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CORE Questions - An Overview

CORE questions provide an effective method for identifying the core of a challenge, deriving effective solutions, and solidifying an outcome with a positively charged sense of goal achievement. The acronym "CORE" stands for Challenge, Outcome, Resources, and Effect. Each of these four steps should be undertaken in the CORE process.
CORE questions can support decision-making and are suitable both as an entry point for coaching or as a standalone process. When used as an entry point, moderating the CORE questions typically takes around 5 to 20 minutes, while when used as a standalone process, it can easily take 3 to 5x longer.

Using CORE Questions to reach the core problem

Core question: With which specific challenges do you struggle? 

At the core of personal and professional growth lies the recognition of your challenges. Identifying and understanding the hurdles that stand in your way is the first step towards overcoming them. By clarifying the specific challenges you encounter, you gain a better understanding of what you need to conquer or navigate around in order to achieve your desired outcomes.

Work on the right challengeFinding the key challenge to tackle.

For example, a challenge could be completing a complex project within a tight deadline or your (emotional) reaction towards certain feedback. Whatever it is - name it.


Identifying the desired outcome using CORE Questions

Core question: What do you aim to achieve? 

Once you have recognized the challenges, it's crucial to define your desired outcomes. The Outcome question encourages you to envision the result you aim to achieve. This step involves setting clear and measurable goals that align with your values and aspirations. By picturing your desired outcomes, you create a roadmap that guides your actions and motivates you to stay focused and committed. Objectives allow you to measure your progress and adjust your actions along the way.

Visualize the desired resultVisualize the desired result.

For instance, an outcome could be a promotion to a leadership role within the next year or to react calmly upon receiving (negative) feedback. 


Using CORE Questions to activate emotional resources

Core question: What tools, skills or emotional sources of power can aid you in overcoming challenges and attaining your desired outcomes?

Having a clear understanding of the resources at your disposal is pivotal for implementation progress. The Resources question prompts you to identify the tools, skills and emotional sources of power that can aid you in overcoming challenges and attaining your desired outcomes. Resources can come in various forms, such as your personal strengths, relationships, financial means or emotions. Recognizing and leveraging these resources empowers you to make informed decisions and seek help when needed. Additionally, it allows you to identify any gaps or limitations in your resources, prompting you to explore avenues for growth and development.

Identifying resourcesIdentifying desired resources.

A powerful resource is often a suitable mentor. As this person already went through your struggles successfully he or she has gained knowledge and skills that you can benefit from.


CORE Questions help you understand the positive effects of taking action

Core question: What is the impact of your actions and decisions, and how can you learn and adapt from it?

The final piece of the CORE framework is the Effect question - what will be possible for you when you achieve your desired outcome? Understanding the consequences of your efforts is crucial for making change happen. The Effect question encourages you to consider the personal impact of your actions as well as the impact on others in your environment.

Exploring the effectExploring the effect.

For instance, evaluating the effect of your new leadership role could lead to positive or negative emotions in you, which can help you guide through your decision making process. If you imagine your calm reaction upon receiving feedback from your manager, this alone can help you turn this image into reality. 


The CORE questions—Challenge, Outcome, Resources, and Effect—provide you with a comprehensive framework for personal and professional growth. By consciously engaging with each question, you gain clarity, define your objectives, mobilize your resources, and evaluate the impact of your actions. This systematic approach empowers you to generate and achieve your aspirations.

Whether you're embarking on a new project, pursuing a career change, or seeking to improve your emotional and mental health, the CORE questions serve as your guiding light, helping you navigate and providing valuable structure.
You can use the CORE questions anytime for yourself in order to work on your topics. If you want to have support during the process or wish to integrate an external perspective from the beginning, feel free to send me an e-mail or get in touch via contact form.

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