How to talk to people so they’re more likely to change. A sneak peek at PN’s newly updated Level 1 Certification.

One of the basic skills that we teach our clients in our Level 1 Certification as well as in our personal coaching is how to be more influential in conversations with others. This is because we all have the need to feel useful and important, and to feel like we are doing something meaningful and useful in our lives. It is important to hold the following belief about conversations with others: “I have something useful to say. I am important, and I’m adding value to the conversation.”

It’s been several months since we updated our Level 1 Certification course, and in that time, we’ve gathered a lot of feedback from both within and outside of the personal training industry. Based on these, we have updated our Level 1 Certification course to make it simpler and more effective, overall. One of the biggest changes is that the certification is now available via email delivery, which is great if you don’t have time to shop for the exam.

In a previous blog post, I wrote about how to help people change habits. In this post, I want to talk about how you can help people make that change. In order to be effective in helping someone change, you need to be able to deliver your message in a way that is easy to understand. I will discuss how to do that in this post. I will also take a very brief look at what happens when you don’t do that.. Read more about when it comes to step 4 always try to and let us know what you think.

It’s critical to understand how to speak to individuals who come to you for guidance in a manner that improves their probability of change if you want to achieve excellent outcomes. If you can master this, you’ll be a legitimate client (or patient) whisperer.

We’ll show you how to accomplish exactly that, using a technique modified from our recently revised Level 1 Certification curriculum.


Things may be a bit hazy when you first start working with a client or patient.

Especially if you’ve been through this before:

Client comes up, you put in a lot of effort, they leave (no closer to their objectives), you rush to find another client, they start, and the cycle continues.

What’s the matter?

It’s most likely not your software.

It’s unlikely that individuals are “unmotivated” or “lazy.”

Frequently, the issue is “coach talk.”

You must understand how to speak to individuals in ways that assist them change in order to produce better, quicker, and longer-lasting outcomes – and a successful coaching practice.

(By the way, whether you have paying clients/patients or not, this applies.) When people come to you for help, having excellent “coach speak” is essential.)

It’s not your fault if you can’t do it right now.

This is a talent that almost no one in the health, fitness, and wellness industry acquires in school or via certification programs. People who are excellent at it are generally either “naturals” or have learned the talent through many years of trial and error.

Don’t be disheartened.

Over 150,000 health & fitness professionals certified

Save up to 30% on the leading nutrition education curriculum in the business.

Gain a better grasp of nutrition, the authority to teach it, and the capacity to convert that knowledge into a successful coaching business.

Find Out More


There is a successful formula.

If you learn and practice this formula, you’ll be able to:

  • improving communication with customers and patients,
  • retaining those customers and patients for a longer period of time, and
  • obtaining better outcomes in a consistent manner

We’ll teach you the formula in this post.

We’ll talk about:

  • What is the best way to determine which coaching style to use?
  • How to be a more active and interested listener.
  • How altering the way you speak to others may help them change.
  • How you can start incorporating this into your coaching right now.

Of course, this is just the beginning. There’s so much more to discover.

Please add your name to our Level 1 Certification presale list below if you’re thrilled and motivated by what you’ve learned today and want to learn more about the program.

We’re also delighted and inspired.

The certification allows health, fitness, and wellness professionals, as well as those considering a career in the area, to convert their passion for nutrition into a useful skill set that they can utilize to assist others.

It’s jam-packed with useful information that you can use right now to help people eat, exercise, and live better. Make sure you have reading glasses, coffee, and highlighters on hand. This will be a challenging learning experience.

On September 22nd, 2021, the program will begin.

We suggest adding your name to our presale list below since we only accept a limited number of students and the program always sells out. When you do, you’ll have the opportunity to join up 24 hours before the rest of the world. Even better, you’ll save up to 30% off the regular price of the course.

It’s a double victory.

For the time being, let’s talk about coaching methods…

Awfulness-Based Coaching Should Be Avoided

There are a lot of scary-looking, arms-crossed disciplinarian-type trainers in the health and fitness industry: men and women who seem like they’d rather hit you in the face than pull you up when you’re down.

The phrase “no excuses” is one of their favorites.

