How to Get the Most Out of Your Client Check-ins (tips from a psychologist)Sep 02, 2022
Client check-ins may sound like they should be a simple conversation and an opportunity to collect “data” on your clients, but your check-ins can be a powerful tool for behavior change if you use them correctly. A common mistake coaches make is including mainly yes/no questions on their check-in forms. The problem here is that it’s rarely ever as simple as yes or no.
Questions like “did you stick to the plan last week?” or “did you have a stressful week?” require a yes or no response, but the answer is much more complex.
Two clients might both say “yes” in response to sticking to the plan, but they could have totally different definitions of what “sticking to it” really looks like.
Or, you might have a client say that they had a stressful week, but as their coach, it’s incredibly important that you understand what kind of stress or where that stress stems from.
The key to helping your client achieve their goals is in the details of their answers.
And these details are what will lead to better coaching and success (for you and the client).
Although the questions you ask your clients matter, so does how you ask them and how you expect your clients to answer them.
Ask Better Questions on Your Check-in Forms
Rating scales require more thought and embrace the gray area because your clients have to assign a number to how they’re feeling.
Asking a yes or no question implies that the issue at hand is black and white.
It’s more complex than that, you are more complex than that, and your clients are more complex than that.
For example, you can ask two clients if they are confident they can hit their macros this week, and both clients A and B may say yes.
But, if you ask them on a scale of 1-10 how confident they are in their abilities to hit their macros this week, Client A might say 9/10 while Client B says 7/10.
Asking the question this way provides much more insight.
But you shouldn’t just stop there.
There are two important follow-up questions:
Why didn’t you choose a higher number?
Why didn’t you choose a lower number?
When you ask these follow-up questions, you can really uncover the good stuff.
You can learn that Client A is confident she can hit her macros, but she knows this weekend might throw some curve balls because she’s traveling.
Knowing about her travel plans and why she rated her abilities at a 9 rather than a 10 opens up room to potentially provide help navigating her nutrition when she travels this weekend—something you wouldn’t have known was necessary from the simple “YES” answer.
The follow-up questions also let you know that Client B has some confidence in her abilities but also really doubts herself, so unless she feels like she’s 110% certain, she feels that she can’t rank herself anything higher than a 7 no matter what the circumstance.
Your client’s in-depth answer gives you more insight into her mindset and a huge area for growth. Knowing this information can significantly impact this client’s success because you know more about what you need to work on with her.
Both clients said “yes,” but how that is defined looks entirely different.
Become a Better Fitness Coach
Do you want to instantly improve your coaching abilities?
Ask your clients fewer yes/no questions, and provide more rating/Likert scales, then follow up with open-ended questions. You can learn more about improving your check-in forms, intake forms, and even your application form from a psychological perspective. Check out my most popular workshop for coaches: Transform Your Forms.
Updating your forms is a good start, but if you want to be a coach with killer client adherence, retention, and success, you’ve got to have a good handle on mindset and behavior change science overall!
Join the waitlist for the next round of the Health Mindset Coaching Certification.
You’ll learn how to apply research and science to your coaching practice and feel more confident in your abilities to help clients with psychological aspects of health and fitness, such as mindset, habits, goal setting, willpower, self-efficacy, confidence, and negative thought patterns.
HMCC will teach you how to help clients like in the above example overcome the biggest obstacles they’re facing in their fitness journey.
Join the waitlist here, and you’ll also get 5 FREE lessons in behavior change and psychology to improve your coaching right away!
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