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Interpersonal Needs and Coaching Questions

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I have presented a set of coaching questions that focus on the needs manifest by the men and women who come to us as clients, seeking to better understand and hopefully improve the interpersonal challenges they face in their organizations. The questions I offer are based on the insight-rich concepts of Will Schutz (and his FIRO theory of interpersonal relationships. Following presentation of the questions, I offer a summary of Schutz’ theory and something about several other interpersonally-related models that expand on Schutz’ theory. A much more substantial description and analysis of Schutz’ interpersonal need theory is to be found in his book, The Human Element, published by Jossey-Bass in 1994. Many other summaries of his theory are to be found on various websites. Will Schutz also wrote an earlier book about FIRO theory, The Interpersonal Underworld. Palo Alto, CA: Science and Behavior Book, 1966) which is a “collector’s item” and hard to find.

The Coaching Questions

I have found the following questions to be of value when coaching an individual client in setting the stage for their exploration of interpersonal challenges. These questions are also of great value when coaching an entire team. These questions are posed with each member of the team. While no member of the team should be required to answer any one of these questions, the dialogue that is generated by team member’s answers to these questions can greatly accelerate and enhance team-building (especially if the team has been newly constituted, is a short-term task force that needs to work effectively in short order, or if the team can been newly reconstituted).

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