Coaches like this aren’t always nasty.

They’re just trying to do what’s right. They are sincere in their desire to assist.

If you work in one of these professions, you may have fallen into this mentality on occasion or picked it up from someone else.

Awfulness-Based Coaching is what we call it.

The foundation of awfulness-based coaching is the belief that individuals are broken and need to be healed.

They’re slackers and weaklings. That they need a good kicking in the shins to stay motivated and strong.

This kind of coaching focuses on the person’s flaws and how to address them.

It looks for “flaws” and “failures” and concentrates on “correcting” them.

It sees healthy diet, exercise, and health practices as something that must be forced onto individuals. It encourages individuals to go to the gym and work off their sins. It implies that individuals are deserving of their misery.

A drill sergeant and relentless ass-kicker, an awfulness-based coach is a drill sergeant and an unyielding ass-kicker.

People aren’t sure which way to flee because of all the screaming and kicking in the buttocks. They simply know they had to flee.

Some individuals are motivated by a fear of authoritative figures or a continuous preoccupation with repairing what is wrong… But only for a short time.

Extreme methods and drill-sergeant-style teaching may generate remarkable short-term outcomes, but they virtually never work long-term.

We, as humans, dislike being forced to make new choices. We despise being told we’re bad or that we’re broken (no matter how nicely someone says it).

Coach Hardass may attempt to force you to do something. However, along the road, he or she will sabotage the transformation process for others who seek their counsel.

There is little evidence that feeling terrible leads to long-term behavioral changes.

(And, to tell you the truth, Awfulness-Based Coaching is tiring.) Coach Hardasses are often irritated and upset because virtually no one is doing what they want.)

Embracing Coaching Based on Awesomeness

On the other side, awesomeness-based coaching assumes that individuals already have the skills and capacities to change.

They’re already amazing in certain aspects of their life.

That they will be able to succeed by leveraging their current greatness.

This kind of coach assists individuals in identifying what brings them pleasure and encouraging them to do more of it. They see healthy diet, exercise, and health practices as a way to live a life with meaning.

They encourage people to go outdoors and play. It’s about putting what they’re good at in other areas of their life to good use here. They speak about how wonderful they feel in their bodies and how they live their lives, rather than being embarrassed or tired.

A coach who focuses on greatness is a guide rather than an authority figure or expert.

When individuals are apprehensive, the coach empowers them by assisting them in discovering their superpowers and utilizing them for health and fitness achievement.

You don’t want anybody to be afraid of you. You don’t want them to think you’re always criticizing them for being unworthy, inept, weak, or damaged.

You want them to think of you as a member of their team.

Working with you should feel like a celebration of health and fitness to them. When they’re with you, you want them to feel stronger.

And the greatest way to start is with the language you use, the questions you ask, and the gentle self-discovery you encourage.

Awesomeness-Based Coaching, in contrast to Awfulness-Based Coaching, feels fantastic.

It’s a thrilling feeling. It’s invigorating. It gives me a boost of energy.

You work as a team and share your achievements and pleasures.

Even better, they are happy with the outcomes and continue to work with you. That’s fantastic as well.

Here’s how to get started if you want to be a good coach: Pay attention and take notes.

You wish to assist others as a coach:

  • become conscious of their actions, thoughts, and feelings
  • investigate and evaluate their habits and actions,
  • look at what’s preventing them from moving forward, and
  • Make some different and better choices.

You should also assist them in identifying their own strengths, resources, abilities, and problem-solving skills, which they may utilize to assist and motivate themselves.

Simply asking the proper questions is one of the easiest ways to do so.

Questions to ponder:

Open-ended inquiries allow individuals to think about their choices, values, and potential consequences without being judged. They also assist the coach in learning more about the person’s priorities.

  • “Can you tell me about the things that are most important to you? What role does exercise and nutrition play in this?”
  • “What kind of goals do you want to achieve in your life?”
  • “How do you want to see things change?”
  • “What would be different if your eating/exercise habits were better?”
  • “Have you tried anything else?” What worked and what didn’t?”

Questions to ponder:

People may envision a new way of living and behaving through imagination (just as in kindergarten).

