10 Socratic Questions to Explore Your Thoughts + Beliefs

Categorized as Coaching Business
10 socratic questions

We, as humans, have thousands of thoughts per day, and most of them aren’t true. That’s why we need to explore our thoughts regularly to weed out the ones that aren’t doing anything positive for us.

In 2005, the National Science Foundation published an article on human thoughts per day. It was found that the average person has about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those thousands of thoughts, 80% were negative, and 95% were the exact same repetitive thoughts as the day before.

Basically, our minds are spinning us in the same (mostly negative) cycle, day in and day out. Not very helpful, and not very progressive.

Of course, as coaches, we already know all about this. We see it in ourselves and our clients on a regular basis.

But sometimes, it can be hard to first, identify the thoughts that aren’t serving us, and second, get rid of them. It’s like trying to pedal uphill on a bike without wheels. Yikes.

So I’d like to share a process I learned that is hugely helpful in getting rid of the thoughts holding me back. This process is great for people who struggle to just replace the negative thought, and feel like they need ‘steps’ to get there. People like me. #noshame

Once you understand how the process works, you’ll be able to use it for yourself, or your clients who need to spend a little extra time examining their thought process before they’re willing to let go of the baddie thoughts.

What is Socratic Questioning?

Socratic questioning was developed by Socrates. According to Plato, who was one of Socrates’ students, Socrates believed that “the disciplined practice of thoughtful questioning enables the scholar/student to examine ideas and be able to determine the validity of those ideas.”

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For the person who’s stuck in a rut believing every thought that flows through their mind is truth, socratic questioning can help them explore where they might be wrong. And after repetitive use of the socratic questioning method, that same person will become faster and faster at realizing they can’t actually trust their thoughts at all.

This process has gained a lot of traction in the last few decades, specifically because it encourages people to look beyond their assumptions and get to the truth of a matter.

If you’re familiar with Byron Katie’s The Work, you know that part of her coaching model involves asking yourself if the thought is true. And if you’ve ever watched one of her coaching sessions or read one of her books, you know almost everyone wants to argue that yes, as a matter of fact, that thought IS true!

That’s where the socratic questioning process becomes the most useful. You and your clients can ask the following 10 questions to determine where the thought comes from and why it might NOT be true.

10 Socratic Questions to Use on Yourself and Clients

These socratic questions work well when used in order to start, but you can also break them up into individual questions and focus on the one that seems to give you the most clarity once you’re familiar with the process.

How these questions benefit you the most will, of course, depend on you.

So try ‘em out, practice each of them, and then use what works for you.

  1. What is the evidence for this thought? Against it?
  2. Am I basing this thought on facts, or on feelings?
  3. Is this thought black and white, when reality is more complicated?
  4. Could I be misinterpreting the evidence? Am I making any assumptions?
  5. Might other people have different interpretations of the same situation? What are they?
  6. Am I looking at all the evidence, or just what supports my thought?
  7. Could my thought be an exaggeration of what’s true?
  8. Am I having this thought out of habit, or do the facts support it?
  9. Did someone pass this thought/belief to me? If so, are they a reliable source?
  10. Is my thought a likely scenario, or is it the worst case scenario?
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Once you become familiar with getting to the bottom of your thoughts with this process, it will become second nature. Which means you’ll get faster and faster at identifying the thoughts that are just lies your brain is telling you.

About The Author

Hey! I’m Cass, a brand coach and the Co-Founder & Chief Brand Officer at Lovely Impact, a website template shop for coaches. I help coaches elevate their businesses with beautiful branding and websites. Here on our blog, my content focuses on branding, web design, and storytelling.

By Cass

Hey! I’m Cass, a brand coach and the Co-Founder & Chief Brand Officer at Lovely Impact, a website template shop for coaches. I help coaches elevate their businesses with beautiful branding and websites. Here on our blog, my content focuses on branding, web design, and storytelling.

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