Inquiries & Stretches

Inquiries and stretches are assignments that help you continue the momentum achieved during a coaching session.  Once you're on a roll, stay in motion!  You report on the results of your inquiry or stretch at the next coaching session.

Inquiries and stretches are typically used at different phases in coaching.  While in the phase of deepening your understanding around an issue or desired change, you may be served well by choosing an inquiry to ponder between sessions.  When you're ready to move into action, you may be served well by setting a particular task to complete before the next session.


An inquiry is an open-ended, introspective question for you to ponder over an extended period of time, e.g. a week, intended to deepen your learning through reflection and exploration.  It is typically a broad question, often having been generalized from one more specific to the circumstances at hand.  Inquiries have no right or wrong answers—the value is in the learning that results from the process of considering the question.


  • What am I pretending not to know?
  • What is my prevalent mood?
  • Where am I kidding myself?
  • Where am I holding back?  Moving forward?
  • What do I get from being stuck?
  • What am I resisting?  What have I been putting up with?
  • What am I gaining by being _______ (e.g. afraid, argumentative)?
  • Where am I too hard on myself?

Often, these are formulated by generalizing from a specific issue that's arisen.  InquiringFor example: Someone who's trying to lose weight may find themselves being tempted by yet another cookie.  They might want to understand what's going on for them so they can begin to change their behavior.  They could begin with a question: "What do I feel when I want the cookie?"  Then they could generalize that into an Inquiry: "What do I feel when I want?" or "What do I feel when I have to go without?"  They could ponder this over the next week, returning to it each time they were tempted by another cookie, noticing what comes up.

The learning from this consideration supports you in deepening your understanding of the particular issue as well as in recognizing that the issue may represent a broader pattern in your life.  This provides the understanding necessary to make choices about moving into action.


A stretch is a well-defined task with measurable results to be completed within a specified time.  It is intended to further your agenda, and is something that will be a stretch for you to complete rather than something that you normally would have done.


  • I will complete the first draft of my business introduction letter by our next session in preparation for mailing it to associates who might provide me referrals.
  • I will populate milestones for the next three months on my business plan by our next session.
  • I will call my brother by Wednesday to discuss the effect on me of his behavior at my friend's wedding.
  • I will outline the first two chapters for my new book.
  • I will make appointments to view three houses that meet the criteria we just outlined.
  • I will have a discussion with my life partner to share my new understanding from this session of the resentment that's been building as I've sublimated my needs to accommodate theirs.
Exhilaration Of Completing a Stretch

Once you have sufficient understanding around the change you wish to make in your life and have an overall plan, you move into action by selecting a piece of it to complete in short order, typically by the next coaching session.  You will be held accountable for this stretch; that is, you will be asked to give an account—a reason or explanation—for what you did toward it.

Notice that YOU select your stretch to further YOUR agenda.  This is not about committing to and being held accountable for what someone else wants you to achieve.  This is all about you.

There are two ways to win with a stretch.  The first is that you complete it.  Congratulations!!  You have moved closer to your goal!  Celebration time.

The second is that you encounter obstacles and learn from that experience.  Notice what arises as you attempt the task.  What is blocking you?  What choices are you making?  What shadow is driving your decisions that prevent you from completing the task?  Is this indicative of a pattern in your life?  This exploration constitutes the learning piece of an accountability process.  Accountability is not about punishment or penance; it is solely about learning.  With the new understanding you can retarget and move into action.

Stretches are a powerful mechanism for supporting you in moving into action intended to bring about the changes you desire.

Powerful RequestsHelping Hand

Your coach may suggest a stretch for you in the form of a powerful request.  This will be a call to action consisting of three parts: an action, a time frame, and the value to you, which is aligned with your agenda.  The request is made by the coach without attachment.  You may accept, decline, negotiate terms, or promise to respond by a specified time.

Example: Will you respond to three personal ads by Friday so that you engage the process of meeting potential romantic interests?

Powerful requests can be helpful in getting the ball rolling when you are being tentative about moving into action.

Seize Truth
Dan Craft
San Francisco Bay Area