health coach

How Do Personal Health Coaches Work?

Whether you want to lose weight, increase your energy levels, or find a new way to work out, a personal health coach can help. Learn how a health coach works with clients to support their goals and make lasting changes.

A well-trained, certified health coach puts you in the driver’s seat and helps you identify your unique needs. They also respect your priorities and don’t judge you or try to make you do things you don’t enjoy or aren’t comfortable with.

Client Relationships

One of the most important aspects of a personal health coach’s role is developing rapport and trust with their clients. This is a relationship that requires vulnerability, transparency, and open communication.

Knowing your client’s personal and health history is vital to helping them achieve their goals. Therefore, you may want to include a health questionnaire in your initial sessions.

As your client moves through the different stages of coaching, you’ll need to adapt your approach accordingly. For example, you might start by asking about their current fitness levels and then transition to more detailed questions.

You’ll also need to remember that your clients have very different needs and preferences — you should always take the time to find out what works best for them.

Another critical component of your client relationships is establishing and maintaining boundaries. These can vary from person to person and are often shaped by various factors, including age, gender, culture, and the nature of your professional relationship with them.

Using a variety of tools will help you set clear and meaningful boundaries. These can include a client list with roles, responsibilities, and expectations and signing contracts and signs that clearly explain your services. Clear communication and boundaries will ensure you can work with your client effectively for both of you.

Client Goals

During a coaching session, clients set goals that help them chart progress toward their wellness objectives. These goals can be short- or long-term and should include SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) goals with an estimated completion timeline.

As a personal health coach, your role is to support and guide clients through the goal-setting process. Once you have a solid understanding of their goals, you can work together to develop a plan that helps them achieve those objectives.

Clients can set goals for various areas, including improving dietary habits, developing fitness plans, and reducing alcohol consumption. Once clients have identified these goals, they can break them down into action steps that will lead to success in each area of focus.

You can also help your clients develop a roadmap for success by transforming SMART goals into manageable steps that they can accomplish weekly or monthly. This will ensure that they stay focused and on track to reach their ultimate objectives.

Clients sometimes struggle to stick to new behaviors when life gets hectic, or challenges arise. However, you can help them remain committed by reminding them that they are on a journey to healthier, more balanced living and that a single momentary lapse will not ruin their progress.

Coaching Sessions

Coaches support their clients by examining their challenges and helping them create action plans and solutions. They also help their clients troubleshoot mental or emotional issues that could hinder long-term success.

A coaching session is usually a one-to-one meeting between the coach and the client. Depending on the client and their goals, it can be anything from designing a career plan to supporting someone with their mental health.

To start a coaching session, ask your client what the core issue is they want to work on. This will allow you to establish what they’re struggling with and how they want to feel once the session is over.

Next, ask your client what they want to achieve their goal. You’ll guide them to these two critical elements throughout the session.

Once you’ve nailed down those elements, the next step is to set a clear structure for your session. This will help you ensure your client’s expectations are met and that you deliver a powerful, transformational experience.

A good coaching session template should have a Lead Up, Breakthrough, and Close. It will save you a lot of time and allow you to channel your creativity and passion while delivering a practical experience to your clients.


The communication style that a health coach chooses will play a key role in how they do their job. This includes assessing clients’ diet and lifestyle, creating a healthy eating plan, and providing support until clients achieve their goals.

Effective communication occurs across multiple channels, from speech to email to video calls. It involves encoding the message to fit the medium and the intended audience and anticipating and eliminating potential causes of misunderstanding.

In a coaching session, a coach needs to be able to listen attentively without judgment. This means they must be curious about their clients’ motivations to change and how they will accomplish their goals so that they can set attainable expectations.

It also means they must be able to talk about topics that can be uncomfortable or even difficult but are critical to their client’s success. For example, suppose your client is experiencing high levels of job stress and is looking for ways to improve their life. In that case, you need to be able to offer stress-relieving exercises and strategies to help reduce their emotional distress.

Likewise, health coaches must recognize when their clients require consultation with other health professionals to help them resolve problems and reach their goals. This is part of their professional code of ethics and is one way they ensure that clients get the best possible care.