Coaching Strategies to Make Behavior Change Easier 

Imagine strolling into your first-ever yoga class. The teacher takes the time to welcome everybody and describes the historical past of yoga, the important thing rules, and the potential advantages for individuals who follow it. You go searching on the class, and there are yoga practitioners of all ranges, from novices, like your self, to superior learners with years of expertise.  

The teacher exhibits you pictures of the poses you’re going to grasp and explains how they are going to be helpful. But, earlier than the primary class ends, you do not really follow something.  

In the subsequent class, the trainer names the yoga poses and watches because the novices within the class are frozen with worry and confusion. The intermediate learners strive to keep in mind the poses after which strive to observe the superior learners as an alternative.  

This is a wierd and complicated yoga class, no?  

You have been informed all about yoga and the way it will be helpful, however you weren’t really taught how to follow yoga! You have been anticipated, from one class to the subsequent, to present progress in yoga with minimal steerage from the trainer.  

This state of affairs is unquestionably unusual (and extremely unlikely within the yoga world). However, one thing comparable occurs the entire time for sufferers and purchasers throughout visits to their healthcare professionals.  

In the primary appointment, the well being skilled explains the consumer’s present well being standing and the way sure way of life adjustments may gain advantage them. But they aren’t supported with the tools and strategies that may assist them make these adjustments. Then, on the following appointment, they’re anticipated to have made progress by no matter means they may on their very own.  

Health coaches assist to guarantee their purchasers don’t really feel alone, afraid, or confused on their journey to improved well being and wellness, as you may need felt throughout these imaginary yoga lessons.  

But, in your purchasers to really really feel supported and guided, it’s of important significance that well being professionals like your self interact purchasers with proven health behavior change strategies 

This article describes 5 confirmed conduct change methods you possibly can implement along with your teaching purchasers to assist them really feel extra assured in making well being conduct adjustments.  

The methods described on this article are a abstract of the methods utilized in Nutrition Counseling & Education Skill Development by Kathleen D. Bauer and Doreen Liou, one of many central textbooks utilized in AFPA’s Certified Holistic Nutritionist Program 

Learn what it takes to become a Health & Wellness Coach!

An Introduction to the ABCs of Behavior  

There are a number of behavior change theories which can be helpful in guiding coaches in growing their very own teaching program and elegance. One of the preferred is the Social Cognitive Theory of conduct change, which units a framework for discussing conduct change methods by specializing in factors in conduct sequences. The ABCs of conduct (Antecedent, Behavior, and Consequence) are helpful for understanding which methods is perhaps most useful in your consumer based mostly on their particular circumstances. ABC stands for:  

  • Antecedent (stimulus, cue, set off): Feeling starvation stimulates the will to eat, identical to triggers reminiscent of having a bowl of fruit out on the desk can set off munching on fruit as a snack. Antecedents might embody the bodily availability of meals, social triggers (like events), emotional triggers (like stress), and psychological behaviors (like motivation).  
  • Behavior (response, consuming): The conduct is the response to the antecedent. In vitamin, it might deal with the velocity at which your consumer eats, the bodily setting wherein they eat, and their consciousness of what and the way a lot they’re consuming, amongst others.  
  • Consequence (punishment, reward): These embody optimistic and detrimental reinforcements. Behaviors might be rewarded or punished with one thing quick, reminiscent of giving or taking away a privilege, or with one thing extra long-term, reminiscent of feeling kind of energetic, staying out of the hospital, and others.  

As a coach, you possibly can decide which of the next methods are applicable in your consumer after evaluating the ABCs of the actual conduct you and your consumer need to deal with.  

Behavior Chains 

A conduct chain is a approach to enable purchasers to replicate on behaviors by analyzing the sequence of occasions from the antecedent to the consequence. Behavioral methods can concentrate on one facet of the antecedents, behaviors, or penalties, or they will concentrate on the conduct chain as a complete. For instance, you and your consumer might want to deal with stress earlier than diving into consuming behaviors that reply to stress. Research exhibits that purchasers with fewer stressors are extra possible to be receptive to conduct change interventions and stick to them long-term.  

