10 Essential Questions to Help Your Client Identify Their Strengths!


Many people can easily reel off their flaws and faults and yet stumble when asked, "So, what do you think your strengths are?" Which is why helping our clients identify strengths is a great service we can perform for them.

Marianne Williamson said, "We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?" Who indeed? Imagine if everyone in the world played to their strengths in their lives. Imagine if your clients consciously used their strengths and customized their work and/or play to their talents...

So, here are 10 Essential Questions to Help Your Client Identify Their Strengths:

  1. "What are three of your greatest strengths?"  (A simple starter to ease them in!)
  2. "Tell me about some of the biggest challenges in your life? How did you overcome them?"
  3. "What do you like about yourself?"   (You can also ask yourself, "What do I like about my client?")
  4. "What do you enjoy doing?"   (We usually enjoy what we are good at!)
  5. What do you yearn to do?   (Yearnings suggest possible talents!)
  6. "What are some unusual skills you have?"   (The word 'unusual' forces them to think what's different about themselves - make sure to delve deeper to find the underlying strength/s)
  7. "What are you proud of in your life?"
  8. "Tell me about your first achievement."   (Encourage them to share even it seems boring or small now - this gives pointers to early success - and strengths)
  9. "What would not be like it is - had you not been part of it?"   (eg. a work or volunteer effort)
  10. What do you get complimented on most?   (This is a great question because it assumes they GET complimented - and asks what is most FREQUENTLY mentioned)

Tip: Get into the detail. Look for things they may have glossed over and drill your clients down to SPECIFICS. Often our strengths are so taken for granted that they may not even have registered!

Another Tip: Give positive feedback. "So, how did you do that, because I wouldn’t know where to start!" Again, look for the strengths in the DETAILS of how they did it.

To wrap up: At the end of the questioning and drilling into details, summarise the overarching strengths and themes you noticed for your clients. Acknowledge and celebrate your client - and watch them glow!

If you liked this article about How to Identify Strengths, you may also like: 

  • A common coaching tool called a Personal SWOT. The SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. This tool is used in the corporate world to analyse how a business is doing and what to do next to move forwards - and it's simply been adapted for human beings! See our version of the Personal SWOT Tool here.
  • And our Simple 360 Feedback Tool that will throw up a few more strengths to add to the list!
Emma-Louise Elsey Headshot

Contributing Author:

Emma-Louise Elsey has been coaching since 2003 and is the Founder of The Coaching Tools Company and Fierce Kindness.com. She's passionate about coaching and personal development. Originally a project and relationship manager for Fortune 500 companies she combined her love of coaching, creativity and systems to create over 100 brandable coaching tools, forms and exercises including 30+ completely free coaching tools. She now serves coaches and the coaching world through her exclusive newsletter for coaches, Coaches Helping Coaches Facebook Group and many other great tools for coaches, plus resources and ideas for your coaching toolbox. The Coaching Tools Company is an official ICF Business Solutions Partner.

Learn more about Emma-Louise & see all their articles here >>


    • elelsey

      Hi William,
      Thank-you very much! I'm so glad you love the site and the ideas. Keep up all your good work too! I'm not sure how to target people (ie. find them) who have had operations/surgery, but I think it's a great market. After major (or even minor!) surgery and health issues, we often see life differently and are more open to making big changes in our lives.
      Warmly, Emma-Louise

  1. Humphrey

    I have grown as an individual and also in my practice as a result of your site and the material you share there.
    Thank you.


    • elelsey

      Hi Humphrey, thank-you for taking the time with your kind comments! Glad to be of service. Warmly, EL

  2. Carole Milan Danis

    Hello, I love your materials...you are so generous. Thank you so much.
    I am a therapist of 40 years turned coach and am just starting out. It is a challenge but your tools and articles really help out. You are a gem.

    • Emma-Louise

      Dear Carole,
      Aw. Thank-you! So glad you enjoy and find the materials helpful. I love the idea of you bringing therapy and coaching together - I am sure you are a fabulous coach. Keep up all your good work. Warmly, Emma-Louise

  3. Wen L. I. Falana

    As a coaching student, I found these questions to be very helpful when working with my volunteer clients during my practice sessions. It is interesting how many people have difficulty identifying their strengths and need these questions to help them dig deeper for answers. Thank you, for publishing / posting these questions and suggestions.

  4. Paul

    wow. this is a great article with some great and useful questions!!! In fact, there are so many resources here that are priceless! thank you!


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