*UPDATED* 7 Fun Coaching Ideas to Push Your Coaching Edge & Get Results! By Emma-Louise Elsey

Coach at desk with ideas

The best results from coaching come when WE take risks with our clients, when we PUSH the edges of what we might normally ask or say. Of course our clients must do the work and challenge themselves to grow. But it's also when WE step out of OUR comfort zones as coaches that magic happens. So, stop playing it safe, try one of these coaching ideas and see your coaching break through to the next level!

Here are 7 Coaching Ideas for you to try:

1) SWAP roles

Pick an issue your client is stuck on and role-play your client while they role-play you!

Be kind but REAL, and make sure to use their own phrases and expressions.

Important: Do NOT use this as a route to share YOUR ideas or solutions with them, as this would be directive. Instead be light and playful and have fun.

Tip: For this coaching idea to work, they must be allowed to 'play' you however they want - so you might find you gain some insights of your own!

2) TURN IT OVER to them

Ask, "What do you think I should ask you next?"

This is a handy question to have up your sleeve for a tricky conversation and a life-saver if you're stuck and genuinely don't know what to ask them next.

AND it's also a great way to quickly get to the heart of the matter - by making THEM the expert…

3) RISK angering or upsetting your clients

Push yourself out of YOUR comfort zone - trust your gut and say what's really on your mind. Keep your questions and statements coach-like, non-judgemental and with your client's personal growth in mind.

So take a RISK, in service of your clients - and with the bigger picture of their goals in mind. After all, if you won't say it to them, who will? If you don't take risks why should they?

Tip: If they get angry or upset, it's the perfect time to explore why that is and what's going on for them.

4Happy Woman with Lots of Coaching Ideas) Give them YOUR helicopter perspective

Instead of asking your clients for their future vision, say what YOU see CURRENTLY and share what you'd LIKE to see for them going forwards. Be sure to make it about them, their values, strengths and ideas - and not about you.

It's great if you can keep it non-specific eg. I see you using your leadership skills in bold new ways or I see you making a big difference with your ideas at work or I see you inspiring others!

If you're going to be specific with an outcome, I recommend prefacing it with, "I see that you are capable of _____" For example, "I see that you are capable of building a whole new business around this/ delivering a TED talk/ moving sideways into a brand new role that uses your skills of _____ and _____ etc.

Make it very clear that it's YOUR perspective you're sharing, and that these are just ideas, not goals, 'shoulds' or expectations.

This becomes an opportunity to support and encourage your clients by 'holding' a potential future for themselves they may not yet believe they're capable of.

Tip: As mentioned, be aware your client may not want what you want for them. This isn't about convincing them to stretch themselves or go after what you think should be their goals - instead it's about sharing what you think could be possible. This can then become a great opportunity to explore what bigger things (not yet discussed) they may now see for themselves in light of your sharing.

5) Make mine a DOUBLE

Often a client will simply suggest what is doable. And this can be a good strategy for a busy or overwhelmed client.

And sometimes, we need a little inspiration - a HUG - Huge Unbelievable Goal to go for.

So try this: Whatever action your client comes up with, double it. Wait, make that a triple!

Use this idea to add excitement to a 'boring' but necessary goal, or simply take their exciting goal to the next level by doubling or tripling their action! They will (eventually) love you for it.

6) DISBELIEVE your clients.

Important: Use this idea very carefully and ONLY in excellent rapport with your client.

Sometimes we are 'too nice' as coaches - especially when clients consistently don't take action towards their stated goals.

Try, "You remember you said you really wanted this? Well, we're three months in and nothing much has changed. You're paying me to help you, so I'm wondering what you think is really going on here?"

Some other questions to ask include: What's underneath you not completing your (actions or goals)? What are you not facing up to? Where is your life or lifestyle getting in the way? Who might be getting in the way? Whose goal is it anyway? (ie. do they really want this goal or action, or are they doing it for their inner judge or someone else in their lives?) What qualities might they need to develop in themselves to get unstuck and move forwards? How do you benefit from staying just as you are? What are you not seeing - or saying?

7) BREAK the Coaching 'Rules'

This suggestion may be unpopular with coaching purists, but if your client is stuck, and you have knowledge that could help them - share it.

This is NOT about giving answers (actions and solutions) that would disempower them. Instead, what I'm talking about here is sharing specific knowledge or information.

This could be anything at all - a time management tip (eg. The Action Priority Matrix), team process tip (eg. Tuckman's Team Model), marketing technique or something else.

A personal example: I had a client who was having difficulty with a fellow volunteer on a project. I asked the client's permission and then shared the Assumption Iceberg concept with them. Next I asked how they thought it could help them in their current situation. We made an action plan together, did a little role play - and my client found this incredibly helpful, allowing them to deal more confidently with this person going forwards.

So, trust your instincts and when you see a clear knowledge gap that you can help with, first ask permission, then share with your clients.

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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 >>

Image of Coach at desk with new coaching ideas by Wavebreak Media via Shutterstock


  1. irene hughes

    Is it possible to buy from the UK and do you convert to Sterling? Thank you.

    • Emma-Louise

      Hi Irene,
      I am originally a Brit! Thanks for your enquiry. So yes, the tools are electronic - Microsoft Word Documents, so you can buy from the UK. You get directed to a webpage after purchase, and if you miss that, a link to the webpage is emailed to you at the purchasing email address. Paypal is the payment method (can also just use credit card) and Paypal converts automatically from CAD to GBP. Not sure what exchange rate they use, but they convert into all sorts of exchange rates all over the world. We have buyers from 30 countries! Hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions!
      Warmly, EL

    • Michela Phillips

      You are most welcome, BJ. We're glad you enjoyed them!
      - Kindly, Michela


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