  • “Imagine you had the ability to X.” (your goal). Describe your encounter.”
  • “Pretend you’re already doing a lot more of X. “How would that make you feel?”
  • “Imagine having the physique and health that you want. What steps did you take to get there?”
  • “What would you do if you weren’t limited by reality – let’s pretend for a moment that everything is possible…?”

Questions with a solution focus:

Language that highlights how individuals have previously succeeded and assists them in expanding the wonderful is called solution-focused language.

  • “When have you been successful with something in the past, even if it was only a little bit?”
  • “How could we do more of that?” says the group.
  • “Can you tell me about a time in your life when you were successful with anything similar to this?”
  • “Did you pick up any tips that we can use here?”
  • Where is the issue not occurring? When will things start to become a little better?

Problem-solving statements include:

Non-confrontational, introspective observations and intuitions allow people to examine an issue without fear of being judged.

  • “I have a feeling you’re having trouble with…”
  • “It seems to me that you are…”

Speculation-inducing statements:

People are more likely to think about and react to options when they are given open-ended, speculative statements.

  • “I’m curious what it would be like if…”
  • “I’m wondering if we could give it a shot…”
  • “I’m wondering whether…”

Change-provoking questions include:

You can encourage people to speak about change on their own terms by asking them these sorts of questions.

  • “Does this bother you in any way?”
  • “What makes you believe you could make a difference if you wanted to?”
  • “How would you want things to be different?” says the narrator.
  • “How would things be different if you made a different decision?”
  • “What are your present workout and diet habits causing you concern?”

Questions to gauge preparedness include:

No matter how great a coach you are, if a person isn’t ready, willing, or able to change, they won’t. So, use these kind of questions to evaluate their preparedness (and keep in mind that they may not be ready yet).

  • “How confident are you that you could change if you wanted to change, on a scale of 1-10, where 1 = not at all confident and 10 equals very confident?”
  • “What would be the smallest possible step toward change if you wanted to change?” “What’s the tiniest, simplest thing you could try?”
  • “Tell me what else is going on in your life right now. Apart from this, what else do you have on your plate? Let’s get a feel for what you’re up against.”

Questions to consider as you plan your future actions include:

These are questions that need people to come up with their own answers rather than you instructing them what to do next.

  • “So, in light of everything, what do you suppose you’ll do next?”
  • “What are your plans for the future?”
  • “What do you think will happen in five years if nothing changes?”
  • “What would it be like if you decide to change?”
  • “How would you want things to be different?” says the narrator.

Giving sound advice:

These are techniques for providing advise without thinking you have permission (or seeming to promote an agenda).

  • “Would it be alright if I told you about some of my experiences?”
  • “I’ve discovered that…” in my work with clients/patients.

Make use of the 80/20 rule.

You’ll see that we’ve provided you over 25 methods to actively listen and just two ways to express your thoughts.

Spend 80-90 percent of your time listening, comprehending, observing, and investigating, and just 10-20 percent of your time leading, directing, and providing information.

What would this look like in practice?

Use a “change talk wedge” in scenario one.

1. Validate and affirm what they should be doing in the other direction.

When someone expresses apprehension about change, you can start by considering why they might not want to change. (It does sound strange.)

You might say anything along the lines of:

“Wow, you sound like you’ve got a lot on your plate.” I understand how difficult it is to plan workout time.”


“I understand how difficult it is to resist those handmade brownies. They’re fantastic.”

Keep in mind that this is a place where you should be genuine. Genuinely sympathize with the situation. Sarcasm almost always backfires, resulting in animosity.

2. Then you must wait.

Be silent after verifying and confirming the contrary.

Don’t be scared to throw open the door and welcome them in. There’s no need to hurry. Be patient, kind, and aware.

Allow the individual to speak first.

This will seem like an eternity, yet it may just be a few seconds.

3. Keep an ear out for “change talk.”

When people do start talking, they often begin by explaining why they should alter their habits.


“I realize I’ve got a lot on my plate. But XYZ is something I really should do. I’m sure I’d feel better.”


“To be honest, I’m not sure I need three brownies. I think I’d be OK with just one.”

