Coaching Tools 101: 5 Step Process to Create Supportive Daily Success Habits! | by Emma-Louise Elsey

Happy client putting two jigsaw pieces together

Small Changes Make a Big Difference:

We tend to overlook the importance of daily habits in managing ourselves and our lives. But, it's often small changes to daily routines that enable our clients to make BIG changes in their lives and careers.

This coaching exercise helps (you or) your clients come up with 5 new success habits—a simple personal framework around which the rest of the day's activities fall into place. The idea is to create an infrastructure so that no matter what happens - your client feels calm and assured.

Successful people are simply those with successful habits. Brian Tracy

When to use this Exercise/Process:

This is a great exercise to do early on in the coaching relationship to help your clients create a healthy and supportive framework in their lives and to support the coaching process.

5 Step Process to Create Supportive Daily Success Habits

Success Habits Coaching Exercise

Click to learn more about this Tool

You can give this exercise as homework (either using our success habits tool or give the questions in stages over multiple sessions). You can also guide clients through this process by asking the series of questions below in a session or workshop.

Make sure your client has a pen and paper to hand! Now, let's begin!

STEP 1) Begin by Setting a Context for these New Daily Habits

Ask your clients to ponder and list their top priorities and stressors in life currently. This will help focus your client on what is most important, and what's bothering them the most right now.

1a) List your Top 3 Priorities in life - as they are right now:

  1. ___________________
  2. ___________________
  3. ___________________

1b) List your Top 3 Stressors in life - as they are right now:

  1. ___________________
  2. ___________________
  3. ___________________

STEP 2) Brainstorm 5 (or more) Habits Your Client COULD Introduce

Ask your client to write out 5 (or more) daily habits that would support them in being happier, more relaxed, satisfied or content. These can include habits at home, in their personal or work life. One way to help your client reflect is to ask them to imagine a typical day from waking up to going to bed—and see what jumps out at them.

TIP: If they get stuck identifying supportive habits for themselves try asking questions like, "Where do you sabotage yourself regularly?" and "What ideas do you already (perhaps secretly) have?" And you may also like these 7 Insightful Coaching Questions to Identify Your Daily Success Habits!

IMPORTANT: These habits must be Specific and Measurable* so people know exactly what to do, and can clearly say when they have completed the activity.

What supportive daily habits - specific daily actions - could your client introduce?

  1. ___________________
  2. ___________________
  3. ___________________
  4. ___________________
  5. ___________________

* Sometimes it's hard to know what is meant when by a "Specific and Measurable" habit. So consider sharing some examples of specific, measurable habits—for example:

  • Have 15 minutes of silence or alone time each day
  • Connect daily with partner/spouse (5 mins listening)
  • Write all appointments down - in one place
  • Be at my desk by 00am / leave by 6.00pm every day
  • Take 10 mins mid-morning and afternoon to recap where I am at
  • Drink 6 glasses of water a day
  • Eat lunch away from my desk

STEP 4) Identify the Benefit/s of the Habits

For each habit your client has identified, ask them to write down at least ONE benefit for each alongside. This reminds the client WHY they are creating the habit—and how it helps them:

  1. ___________________ + Benefit/s
  2. ___________________ + Benefit/s
  3. ___________________ + Benefit/s
  4. ___________________ + Benefit/s
  5. ___________________ + Benefit/s

STEP 5) Commitment and Action-Setting

Ask your clients to pick 3 of the habits they've identified to COMMIT to. If they're not sure which to choose, you could ask, "Which habit/s will most BENEFIT you?" or "Which habit/s are you most LIKELY to implement?"

Finally, it's good to get your clients started on at least one habit right away—or at least by the next day to keep motivation high.

I will start ___________________ tomorrow (or right away)

I will start ___________________ by ________________

I will start ___________________ by ________________

Finally, complete this exercise by asking your clients, "WHO do you need to BE to implement these habits?"


Habits start simply as actions we choose. Gradually, as we do them regularly, they become habits.

It takes time—and a lot of practice and perseverance—to implement new habits. We will likely forget our new habits many, many times before they become a conscious habit. So remember that it can take weeks to implement a new habit. And it can take months to cement a habit.

Lastly, remind your clients to be kind to themselves on the days they don't remember. They just need to start again the next day!

If you fall off a horse, you get back up. I am not a quitter. Olivia Wilde

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Contributing Author:

Emma-Louise Elsey has been coaching since 2003 and is the Founder of The Coaching Tools Company and Fierce 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 >>

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