the practical infrastructure in terms of a team and technology, or if she needs to pay attention to her leadership style and behaviour. Often the answer to this question involves a combination of making changes in both the environment and one's personal approach.