4. Insert the wedge into the “change talk” gap.

You’ll know you’re on the right track when you hear them propose changes on their own.

Reflect and suggest (but not force) a future action using their language. Concentrate on certain tasks.


“Does it seem like you believe doing XYZ will make you feel better?”


“Does it seem like one brownie would enough for you?”

Consider posing this as a question. Make an inquisitive expression.

You’re just repeating what they just stated, as if to double-check your understanding.

5. Hold your breath once more.

Keep your mouth shut.

Wait for the other person to speak.

Keep an ear out for further discussion about transformation.

6. Continue as required.

Slowly wiggle the “change wedge” in more and further. Follow their lead.

And, when you think they’re ready for the next step, you may go ahead and ask them:

“So, what do you suppose you’ll do now, given all of this?”

But not too quickly. Allow them to come at their own pace.

Use “the continuum” in Scenario 2.

You may use this once you’ve finished listening to speak about change. But first, make sure you grasp the issue.

Have individuals picture a range or continuum of habits ranging from the worst (e.g., eating fast food for every meal) to the best (e.g., exercising regularly) (i.e. replacing just one fast food meal today with good quality protein and vegetables).


1. Assist them in moving up a “notch.”

Emphasize the advantages of doing so.


“So, it seems that you want to do X.” (i.e. eat less fast food). However, going all the way to Y (i.e. no fast food) seems excessive, which is understandable. What if you could simply move a teeny-tiny little closer to Y rather than all the way there? What might you do tomorrow that would be X+1 (eating one non-fast food meal)?”

Now, if necessary, reduce the size of the project:


“X+2 (i.e. no fast food tomorrow) is fantastic — we’ll talk about it later. But what if X+1 is used instead? That seems to be a lot more manageable.”

2. Develop a plan for quick implementation.

You can confirm that X+1 is an excellent idea since it will be something they suggest. Then convert it into a subsequent step.


“I think X+1 is a fantastic concept! How are you going to do it today? And what can I do to assist?”

3. Schedule a follow-up after an activity has been assigned.

Make sure there’s some accountability built into the action plan now that you’ve agreed on it.


“OK, text me tomorrow to let me know how X+1 went. Send me a picture if you try another alternative! I’m excited to see what you decide.”

Ask “strange questions” in scenario 3.

You may also ask a few unexpected questions if someone is dealing with change.

1. Pay attention, validate, and affirm.

Begin by saying, “I realize this is crazy, but…”


“It sounds like [reiterate what they just stated about their understanding of what they want to change],” says the speaker.

“OK, I’m going to ask you two insane questions, and I know it’ll seem strange, but please bear with me…”

2. Make your inquiries.

  • “What is it about X behavior [where X behavior is the issue behavior they wish to alter] that is GOOD?” In other words, what is its function in your life? “Can you tell me how it helps you?”
  • “What is it about change that is so bad? In other words, if you got rid of X, what would you lose or give up?”

3. Acknowledge and sympathize with the situation.

You may start by normalizing and empathizing with the undesirable behavior, utilizing the odd approach of (somewhat) arguing in favor of not changing.


“Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow In that scenario, I believe we’d all appreciate a few cookies!”

Although this isn’t always the case, the client’s natural reaction is often the opposite.


“Yeah, but I really should come up with a better approach to handle this…”

Hey, take a look at this! They were the ones who suggested the adjustment, not the coach!

4. Give yourself time and space to mourn the loss of the status quo.


“Well, let me tell you something. There’s no need to hurry. Why don’t you try when you’re ready?”

  • …going up one “notch” on the scale?
  • …doing the things you suggested?
  • …considering how you might embody the principles you express more effectively?

5. However, don’t let them off the hook completely.

If necessary, follow up in a few days.

Scenario 4: Ask them to come up with a solution on their own.

1. Confirm, confirm, confirm, confirm, confirm, confirm, confirm, confirm, confirm, confirm, confirm, confirm, confirm, confirm, confirm, confirm, confirm


“I hear you and understand what you’re thinking/feeling/going through, and it’s perfectly acceptable. This happens to a lot of people.”

2. Ask rhetorical, leading questions.

This is a “tell yourself what to do” inquiry, not a conversation invitation.


