Coaching Tools 101: Who are you? Discover The Qualities You Value Most About Yourself!

Man with Troll's head. I hope you like my photoshop skills - Enjoy!As a coach, it's important that we both keep growing our coaching skills and that we also keep learning and growing ourselves. So, I'm going to talk you through one of my favourite coaching tools - "Troll Travels". It gives you a list of the qualities you value most about yourself, qualities that you believe make up the core of you!

This coaching tool helps you to answer the question, "Who am I?" And once you've done the exercise yourself you'll understand it's value for your clients.

Curious? While it's nice, you don't need a fancy form to do it, just a piece of paper and a pen. But if you've signed up for our newsletter - you'll already have this exercise.

Tip: If you're a Corporate, Business or Executive Coach - and want to make this exercise more 'professional' - just swap out 'Trevor the Troll' for a high-level boss, Sundar Pichai, Marissa Mayer or someone from "The Dragon's Den".

You'll need to allow 30-45 minutes to do this exercise - and of course a quiet, reflective space. Ready?

1) First, make a list of ALL the qualities that make you, you. Who are you? Try to get to around 50 qualities!
TIP 1: Include so-called negative qualities. Afraid of heights? Self-judging? Find it difficult to meet new people? Include all of them. Believe me, it makes the next step easier!
TIP 2: Include everything that pops into your head. Have curly hair? Write that down. Love dogs? Write it down. Like organizing events or feeling safe? Write it down.

2) Now, I want you to imagine you're about to cross a bridge. Just as you step foot on the bridge, Trevor the Troll appears - and DEMANDS that you give him 30% of your qualities. Which qualities about yourself do you value least? Because you're going to spend the rest of your life without them… So, strike through 30% (not 1/3, but 30%) of your qualities.
TIP: Notice which qualities you give up first…

3) Trevor lets you pass and you keep travelling. You come to a second bridge, but Trevor has been following you. In order to cross - and not get eaten - he demands you give him another 30% of your qualities (again not 1/3, but 30%). So, strike through ANOTHER 30% of your qualities.

4) You keep going. And come to a third and final bridge. You guessed it, there's Trevor. He wants a final 30% and you're home free. Think hard because once you're done, you'll be left with just 10% of your qualities for the REST OF YOUR LIFE! So, strike through A FINAL 30% of your qualities.
TIP 1: Consider what you value most about yourself: What really makes you unique? What makes you YOU?
TIP 2: Notice which qualities you give up last…

5) So, once you've completed this final step, take a look at the qualities you're left with. This is what YOU value most about yourself. And consider these final questions:

- What do you notice? _________
- Which qualities were hardest to give up? _________
- Are these qualities what you focus on in life? If not, why do you think that is? _________
- What have you learned about yourself during this exercise? _________

We'd love to hear what YOUR favourite qualities are, so please comment below!

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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 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, 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 >>


  1. Emma-Louise

    OK, I'll share! These qualities were not what I expected - but after doing "Troll Travels", here are my most valued qualities:

    1) Curiosity and Openness
    2) Passion and Enthusiasm
    3) Courage and Inner Strength
    4) Creativity
    5) Cheekiness (challenging the way things are)

    I'd love to hear yours...

    • Emma-Louise

      Thanks so much for your comment. We listened! And have just created an 'email' button underneath the article. Hope this helps.
      Warmly, EL

  2. Ruby

    I did it with my teenage daughter and it was really fun, thank you!

    My daughter had colour, crazy & weird, family, fun and imagination

    I had quirky & fun, love & connection, creativity, positivity & fabulousness and colour

  3. Isobel

    This might be a silly question to ask, but I'm assuming you mean that each time you give up 30% of the original number of your qualities, not 30% of what's left? So if you started with 60 qualities, you'd give up 18 each time and be left with 6 - is that right?

    • Emma-Louise

      Dear Isobel, it's always good to clarify understanding!
      So, yes, you have it. 30% of the original 100% of qualities someone writes down. Starting with 50 works best - they lose 15 each time (x3) and end up with 5 qualities the value MOST.
      Warmly, Emma-Louise

    • Emma-Louise

      Hi Felicia, thanks for sharing your favourite qualities! A thought - family is something you value MOST in life, but it's not a quality of YOU (in other words it's not something you ARE)... I wonder what the last quality you crossed out was? Warmly, Emma-Louise

  4. Jean

    It seems like we are trying to say that we should spend more time on the 10% qualities that we retain and that defines who we are?

    However, what if I am someone who finds it difficult to meet new people, and this is a quality that i have thrown away, however it may be something I really want to work on?

    • Emma-Louise

      Hi Jean,
      So, great question!
      And no it's not about spending more time on the 10% (5 or so) qualities!!!
      It's more about recognizing WHAT those 10% or 5 qualities are. And VALUING and CHERISHING those qualities about ourselves. These are after all the qualities you kept hold of and didn't want to throw away!!!

      You can still work on meeting new people! And in fact, while this tool is dated (this website is slowly being replaced by a new website—Fierce Kindness), you may like this free tool here:

      I hope this helps. Warmly, Emma-Louise


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