Project "Questioning sequences in Coaching"

Project leader: Prof. Dr. Thomas Spranz-Fogasy
Team: Gundula Fofana (parental leave), Prof. Dr. Thomas Spranz-Fogasy
Project context: Asking questions is a core intervention across helping professions. This project analyses questioning sequences in systemic-solution oriented, work-related coaching. Coaching builds on the interaction between coach and client, addresses clients’ work-related problems and aims to facilitate clients’ change. The project analyses the sequentially organized coaching interaction and how it develops across the continuum of coaching sessions. The sequential relation between coaches’ and clients’ turns thereby guarantees the transformation of clients’ experience and the development of new ideas and thereby contribute to the process of change across successful coaching interactions.
Research questions are: What kinds of questioning sequences (i.e. coach’s question – client’s response – coach’s reaction to client’s response) occur within a coaching process? What are their coaching-specific functions? How frequent are the various types of questioning sequences across coaching phases, sessions and processes? What relationship exists between frequency of un- / successful sequences and the local and global effectiveness of coaching?
The project aims to develop a coaching-specific typology of questioning sequences and to investigate their coaching-specific change potentials, i.e. how questions contribute to change in and for the clients.
The study uses authentic, video-taped and linguistically transcribed coaching processes, which are analyzed within a mixed-methods research design that draws on qualitative linguistic and qualitative/quantitative psychological methods. With coaching data from Austria, Germany and Switzerland, the project covers the entire German-speaking coaching market.
The international and interdisciplinary research project is funded by the FWF (Lead Agency), the DFG and the SNF. Project leaders are Prof. Dr. Eva-Maria Graf, University of Klagenfurt/Austria (linguist and coach), Prof. Dr. Thomas Spranz-Fogasy, Leibniz-Institut for German Language /Mannheim (linguist) and Prof. Hansjörg Künzli ZHAW/Zurich (psychologist and coach).
Contact: Hanan Farah,; Gundula Fofana (parental leave),; Prof. Dr. Thomas Spranz-Fogasy,
Detailed information on the research project can be found at