After coaching and mentoring thousands of people — including CEOs, heads of state, single moms, students and retirees — over the past 35 years, I look for very specific criteria when considering taking on a new coaching client…

I recommend that you, too, follow this same 4-part ideal client checklist when identifying the people you want to work with in your life coaching business!

As you’re building your coaching business… and since you have the power to generate the kind of clients that you can really bring maximum impact to and can have maximum impact in their lives… it’s important that you hold a really clear vision in your mind of the type of person that you would really love to work with.

Don’t fall into the trap of believing that just because someone is breathing, and they’re willing to pay to work with you, that these things make them an ideal client. This is NOT the case.

Keep in mind that you have just 24 hours in a day, and the work you’re doing matters!

So ideally, you want to work with people who you can impact, and who will add something you your life, too.

Here is my 4-part ideal client checklist

CRITERIA #1: They are ready for transformation

You are a life coach, not a therapist. You’re not here to sit and listen as they tell you the painful stories of their past — the stories of why something didn’t work, or how much something hurt, over and over again.

Make room for this, and you only support them in perpetuating the power of these stories, and it becomes impossible for them to move forward. They are still tethered to the past!

Listening to someone relive the painful experiences of their life is NOT what a successful life coach does.

So if you have someone who wants to work with you because they are dealing with an extremely emotionally-painful issue, you may want to lovingly and kindly refer them to a counselor or therapist.

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Your role is to listen to what it is that they want to create in their lives GOING FORWARD, so it’s important that any potential client who wants to work with you is someone who really, truly wants to generate positive results in their lives.

So you want someone who is open to growth, someone who is heart-based, someone who is ready to grow.

CRITERIA #2: They have a goal or dream

Ideally, you want to work with someone who either has or wants to have a dream for their future.

What is it that they want to create for themselves and their lives? What is it that they want to bring forth?

Maybe they want to meet the love of their life, or take their existing relationship to amazing new heights of fun, adventure and intimacy.

Maybe they want to find their dream job, or start their dream business.

Or perhaps they don’t have a clearly defined dream yet… maybe they just want to find ways to inject more fun and play into their lives, and they’d like your help creating this for themselves.

You want to work with someone who has a clear dream for their future, or who is willing to create one with your help. Without this, you’ll have nothing to work toward in your coaching relationship.

CRITERIA #3: They are coachable

You can be the absolute best coach in the world… but if you have a client who isn’t willing to be coached, that’s not only frustrating for you, it’s going to be extremely frustrating for the client, too!

If you have someone who isn’t willing to accept your guidance, it’s going to be difficult for them to make forward progress on any goals or dreams that require them to stretch outside of their current comfort zone.

4 Part Ideal Life Coach Checklist

CRITERIA #4: They are willing to invest in themselves

Your ideal client is someone who is willing to invest in themselves for the result they say they want, by investing in a coaching program with you.

Now, what do I mean when I say they are investing in themselves? They’re investing in themselves by investing with you.

Think about it this way:

I fly a lot for the work I do in the world. When I give United Airlines money, I don’t really want United Airlines. I want where United Airlines is going to take me. So I give United Airlines money, but what I want is to move from Los Angeles to New York City, or to Atlanta, or some other place I’m heading.

It is the same for your client. They have a current life, and they have a life they would love to live… and there’s a gap between where they are and where they want to be.

Your coaching program becomes the jet by which they move from one set of results to another set of results!

So you want clients who are willing to invest in themselves for the result they say they want, by investing in a coaching program with you.

Just to recap, your ideal client is someone who is open to transformation, has a dream (or wants to define one), they’re willing to be coached, and they’re ready, willing and able to invest in themselves by investing in working with you.

If you want clients like this in your life, then be the type of client you want to attract

Be a growth-seeking, forward-thinking individual who is vision-driven, coachable and willing to invest in themselves.


Be the type of client that you want to attract, and you’ll be surprised how quickly your ideal clients will begin to show up around you, and how easily you’ll be able to recognize them!

For more step-by-step tips and proven strategies on how to start or grow a successful life-coaching business that makes a profound and lasting difference in the lives of others while creating a life you love, click here to download my FREE ebook, “Are You Meant to Be a Life Coach?”

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5 Responses to 4-Part Ideal Client Checklist

  1. Sheila says:

    Beautiful, Excellent Summary! 🙂

  2. Raine says:

    I loved this info however, l just want some clarity on what is meant by a ‘coaching program’?
    I am a certified coach and am in the process of generating clients. I run workshops demonstrating part of what they can expect in a one on one scenario. I have only began seriously this year although l have been certified for a few years. Initially it has been self doubt that held me back. Not anymore however. You use the term ‘coaching program’ and l just want to understand what this means?

    • Mary Morrissey says:

      Hi Raine, that is a great question.
      A coaching program is the path by which you will guide your clients to reach their goals. A structured, step by step process that your clients and even you can follow…

      I hope this makes sense.

      Keep in touch!

  3. jane claire says:

    thanks for the encouraging words and the messages you send to me are so educative.

    • Mary Morrissey says:

      My pleasure Jane, keep in touch thru the…
      If you’d like, you can also take a look to my…
      Im sure you will find articles that you will like!

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