“It seems that you already have a solid understanding of some of the major problems. What would you suggest if you were the coach in this situation?”

To put it another way, how would you, the client/patient, address your own issue?

3. Determine how confident you are.

After they’ve suggested a solution, ask them to rate their own level of confidence in carrying it through.


“That’s a fantastic idea; I truly like it. Just curious… how sure do you feel about X on a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 indicating “no way I can do it every day” and 10 indicating “of course I can do that every day?”

4. Confirm and schedule a follow-up appointment.

Tell them you believe they’ve come up with a decent solution if they get an 8, 9, or 10 out of 10, and then encourage them to check back in a few days to report their progress.

If not, concentrate on reducing the next activity to something they’re sure they’ll be able to accomplish every day for the following few days. The continuum exercise mentioned before is an excellent way to go about it.

What to Do Next: Some Suggestions from the Experts

As you can see, the coach’s role in all of these situations is not to play all-knowing expert. (This also applies to anybody attempting to assist others eat better, such as friends and family.) Instead:

Coaches who are founded on awesomeness are confident, helpful mentors and change agents.

A competent coach can assist people in proposing their own solutions – ideas that are consistent with their beliefs and that they truly think they can accomplish. They’re ready, willing, and able to commit to solutions right now.

And it all starts with words.

1. Recognize your areas of development.

Consider how much time you really spend…

  • actively listening to others (rather than interrupting or waiting for them to finish before speaking)?
  • examining their standpoint and attempting to comprehend their viewpoint (rather than presuming you already know what they require)?
  • encouraging them to come up with their own possible solutions or next steps (rather than simply offering them advice)?
  • Rather of simply giving them directions to follow, ask them what they believe they could realistically attempt.

What steps might you take to get one step closer to client/patient-centered, awesomeness-based coaching?

What is the value of your “X+1”?

2. Put some of the questions and concepts from this article to use.

You now have a few words and statements that have been shown to help you connect with people and unleash their potential. Put them in your back pocket and pull them out as fresh chances arise.

Make notes after each session on how it went:

  • What differences do you see in the way they communicate with you?
  • What appeared to strike a chord with you the most?
  • What prompted them to speak and open up in the first place?
  • What do you want to speak about at your next meeting, and how do you want to talk about it?

You will build the communication skills of a successful, flourishing coach over time by practicing and recording outcomes.

3. Pay attention to a coach you admire.

It is critical to practice on your own as often as possible.

But, much as in sports, you’ll almost certainly need a coach to be the greatest.

Working with a professional coach will accelerate your progress. So, once a month, request to sit in on a couple of sessions and buy your mentor a coffee so you can ask follow-up questions on how they successfully interact with their customers or patients.

Inviting people to share their experiences is a good idea. Inquire about how to approach a customer or patient who is suffering but who you really want to assist.

If you’re a coach or wish to be one…

It’s both an art and a science to guide clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy food and lifestyle adjustments in a manner that’s tailored to their individual body, tastes, and circumstances.

Consider the Level 1 Certification if you want to learn more about both.

A lot of people who go out of their way to get PN’s Level 1 Certification likely see it as a tool, or a set of tactics, to use to manipulate or manipulate people. That’s not what PN is about. We speak for ourselves, we don’t speak for others. We don’t teach you to manipulate others, we teach you to understand the people around you and how they think.. Read more about precision nutrition client-centered coaching and let us know what you think.

Related Tags

This article broadly covered the following related topics:

  • precision nutrition certification
  • precision nutrition blog
  • precision nutrition coaches
  • precision nutrition level 2 cost
  • what is precision nutrition

Una is a food website blogger motivated by her love of cooking and her passion for exploring the connection between food and culture. With an enthusiasm for creating recipes that are simple, seasonal, and international, she has been able to connect with people around the world through her website. Una's recipes are inspired by her travels across Mexico, Portugal, India, Thailand, Australia and China. In each of these countries she has experienced local dishes while learning about the culture as well as gaining insight into how food can be used as a bridge between different cultures. Her recipes are often creative combinations of traditional ingredients from various different cuisines blended together to create something new.