Why Coaches Make the Best ChatGPT Prompt Writers

Powerful Questions.

Have you ever wondered why certain prompts elicit particularly solid responses from ChatGPT and others, hmm, not so much?

The secret isn’t solely in the quality of the questions asked but also in how they’re posed by the prompter.

As coaches, we’ve put in the time and developed our skills around empathy and understanding. This, I believe, places us in a position where we can imagine many different possibilities and perspectives – we’ve trained to maintain a high-altitude ‘helicopter’ view of the landscape, if you like.

Experienced coaches have also honed the art (and it is an art, not a science) of asking open-ended, powerful, thought-provoking questions to guide their clients towards self-discovery.

You might say that a coach’s real-world ‘prompts’ help their clients unpack their thoughts, feelings, and perceptions, and this unveils a whole world of hidden potentials that the coachee might not have considered before.

Similarly, in the world of ChatGPT and other generative AI services, a well-structured, creative prompt encourages a detailed, nuanced response – meaning we save time and energy, and our confidence grows in using ChatGPT to deliver the answers or ideas that inspire us. AI then becomes a highly useful go-to resource, rather than a hit-and-miss time sink.

Coaches also possess a keen ability to observe, listen and build upon – and this means that we can consider the responses produced by ChatGPT’s initial answers and build upon them to garner even more effective results. Rather than simply hammering away, repeating the same questions and hoping for better outcomes through simple repetition.

So, how can you leverage these coaching skills to level up your ChatGPT prompt writing even if you’re not a coach yourself?

Here are four ways:

Be Ultra-Specific: We, as coaches, are known for directing our clients to focus on their blind spots to foster exploration and self-discovery. Similarly, applying this level of focused precision to the topics you wish to explore with ChatGPT can yield more insightful and substantial responses. By honing the questions to specific subjects, you prompt ChatGPT to provide more targeted and detailed answers.

Encourage Exploration: Use open-ended or ‘powerful’ questions to encourage ChatGPT to generate a diverse variety of responses. These inquiries encourage deeper exploration and stimulate creative thinking – in exactly the same way as they do with our clients! Open-ended, exploratory questions invite more than just a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response. They encourage colourful, sometimes wild responses, and this is great when your intention is cooking up exciting new ideas and ideating, rather than just solving something!

‘Yes, and…’ Your Prompts to Keep Expanding: As I mentioned before, coaches are trained to listen well and to get curious about how the client is responding. So, rather than just following up the initial GPT answers and driving it towards answers, throw in some childlike curiosity and wonder – “Yes, and… what if…, and then what?”

Ask the Archetypes: A personal favourite channel of exploration for me is to ask ChatGPT to step into the shoes of an archetype or character that you feel could bring something interesting to the mix. We often do this with coaching clients when they can’t see a way through or have a shut-down perspective on a subject. So, for instance, if I were cooking up some ideas around how to blend portrait photography, gardening, and group coaching for stressed executives and how to make this a viable business (and why not?), I might start with that as a prompt and then add: Answer as if you were…Seth Godin, Steve Jobs, Picasso, a fearless yet compassionate king, or maybe a Gen-Z marketing expert. 

to wrap up:

By flexing these coaching skills in your GPT prompting, you can unearth some really interesting results, transforming ChatGPT into a far more imaginative thinking partner than you might have thought possible. Have fun!