Coaching Tools 101: How to use the FREE Strength Questions Worksheet | Emma-Louise Elsey

Coach or Client at Desk Brainstorming Strengths with Worksheet!

Strengths Identification Worksheet

Strengths Tool Here

Plus extra suggestions to help your clients during COVID!

Introduction:

What are your clients' unique gifts? What makes them special?

The 25 Powerful Questions to Identify Your Strengths Tool outlined in this article is easy to use, and can be used in any context where you want to brainstorm a list of your client's strengths.

Help your clients discover their strengths with this exercise! In addition, you will find a homework suggestion, how to use the results of this tool in the future with your clients - plus lots of tips!

Here's an idea for these troubled times:

When we're worrying or feeling powerless, connecting with our strengths is going to help us feel stronger and more powerful - which in turn helps reduce our fear and worry.

So, here's an idea! What about using this tool as a way of helping all those people stuck at home because of the COVID-19 crisis?

You could offer a free sample session to your clients, fans and followers and help people connect with - and boost their strengths. It's an opportunity for you to support people in staying positive and taking a fresh look at themselves!

And it's also a great way for you to build relationships, take a leadership role during the crisis and keep coaching when you may find clients and fans are focused on other priorities.

Here are 7 Easy Steps to Identify Your Clients' Strengths:

  • In essence, you will ask your client as many of the questions on the list as you would like, with you making notes for them - so they can give the questions their full attention.
  • Then, you will review their answers with them, looking for themes and patterns that emerge. At this point it's good for the client to make their own notes.
  • Finally, there is optional homework for your client to ponder and reflect - and make a list of their top 10 strengths.
  • COVID SPECIFIC: Finally, you'll ask for ideas about how they could use these strengths in the current situation.

Part 1) Setting-up

With agreement from the client, set aside a session to use this worksheet.

  1. Ask your client to take a few deep breaths, relax, and connect to themselves. You could also read a short guided meditation.
  2. Let the client know you're going to be asking them many different questions from different angles to help identify their strengths. I recommend you make notes for your clients as they answer your questions - at least initially, to help them go inwards and focus.
  3. It's also helpful to let the client know that:
    • This is a brainstorming process - all answers are valid!
    • Let them know they can take their time answering.
    • They may find themselves saying the same strength words for different questions. This is a great! It means the strength shows up in many different areas of their life.
    • The idea is for them to do their best to come up with as many words and answers as they can - aiming for at least 3, but as many as 5-10, answers to each question.
    • Finally, if they have a tendency to be self-critical, remind your client not to judge themselves. They may need to temporarily "gag" or silence their inner critic during this exercise! You may also need to remind the client that it's not big-headed to explore, and understand our good and great qualities, and that knowing what we do well helps us do - and serve others - better.

Part 2) Uncovering Client Strengths

  1. Start by asking your clients the first question, "What are 3 strengths you can think of right away?"  (remember to allow the client time and space during this process)
  2. Now go down the list of remaining questions.
    • Use your intuition, your client's answers and their energy levels to choose which, and how many, of the rest of the 25 questions you'd like to ask.
    • As your client answers the questions, make note of their answers - looking for high level achievements - and obviously any strength words.

5 Tips to Help you Uncover Strengths with your Clients:

  • Aim to get at least 3 strengths for each question.
  • If your client doesn't come up with at least 3 responses, try asking gently but firmly, "Hmmmm. And what else?"
  • If your client's answers are not strength words, try asking, "What strength could lie underneath this?" or if it's an achievement, "What underlying qualities helped you achieve this?"
  • If the client wants to, they can also make notes - some people just like to write things down. And, they may "get into the zone" more if they can just talk, and let you do the capturing of information.
  • Remember that you can circle back to specific questions later to get more answers once your client's brain is more open/in brainstorming mode.

Part 3) Wrap-up and Actions

Wrap-up this Strengths Exercise by looking for common themes and patterns with the client. Now it's time to ask your client to get pen and paper and make notes as you discuss your observations with them.

  1. Review your client's answers/your notes, in particular looking for re-occurring strengths and themes. Then share these strengths and themes with your client. And if it's relevant it's helpful to also share where you think they have demonstrated that strength (the "evidence").
    • Here's an example of what this could look like: I see a strength of "courage" running through all your answers. It's something you get complimented on, you're always willing to try something new even when it's hard, like when you confronted your boss about that difficult issue. Which leads me to persistence; you learned a difficult musical instrument, your best friends say this is a quality they admire in you - and it's something you're proud of in yourself. I also see you have a great attention to detail - which shows up in your beautiful gift wrapping - which I have personally experienced, also in your work as an editor. Ad I remember that story about when you found errors on your teacher's answer sheet!
  2. Finally, wrap-up by saying something like: Now that we've reviewed and identified many of your strengths:
    • How did this exercise feel?
    • What surprised you?
    • Which are your Top 3 (preferred) strengths?
    • Which of your strengths could you use more in daily life? And how?

ADDITIONALLY, During this time of COVID, you could additionally ask your client questions like:

  • How are your strengths helping you in this time of crisis?
  • How could you use your strengths more - or in a new way - during this crisis?
  • In particular, what could you do more of, continue doing and start doing to make life better or easier for yourself - or your family - during this difficult time?

Long-term Benefits - Beyond this Session:

  • Whether your client does the "Top 10 Strengths List" homework below or not, I recommend you summarise your own notes about their strengths and keep it in their file.
  • Then use this information in future sessions with your clients, reminding them of their strengths when they need a boost or extra motivation.
  • You can also use this strengths information when you discuss their career - and any difficult situations your clients may find themselves in.
  • Finally, suggest to your clients that they keep a copy of their strengths and refer to this list often - especially when setting goals, job-hunting or career strategising!

25 Questions to Identify Strengths_Tool with Cup of Tea

Great Client Homework - Identify Their "Top 10" Strengths!

For a great piece of client homework (obviously ask for permission to offer them homework!), ask your client to review their notes from this session and write out what they consider to be their Top 10 Strengths.

  • If they think of anything else after your coaching session (and they probably will after all those powerful coaching questions), they should also add this to their list!
  • Optionally, you can also send them a copy of your notes - whether it's a typed document or a photo of your handwritten notes. Don't be shy - clients like to see what people write about them, especially when it's positive!

Get the 25 Questions to Identify Your Strengths Tool here >>

Wrap-up

This is just one way you can use this powerful worksheet. There are many others! For example you could use the questions in a workshop setting, or simply give the sheet to your clients as homework. Enjoy!

Emma-Louise Elsey HeadshotEmma-Louise Elsey has been a coach for over 15 years. She's a huge coaching fan and the founder of The Coaching Tools Company.com. Originally a project and relationship manager for Fortune 500 companies she combined her passion for coaching, creativity and love of systems to create over 100 brandable coaching tools, forms and exercises including 25+ 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, resources and ideas for your coaching toolbox. The Coaching Tools Company is also an official ICF Business Solutions Partner.

Let us know any questions and successes you have with this worksheet in the comments below!

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Image of Coach (or Client) Identifying their Strengths by NakoPhotography via Shutterstock

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