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Does the Socratic method really help people learn?

Socratic questioning, a cornerstone of CBT, is as equally useful in coaching to raise awareness, promote reflection and improve problem-solving thinking. Padesky’s (Socratic questioning: Changing minds or guiding discovery? 1993) bifurcation of Socratic questioning, changing minds versus guiding discovery, is commented upon. The characteristics of good Socratic questions are enumerated, the pitfalls of experienced coaches’ over-reliance on intuition to guide their questioning is discussed and how continuing deliberate practice through, for example, providing the logical basis for sequencing questions can correct this ‘intuition bias’. Socratic questioning is demonstrated in a number of coach–coachee dialogues with accompanying commentary. Finally, it is emphasized that asking good Socratic questions is indispensable to the practice of effective coaching.

Source: “Using Socratic Questioning in Coaching” from JOURNAL OF RATIONAL-EMOTIVE & COGNITIVE-BEHAVIOR THERAPY, Volume 27, Number 4, 249-264

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About Eric Barker