You just landed a new client and are excited to start the hard work necessary to help them reach their goals. Each client presents a new challenge for you as a coach.
Chances are the client told you what they want to work on. Whether you chatted on the phone or asked them to fill out a client intake form, you’ve already gleaned some information about what the coaching program should include.
This article discusses what a pre-coaching questionnaire is, why it’s important, and what it should include.
A pre-coaching questionnaire helps new clients open up, and coaches get a clearer picture of what a client hopes to achieve, what obstacles they usually hit, and their strengths. These coaching questions allow clients to describe why they seek your services and what they hope to change by the end of the program.
Why pre-coaching questionnaires are useful
Pre-coaching questionnaires are just as much questions for coaches as for clients, as any tool that helps you chart a successful program benefits you both. Coaching surveys help you:
- Understand expectations
- Establish metrics to evaluate progress
- Know how to avoid and help manage stressors
- Improve as a coach
- Understand why a client chose your coaching program
Questions to include in a pre-coaching questionnaire
The power of this survey lies in the coaching questions you ask. The more pointed and less general the questions, the better.
Consider the following examples — but remember that your questionnaire should serve your unique practice, so feel free to tailor these questions. Head up the survey by asking for basic data, like their name and phone number. If you did a client intake form, you’ll already have this on hand, but it’s still good to include for documentation.
Here are some questions to ask on your pre-coaching questionnaire:
- Have you worked with a coach before?
- What do you expect to learn or change?
- What are your expectations for the coaching relationship?
- How will you know when you're seeing results?
- What do you consider your most significant achievements?
- What would you like to work on?
- What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to overcome, and how did you do it?
- Which learning style suits you best?
- What stresses you out?
- How would you describe yourself?
Asking open-ended questions (ones that can’t be answered “yes” or “no”) invites clients to include details in their answers. No matter our focus, we never know what we’ll learn by simply encouraging a client to talk.
Make sure to include questions that address your specific services. After all, life coaching and health coaching are very different practices, and you need the right information to start strong. Here are a few example questions for specific coaching types.
Health and wellness coaching questionnaires
Find out how your coaching services can help individuals meet their health and wellness goals by asking the following:
- What are your specific health goals?
- Why do you want to make this change?
- What have you tried in the past that’s failed?
- Describe your energy levels.
- How much sleep do you get on average?
- Describe your tobacco or alcohol use.
- Describe your relationship with food.
Life coaching questionnaires
- What’s the best part of your day?
- What are you grateful for?
- Name a few positive moments in recent months.
- If you had no restrictions at all, who would you be?
Career coaching questionnaires
Understand how clients wish to proceed and succeed in their careers by asking the following questions:
- What career would align well with your strengths?
- What transferable skills do you have?
- What decreases your marketability?
- If you had all the necessary resources, support, and skills, what career would you pursue?
- How do you envision your successful future self?
- Who do you have to become to have the job you want?
Other methods for creating a pre-coaching questionnaire are asking coaches in your field what they typically ask and finding online templates. Save these templates and client survey responses on a customer relationship management (CRM) system geared toward coaches.
The bottom line
A pre-coaching questionnaire is an invitation for clients to open up. This document represents one of the first ways you guide your clients toward better understanding their needs and where they’d like to be.
There are other ways to guide clients early on, like using the Wheel of Life tool. In this interactive “questionnaire,” your clients rate their satisfaction in different areas of their life. Even if you decide not to use a formal tool for your first session, awareness about these methods can help you direct this initial talk.
When you’re filing information about new clients, make sure your system is foolproof. Consider using a customer relationship management tool like Practice to keep everything sorted from day one.