Coaching Tools 101: How to use the FREE Strengths Questions Worksheet

Coach or Client at Desk Brainstorming Strengths with Worksheet!


What are your clients' unique gifts? What makes them special? Help your clients discover their strengths with this exercise!

The 25 Powerful Questions to Identify Your Strengths Tool outlined below is easy to use, and can be used in any context to brainstorm a list of your client's strengths. In addition, you'll find a homework suggestion, how to use the results of this tool in the future with your clients—and lots of tips!

Get your Free 25 Questions to Identify Strengths Tool here >>

Quick overview of How to Use this Tool

  1. Ask your client as many of the questions from the list as you would like.
    • TIP: I suggest you make notes for the client—so they can give your questions their full attention.
  2. Then, review their answers with them, coaching them and noticing the themes and patterns that emerge.
    • TIP: Now it's good for the client to make their own notes.
  3. Finally, there is optional homework for your client to ponder and reflect—and make a list of their top 10 strengths.

Here are 7 Easy Steps to Identify Your Clients' Strengths

Part 1) Setting-up

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

Step 1) Calm your client!

Ask your client to take a few deep breaths, relax, and connect to themselves. You could also read a short guided meditation.

Step 2) Explain what you will do

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.

Step 3) Give them tips and frame the process

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

Step 4) Get started with the first "easy" question

Start by asking your clients the first question, "What are 3 strengths you can think of right away?" (remember to allow your client plenty of time/space during this process)

Step 5) Ask / Select the rest of the questions

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, ask 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. But they may "get into the zone" more if they can just talk, and let you do the information capture.
  • Remember 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.

Step 6) Look for patterns and themes and share with your client

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. And I remember that story about when you found errors on your teacher's answer sheet!

Step 7) Wrap-up

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?

Client Homework: Identify their "Top 10" Strengths!

For a great piece of client homework (obviously ask for permission first), 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!

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!

Finally, here's an idea for using this tool to build resilience

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, try using this tool with your clients (or as a sample session offer with 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!

Use the questions on this worksheet. Coach people to draw out their answers more deeply—and keep notes of the strengths you notice. Circle or highlight strengths that show up often in their answers.

Now coach them around an issue or stuck goal in their lives. Ask your clients questions like:

  • How could you use your strength of _____ to approach the problem in a new way?
  • How could your strength of ______ really make a difference to this issue?
  • What if you turned up the volume on your strength _____, then what?
  • What if you took the strength of ______ that you usually use ______ and brought it to solve their current problem (transferable skills!)?


This is just a couple of ways way you can use this powerful worksheet—and there are many others.

Consider using these strengths questions in a workshop or webinar setting, or simply give the sheet to your clients as homework. Enjoy!

If you liked this article about strengths identification and brainstorming ideas, you may also like:

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

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 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 (or Client) Identifying their Strengths by NakoPhotography via Shutterstock


  1. Cherie

    Great tool! Thanks for the ideas on how to use it. As a new coach, I so appreciate you and all of your amazing tools. Thank you.

    • Michela Phillips

      You are most welcome, Cherie 🙂 We appreciate your support!
      - Kindly, Michela

  2. Jeff Kincaid

    What a great tool to use. I plan to use the tool in a group training session over four weeks. I've only got 10 minutes in a 45-minute planned meeting, so mostly the time will be used asking thought questions to explore on their own time. The goal is to showcase our strengths and recognize each other's strengths as we proceed through October.


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