As a health coach, you are likely your clients’ accountability buddy. They are looking to you to guide them towards a healthier state of being and ultimately help them transform for the better. The first step in that transformation is building trust. Some clients may not have had great interactions with coaches in the past or may have never worked with one before. So, growing a relationship with a new one may be challenging.
Like most things in life, trust takes time. Fortunately, there are several coaching techniques you can use to build trust and transform your clients’ health in a significant way.
Here are five health coaching techniques that will transform your clients in 2022.
1. Share Stories of Transformation
A greater sense of health and wellbeing is likely what your clients are looking for. Whether they achieved their health goals before and want to return to that place, or they’ve never achieved them at all, they’re looking for transformation. For some clients, seeing their future self can feel like looking into a hazy crystal ball. It can be tough to see themselves on the other side of their health challenges. That’s where stories come in.
Tell your client a story about transformation. Tell them why you became a health coach. Did you overcome personal health issues? How did you do it? What steps and tools did you use to transform your health journey? You as a coach are an inspiration to your client. Sharing your story can help clients see that if their coach can overcome such challenging health issues, so can they.
If you have other coaching clients and feel more comfortable sharing their stories, you can do that, too. Without revealing any sensitive information about them, you can share their unique health challenges and how you coached them to reach their personal goals. The same logic applies in that sharing the before and after for your clients’ health journey can inspire and encourage your current clients on their journey.
Stories connect and show how a person can grow. They can inspire and inform your current pupils’ health journey and show how, with good coaching, anyone can turn their health issues around.
2. Validate Your Clients’ Emotions
It takes courage to admit you need help. Facing one’s health challenges can make some clients feel emotional, scared, resistant or defeated. Create space for emotional vulnerability and transformation by validating your clients’ emotions and thoughts. You can do this in a number of ways.
How to Create Emotional Safety
When hearing the concerns of your clients, be sure to listen with a non-judgemental ear. Listen deeply without interruption. Repeat back to the client what you heard them say so they know you understood them. Keep your tone calm and even so they don’t sense judgment in your responses. Offer a kind listening ear that allows them to fully share their experience. Listening without judgment can allow your client to move through emotional blocks and begin the process of behavioral change.
Use Warm and Open Body Language
Nodding, making eye contact, and sitting in a calm, neutral posture can show your client that you’re engaged and present. When a client shares vulnerable information about how the program is going, their thoughts on their progress, or roadblocks they face, it’s important for them to see that you care, as demonstrated by your body language. Crossed arms, averted gazes, and distracted body language may discourage your client from sharing more. Thus hurting the potential breakthroughs that could happen in your sessions.
Offer Words of Affirmation
While some clients need to be heard, others need to hear words of affirmation. Some people feel validated if they hear the phrases:
- You’re totally right
- You’re doing the best you can
- You’re on the right track
- Great job, that’s wonderful to hear
- Keep going, I believe in you
- You’re making great progress
- I’m proud of you
And the list goes on. Some clients feel validated if their coach affirms for them that they see a transformation. That you notice a bit of weight loss, better mood or higher energy levels. Offering positive feedback encourages your client to continue putting in the work necessary to reap the benefits of health coaching.
3. Keep Clients Inspired With Vision Boards
Vision boarding is a coaching technique that allows clients to imagine their dream life, create a plan to reach their goals and run headfirst towards their transformation. Vision boarding is a great tool for clients to imagine what a healthier version of themselves would look like. Perhaps a healthier relationship with their family would be on their vision board, or overcoming health concerns by this time next year would be an inspiring end goal. Whatever the objective, creating space for your client to imagine and plan for it can be a transformational tool as a coach.
Vision boards can be physical or digital. Physical vision boarding can look like you bringing a slew of magazines, craft supplies, and other tools to support your clients’ creative process. Supplying physical materials for your client shows you’re invested in their vision for their life and that you’re actively helping them reach their goals.
Digital vision boards can also work on platforms like Pinterest or Instagram. After listening to your clients’ goals and dreams, send links and resources that you think may inspire their journey. The client can build their board in public or private and collect the many elements that inspire their health journey.
4. Take On a New Health Challenge Alongside Your Client
Change can feel scary especially if you’re doing it alone. Clients know they should exercise more, be more intentional about their sleep habits and eat a healthier diet. But, if they do it alone, it can feel more challenging and isolating than doing it with other people. Despite all the verbal support you may offer your client, you can take your coaching a step further by joining your clients as they start a new challenge or habit.
Join Them for a Physical Training Challenge
If your client is looking to get in better physical shape, join them for a session with a trainer or for a one-off activity. Doing a physical challenge together while offering words of encouragement along the way can help your client feel more motivated to complete the task. Think of your participation like training wheels. Eventually, the client will complete the challenge on their own, but joining them early on can help them build the confidence to go solo.
Try Out a New Recipe With Your Client
Take an Online Meditation or Yoga Session Together
If your client is looking to de-stress or implement more mindfulness tool, join them for an online meditation or yoga session. You can encourage them to download one of the many available meditation apps and commit to doing a session together on Zoom.
The same goes for yoga classes. If your client is looking to practice yoga for its mindfulness benefits, offer to join them for an online class so they feel supported during the session. Both methods help encourage the client by showing them that you’re present and invested in their transformation.
Joining clients in their health challenges and habits is a part of accountability. Holding your clients accountable can often lead to greater rates of completion in your coaching program and building a strong bond for years to come.
5. Help Clients Track Their Progress With Health Apps
Along the same vein as accountability, some clients feel more supported using modern methods. While checking in via telephone and Zoom is handy, there are lots of apps available to help clients keep track of progress on their own. Giving them tools to help achieve goals independently of you will set them up for success in the future.
Popular Health & Wellness Apps
- Cronometer: Cronometer is a free online and desktop app that helps clients track their nutritional intake. Calories, micronutrients, protein—the whole shebang.
- Lark: Lark is a helpful tool for those looking to track their blood glucose and stay on top of their blood sugar levels.
- Mindbody: Mindbody is a popular online fitness platform that hosts yoga studios, gyms, and a plethora of other fitness offerings. It’s a great app to search and enroll in online fitness classes.
- Health app: The Health app is a free and popular tool found on iPhone and iOs systems that allows clients to track how many steps they walk in a day.
- Sleep Cycle: Sleep Cycle tracks sleep quality and helps clients be mindful about their sleep hygiene.
Join HCI to Become Health and Wellness Coach Certified
Not a health coach yet? Good news! The Health Coach Institute offers a variety of programs designed and tailored to meet your coaching needs. Whether your focus is health and wellness, or stress management, HCI has a program to help you start your coaching career. Plus, if you’re a graduate of our entry-level coaching programs, you can take your business to the next level with our 12-month Coach Mastery program.