Ask These 7 Coaching Questions to Celebrate Your Clients Achievements!

Excited child in office celebrating with grin on face

We're such a goal-oriented culture. People get a thrill from achieving their goals—but are all too quickly straight onto the NEXT thing. So as we head towards a new year is a great time to help your client pause and celebrate their successes and what they've achieved. 

Why it's important to celebrate success

So, why is it so important to applaud the hard work we've put in to achieve our goals and dreams?

I believe that (as coaches) while we help people set goals, part of our job is also to help people take stock of how they have grown—and to celebrate their achievements.

Celebrating our achievements is uplifting of course! But it also helps us believe in ourselves. We develop confidence and healthy pride—as we see solid proof that we're learning, growing and succeeding in life (even when our inner critics might be telling us otherwise).

Not only that, but as humans do we seem to have a habit of focusing on what's wrong - instead of what's right! In neuroscience this is referred to as negativity bias.

So as coaches we can really make a difference by taking the time to celebrate our clients' successes with them.

Celebrate what you want to see more of. Thomas J. Peters

Here's a simple 2 step process you can follow with your clients (with questions!)

STEP 1) Ask your clients to make a list of everything they've achieved this year

And here are 7 Coaching Questions to help:

  1. "What were your biggest achievements this year?"
  2. "What are you most proud of?"
  3. "What have you achieved that has surprised you?"
  4. "What 'smaller', less obvious things are you proud of achieving this year?"
  5. "What steps have you made towards larger goals, that you need to acknowledge yourself for?"
  6. "What did you fail at or make a mistake on that needs recognizing? What did you learn and what are you proud of in how you handled it?"
  7. Finally ask, "What will you do to celebrate, recognize and acknowledge your achievements?"
    Tip: Use the 4 Ws. What, When, Where and Who you would like to celebrate with?

Coaching Tip: You can do this with them as an exercise, or discuss the concept and then offer it as homework. Or you could even create a session specifically to help your client celebrate their successes of the year—and really honour themselves!

STEP 2) Then decide HOW to celebrate their success

The second step is to make sure that you client actually celebrates their success.

Some examples of how to do this include some form of personal ritual, a dinner out with someone special, a hike up a mountain, buying themselves something special, a massage, a fun event. The important thing is that they consciously do something in honour of themselves and their success.

So help your clients brainstorm celebration ideas and rituals, and then commit to one action.

TIP: Remember that the more significance the celebratory action has for them, the more uplifting and memorable it will be!

People of our time are losing the power of celebration. Instead of celebrating we seek to be amused or entertained. Celebration is an active state, an act of expressing reverence or appreciation. To be entertained is a passive state—it is to receive pleasure afforded by an amusing act or a spectacle... Celebration is a confrontation, giving attention to the transcendent meaning of one's actions. Abraham Joshua Heschel

If you liked this article about how to celebrate success, you may also like:

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 >>

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    • Emma-Louise

      Thanks Deni! Sometimes we create what we most need... Really appreciate your comment - I find it very encouragings and supporting! Warmly, EL

  1. Paul Couture

    Thank you for this tool to focus the attention of our clients or even our selves on the success we have already achieved. Success builds confidence which empowers forward movement in directions that are important to us. Your dedication to empowering coaches to higher levels is appreciated.


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