Should, Could, Want, Will

I want to share one of my favorite exercises, one that I invite every coach I work with to complete ASAP. I call it Should, Could, Want, Will.

Grab a piece of paper, turn it crosswise, and divide it into four equal columns.

Title the first column Should and list all of the things you’ve been told you Should do to start or grow your coaching practice. If it helps, complete the following sentence, “in order to coach, I should…..” or “before I can start coaching I first should….” and list everything that comes up.

Take your time with this one — the programming runs deep.


Label the second column Could. Re-copy every item from the Should column INTO the Could column. Notice how this feels.

The Could column — this is the home of wild brainstorming, of creativity, possibility. You could do ANYTHING, right? Could is the column of CHOICE, and the shift in energy that coaches experience when put back into a space of choice is a revelation every time.

You can go ahead and keep adding to the Could list, beyond what you’ve carried over from Should. You COULD offer coaching in a hot air balloon. You COULD do all of your marketing via snail mail. Etc…


Column three is titled Want. Of all of the things you Could do, which do you Want to do? The answer to this question is usually felt in the body, not reached by thinking or rationalization. Wanting to do something does not mean that you Will do it (that comes next)….just like knowing that you Could do something doesn’t mean you Want to. The differences are subtle, but critical.

It’s okay if there’s nothing yet that you Want to do. Enjoy adding to the Could column until something strikes your fancy.


The final column is Will. This is the column of commitment. This is the column when an Idea from the Could and Want lists turns into a Project and you move from thinking into action. When you move something into the Will column, the next question likely becomes, “okay — what’s my very first step?”

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July 20, 2021

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I want to share one of my favorite exercises, one that I invite every coach I work with to complete ASAP. I call it Should, Could, Want, Will. Grab a piece of paper, turn it crosswise, and divide it into four equal columns. Title the first column Should and list all of the things you’ve […]

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