Bauer and Lui recommend the next approach to implement conduct chains along with your consumer: 

Ask your consumer to write down a frequent conduct by first specifying the conduct, then figuring out the cue, after which describing the consequence. Ask them if it’s a conduct they want to proceed. If so, observe up by asking them how to encourage the incidence of the cue, and if not, ask them how to scale back the incidence of the set off.  

Cue Management (Stimulus Control) 

Cue administration focuses on the antecedent of the ABCs of conduct. It is a approach that coaches and purchasers can work collectively to determine and modify social or environmental cues that set off a conduct. This technique might be developed as follows:  

  1. Identify a particular conduct that the consumer needs to keep or modify. 
  2. Identify a number of cues. These may very well be within the bodily setting (location, actions, restaurant consuming, procuring, reminders, and meals storage), the social setting (social occasions, detrimental social affect, and social help), or consuming behaviors (time meals stays within the mouth and which and the way a lot meals stays on the plate). 
  3. Identify methods for rising optimistic behaviors and decreasing detrimental behaviors by way of cue administration. For instance, if studying whereas consuming stimulates senseless consuming, you and your consumer can focus on the potential of consuming with out distractions.  
  4. Explore implementing reminders to perform the brand new exercise.  


Countering is a way wherein purchasers change downside behaviors (B within the chain) with wholesome behaviors. Here, the cue or set off isn’t addressed however slightly the conduct itself. Countering is useful when the target is to discover an exercise that would substitute an issue conduct.  

For instance, if the issue conduct is waking up too late to eat breakfast, this conduct may very well be exchanged with one which motivates the consumer to get up early sufficient to eat breakfast. This might embody listening to their favourite True Crime podcast within the bathe or setting their favourite tune as an alarm.  

Some different examples of substitutions embody:  

  • Foods which can be more healthy options 
  • Active diversions
  • Physical actions 
  • Relaxation actions 


Behaviors are sometimes discovered, and observing others accomplish a objective or modify a conduct can enhance an individual’s perception that they, too, can modify a well being conduct. The strategy of observing others and implementing adjustments in the same approach is known as modeling.  

Some methods you should utilize modeling in your teaching follow embody movies of purchasers, documentaries, testimonials, success tales, teaching buddies, group teaching, and mentors.  


Problem-solving is a course of the place the coach and consumer work collectively to determine the conduct chain, determine limitations to change, and determine doable choices for overcoming the limitations.  

There are a number of varieties of perceived limitations, also called obstacles or roadblocks, to change:  

  • A lack of expertise (doesn’t know what behaviors are dangerous or optimistic for well being) 
  • A scarcity of talent (doesn’t understand how to cook dinner or do yoga) 
  • A scarcity of risk-taking (worry or fear)  
  • A scarcity of social help 
  • The complexity of the weight loss program 
  • Cultural limitations (cultural meals not obtainable within the area) 
  • Financial limitations  

One approach developed by Glasgow and his team for problem-solving is known as STOP, which stands for:  

  • Specify the issue 
  • Think of choices 
  • Opt for the most effective answer 
  • Put the answer into motion 

Main Takeaways 

Behavior change methods are important for coaches to efficiently help purchasers in gaining the arrogance to need to change behaviors, the talents for a way to change behaviors, and the instruments for really altering behaviors in a sustainable style. This article described 5 conduct change methods: problem-solving, modeling, countering, cue administration, and conduct chains.  

Note that these conduct change methods might be highly effective, and so they shouldn’t be misused to set off disordered consuming habits or a worry of meals. Ideally, your consumer has a concrete well being objective in thoughts and is conscious of how their present behaviors affect their well being issues. Always examine in along with your consumer usually, and guarantee they’re consuming sufficient nutritious meals, not overexercising, and working towards self-care.


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