DEALO is a coaching question framework for coaches to ask powerful questions without using what, where, how, who, when, etc., (referred to as WH Questions). A WH question can have a nature of triggering feelings of maximized danger and minimized reward.


DEALO Framework:


D – Describe what you (coachee) see, what you experience and what you measure.


E- Explain what you (coachee) know or understand about what you experienced or think happened.


A- Analyze the information or evidence to draw a conclusion or determine what you (coachee) believe has happened and why.


L–Link with previous knowledge or experience or outcome where the connection brings a paradigm shift in thinking (to be linked by coachee).


O – Offer a solution or advice or information (to be offered by coachee)


The power of WH questions in coaching cannot and should not be underemphasized, a view of the WH questions from the neuroscience perspective emphasizes a certain degree of threat response. This is more so the way coachees have experienced WH questions in their life.


On the contrary, coaching question based on the DEALO frame work minimizes danger and maximizes reward, enhancing creativity in the coachee. According to Integrative Neuroscientist Evian Gordon, the ‘minimize danger and maximize reward’ principle is an overarching, organizing principle of the brain (Gordon, 2000).


The DEAL O frame work has a great advantage to design questions based on individual learning style – visual, auditory, kinesthetic and tactile better than WH question.


Some sample WH questions changed using DEALO framework:


What do you think can happen?


Describe the outcome as you see it (visual) as you hear it (auditory) as you experience it (kinesthetic and tactile).


How do you think you can take the action forward?


Describe the action steps you see (visual).


If you explain the action steps to someone what would you want them to hear (auditory)?


Link the action steps to similar experience and explain your feelings.

What solution are you thinking about?


If you have to offer solution to someone, what would you want to them to SEE or HEAR or FEEL?


What do you think you can do?


Analyze and tell me what you see/hear/feel that would help you to move forward.


At very high level marrying WH and DEAL O would make the coaching questions even more powerful!


Examples of WH + DEAL O question:


Describe what options you see?

Analyze the issues and tell me what is behind your analysis or how you came to those conclusions?


The above approaches help to come with sharper questions provoking creative thought in client.



R R Krishna has about 30 years of work experience, in Human Resources spanning different industries. He is a PCC, – ICF, RPCC – RCS, CMC – BCI/ICC with 15 years of coaching experience and also member of International Association of Coaching, Asia Pacific alliance of coaches and Association of Coaching. Find more about Krishna at