Is your health coaching approach sabotaging your relationship with your clients?

Are you meeting them where you think they should be, and not where they really are?

Today, we’re going to talk about how important it is to meet your clients where they are and gently ease them to where they need to be based on what their needs are, and not what your agenda is.

I’m Carmen Hunter. I’m the founder of the Institute for Functional Health Coaching and I’ve been a successful health coach for almost a decade.
Almost 10 years ago when I started health coaching, I had been through my own health journey and was still working through a lot of the bits and pieces. I had gathered so much information and so much knowledge and had truly gone down the “rabbit hole” of wellness.

And while this journey was difficult, it taught me a few very important lessons that shaped how I coached clients.

First, it taught me that there is not a single solution that works for everyone. Second, it taught me that we can help our clients get the best results if we simplify instead of overwhelm.

You see, when I first started working with clients, I thought every client should look at an elimination plan and every client should look at taking specific supplements for their gut and every client should get expensive testing done and so on

And what I found out was that by starting with the complicated options first, I actually caused my clients to feel hopeless, overwhelmed, and frustrated. I realized that our role as health coaches is to help end the overwhelm for our clients and simplify the process of getting healthier.

That’s why I developed a process that allows coaches to educate their clients, help them get prepared and then help them take action in the easiest and least stressful way possible. It’s why our intake form is over 30 pages long.

Before starting a new coaching relationship, we ask our clients where they want to start.

“Which one of my sugge

stions causes you to feel the least amount of stress?”

“Do you want to start working on your stress perception?”

“Do you want to start removing one thing at a time from your food plan that feels manageable to you?”

“What makes you feel the least amount of stress when we have these conversations about the things that need to change?”

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Instead of jumping into expensive lab tests, doing all these allergy food things, and using scary words like elimination diet, or gut stool testing, or leaky gut, or malabsorption, or whatever terminology that you’ve found yourself using with clients, we can simply ask them this question: “Where would you like to begin?”

So for example, sleep is one of the seven foundations of health that we teach at the Institute. I truly believe that if someone is not sleeping, their body is not repairing and it’s making their health worse.

So I might ask, “How would it feel if we just darken your blinds? Let’s think about maybe removing that television out of the room. How do you feel about a white noise machine?”

And we’re talking about small changes here. That sounds a lot less scary than “I think you need to look at taking three milligrams of Melatonin. I think you need to consider doing an adrenal test because I think your cortisol is high at night.”

Do you see what I mean?

Anything we can do to reduce the overwhelm will benefit our clients. It’s also going to benefit your coaching relationship as well.

Some of my students and the coaches I mentor have said to me, “I don’t know why this client never got back to me. We were working together great for five weeks and then they disappeared.”

I can almost guarantee you that there was something in that relationship that overwhelmed the client or made them feel like what the coach suggested wasn’t going to work for them.

Consider what’s best for your clients before you place your agenda on them. You can use all that knowledge and all that passion as you go along in your career, but let’s start the relationship in an easy way that feels good to the client and good to us as well, as well as reduces our risk and liability.

Did this blog resonate with you?

Are you a person who has jumped right into all the hard stuff and all the scary stuff with your clients?

Are you someone who understands that it’s more important to ease into these relationships with our clients?

Put it in the comments below. I love to go back and read what people have to say and what’s working for their businesses.

If you’d like to talk to our team about how we can help you build a successful, low-risk functional health coaching practice, book your chat with us here:



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