10 Types of Tools for Coaching to Create Yourself! (with lots of examples)

Coach at desk with pen and paper thinking about creating tools for coaching
I originally created this list of types of tools for coaching for a workshop I presented at my ICF chapter. Then I realised it was a great list to inspire everyone to create their own Coaching Tools and Exercises. And I bet many of you have coaching tools you're using in your practice without even realising!

How many of these 10 different types of exercises and tools for coaching are you already using in your practice? Or that you could easily create? Let's find out!

10 Types of Exercises and Tools for Coaching Exercises You Could Create Yourself!

1) A Series of Powerful Questions

Use a set of powerful questions to help clients brainstorm ideas, explore possibilities or get to know themselves.

Choose deep, challenging questions that help clients explore themselves—or a particular topic area.

TIP: As well as creating a printable worksheet, you could create a graphic (or series of graphics) for Social Media based on powerful coaching questions.

Consider creating your own: Pondering Questions Worksheet for when you start with a new client, a Brainstorming Worksheet or an Exploration Worksheet for a topic that frequently comes up with your clients.

2) A Simple Inquiry or Journaling Prompt

Probably the easiest coaching tool to create, choose a a single question and turn it into a specific exercise to go deeper. Use for visioning or to explore a specific issue unique to the client.

Consider creating your own: tools for coaching to help your clients with life and career visioning, journaling their "ideal" day or writing a newspaper article that celebrates their successes.

3) Walk your Clients through a Specific Process

Choose a topic you want to help your clients with, usually in a particular area of their life. Then create a series of coaching questions that take your client on a journey. The goal is for them to learn about themselves so they understand what's getting in the way, and can behave differently in the future.

TIP: spend some time ensuring there is a flow from one question to the next and be sure to end with an action to take or a specific result.

Consider creating your own: worksheet on a common issue or goal your clients have.

  • Do your mom clients struggle to prioritise themselves? Create a worksheet that helps them put themselves first.
  • Do your clients struggle to say "No" at work? Create a worksheet all about saying "no".
  • Do your clients typically have a big limiting belief that get in the way? Help them identify that limiting belief!

4) Powerful Lists!

Never underestimate the power of a list-making as a way to raise your clients' awareness around a topic or issue. Because until we are aware, we can't do anything about it! And this awareness then helps us coach our clients and find solutions!

As well as more straightforward lists, this could also include things like keeping time or spending records—and then reviewing how they spend their time and money for patterns and themes they can learn from.

Consider creating your own: coaching worksheet to raise awareness around a common issue or goal you see with your clients. This could be a list of how we get in our own way, what we're tolerating, what makes us happy (and what doesn't) like our Love and Loathe List, a list of things we want to stop doing like the Not To Do List and many more!

TIP: Ask yourself, what do you want to increase your clients' awareness around? And what is the result you want at the end?

Here are some (more) Coaching Tools Company examples:

5) A Visual or Something for Your Clients to Draw

Making something visual is a powerful way to help our brains integrate and make sense of things.

Creating a visual literally helps us see things differently, using a different part of our brain. Visuals are inspiring, and help us see patterns or think about things in a new and creative way.

Consider creating your own: visual tools for coaching around your clients' blind spots and pain points—or simply to see something from a new perspective.

TIP: Where do your clients get stuck? What do they struggle with? Create a visual tool to help them get fresh insights!

Here are some Coaching Tools Company examples:

6) A Reframe

Give your client a new perspective by reframing their problem ie. giving them a new way to look at their issue.

Consider creating your own: coaching tool or exercise around a pain or sticking point for your clients.

TIP: Don't simply 'flip' perspective on your clients, as that could cause resistance. Instead walk them through a process and help them see for themselves how a new way of seeing things could help them move forwards.

7) Story and Metaphor

Use the power of a story or metaphor to help your clients understand themselves or their situation better.

Stories and metaphors are powerful ways to connect with people and help them grow. Because when we hear a story, our brain can't help but ask: How is this relevant/might this apply to me?

Use the power of story to inspire your clients to take action!

