A pre coaching questionnaire is something that you can ask your coachee to complete or use as a basis of an initial conversation, and can serve the purpose of finding out about the coachee (ie gaining information for your benefit as coach) and also to start the reflective process within the coachee (for their benefit as coachee).
More specifically you may use it to…
Typically I would issue this questionnaire once I had established whether someone was right for coaching and what they wanted from the process so would be issued after the pre-coaching conversation. Therefore the questions I pose tend to be more about raising awareness and stimulating thinking in my client rather than fact finding on my behalf and it typically forms the basis of the first session.
The advantage of issuing it as a questionnaire for your coachee to complete before you start the coaching process is that it gives time for your coachee to think about their answers and perhaps give more comprehensive responses. It also means that you are in effect accelerating the coaching process if your potential coachee has been given the opportunity to stimulate their thinking before they start.
The down side however is that a coachee, particularly with sensitive issues may choose not to reveal all on their questionnaire so you could get a slightly inaccurate picture of them. For example they may state their goals, but on further probing there is an underlying issue that they may need to address. If you do issue it as a questionnaire for them to complete and return to you don’t take it as face value and always explore their responses.
I have seen (and completed) some very lengthy questionnaires and sometimes am left wondering what purpose it serves and for whose benefit. Personally when I use one I ask just a few (between 5 and 10) questions to help get my client thinking and I reserve the rest of the questions for the coaching session itself. I always find that I tend to adapt my questions depending on my client and what we have already discussed in their pre-coaching conversation - I see no point in repeating questions we already have the answers to.
For some ideas on the questions you might use see
sample pre-coaching questionnaire.
Sample Pre Coaching Questionnaire
Pre Coaching Conversation
Coaching Programme Design
First Coaching Session
Intake Session Checklist
Reasons To End A Coaching Relationship
Ending The Coaching Relationship
Post Coaching Relationship