Consider creating your own: tools for coaching where your clients are stuck, or need some extra oomph to do things differently. Use stories and metaphors to create an "Aha" moment and give your clients a new way of thinking or approaching something!

TIP: Is there a powerful quote you love to share? Turn this into a coaching tool by sharing the quote, asking people how it applies to them and then asking them to take action!

8) Share a Helpful Model, Concept or Technique

There are plenty of helpful models and techniques out there to help our clients be more effective and handle challenges better.

Some examples include the Urgent Important Matrix or Spheres of Influence. This could be a model, an acronym like SMART goals, Tuckman's Team and Development Model and many, many more!

TIP: Because these kinds of tools for coaching are essentially 'teaching', it's important to add a section to the exercise where they figure out how to apply it in their own life. So be sure to ask questions like:

  • What have you learned?
  • What does this mean for you?
  • What are you going to do with this new information?

Consider creating your own: coaching tools and exercises around a useful concept, acronym, tool or technique you often share with your clients.

9) Pure Information Handouts/Ebooks

This includes helpful handouts for reference, Special Reports or eBooks with useful information to help your clients grow!

This is a great way to demonstrate your expertise—and help your clients. An example we created for our Coaching Tools Company Readers is our GROW Model for Coaches Guide.

Consider creating your own: tools for coaching based on information you commonly share with your clients. What are frequent issues where you could create a handout or eBook with helpful information for the clients in your niche?

10) Quizzes

Quizzes are simply a series of questions with a score—and "results" of some kind. And we've all seen (and maybe completed!) a ton of these in magazines and books.

IMPORTANT: As coaches, we need to be careful we don't "tell" people who or what they are. Instead use the quiz/results as a way to increase your client's awareness and start conversations around a particular topic.

TIP: However, this is one type of coaching tool where you CAN ask leading questions! Create a quiz in an area where you have expertise and ask questions that lead people to figure out: Am I more this or that? Do I tend to behave like this, that or something else?

Consider creating your own: quizzes as "diagnostic" tools. Where could your clients do with a broad improved awareness around an area and topics? Use those leading questions to help your clients see where they need to (or could) make change by raising their self-awareness.

Here are some Coaching Tools Company examples:


Each of these types of tools for coaching can be used by the client alone as homework, in a group, on a webinar or with you in session.

To get the best results for your clients, don't just give the worksheet to your clients! Instead, be sure to coach your client around their answers. This means reviewing the completed worksheet with your client, and then discussing their answers—and going deeper.

TIP: In particular, look for things your client has glossed over or avoided. Trust your intuition. And be sure to highlight strengths and achievements you notice too!

Your Homework

Where can you Find Inspiration to Create Your Own Exercises & Tools for Coaching?

First, what repeatable topics, business or coaching processes could you turn into a coaching exercise or form?

  • What's your expertise, your unique blend of knowledge and experience?
  • What are the common issues and goals you see with your clients?
  • What do your clients and prospects most often ask you for help with?

And thinking about the 10 Types of Tools for Coaching above, what tools do you already use in your practice:

  • What information, tips, models and techniques do you share with your clients on a regular basis? What great handout, special report or tips sheet could you create for your clients?
  • What models, techniques and concepts do you already use with your clients? How could you add your own expertise or spin and turn that into a cool tool or resource for your clients?
  • What questions or quotes do you LOVE that you could turn into a powerful inquiry for your clients?
  • What metaphors and stories do you SHARE often? What powerful questions do you ask to help your client delve deeper and get more from the story or metaphor?
  • What reframes do you like to use with your clients?

Inspiration really is everywhere. Keep your eyes and ears open—you never know when an idea will grab you!

549 Best Coaching Questions eBook!

Love Coaching Questions and Free Coaching Tools?

Get 549 powerful coaching questions as your gift with newsletter sign-up!

Join our popular weekly newsletter to get your gift plus 4 more monthly free coaching tools.

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 pen and paper thinking about creating tools for coaching by Prostock_studio via Shutterstock

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.