The in-person check-in during nutrition coaching is a BIG DEAL. Accountability is one of the reasons our program works so well. When communicating with nutrition and wellness clients, it’s important to keep engagement high. It’s not uncommon for coaches to become “stuck” when trying to keep a client engaged after seeing them for several months in a row a couple times per month. Often times, the in-person check-ins become monotonous, and if the coach isn’t creative, it can sometimes become ineffective in helping the person find strategies, tips and motivation to continue.
Here are 5 points to cover during your in-person check-in’s to help keep clients motivated and engaged.
1. Ask the question “What are your bright spots?” Pointing out bright spots is huge because often times people struggle to find any positives in their life experiences. If they can dig deep with the coach’s prompting – one positive experience can certainly be found from the time you last saw them and their check-in today. For example, Mary said to me “I didn’t have any bright spots this month. I went on vacation, gained 5 of the 10lbs back, and now I feel worse than ever.” Me: “Well what caused you to gain back the weight and what have you learned from it?” Mary: “I ate ice cream every night and I guess I also learned that I feel like crap when I overeat. I was so stuffed each night that I’ve really decided I’m done feeling that way.”. Me: “Mary it sounds to me like we just identified a bright spot. By overconsuming the ice cream, you have committed to never feeling that way again, which means you are more motivated now than ever to commit to the lifestyle changes necessary to reach your goals, what do you think?” Bright spots don’t have to be significant to everyone; they just have to be significant to the client! Help identify those bright spots!
2. Ask the question “What were your struggles since the last time we met?” Struggles are just as important as Bright Spots because they provide a way for the client to vent, and they also serve as a tool for the coach to give action steps. If a client is struggling to get in protein, the coach can use the list of protein sources we provide and help the client identify a choice they like. If a client is struggling with sleep, the coach can do some research and provide some appropriate tips for the client to use to try and get more sleep. You get the point… even when bright spots are strong, dig deep to identify even the smallest struggle so you can provide action steps and motivation to keep working towards the goal.
3. Goal identification and adjustments. Every in-person check-in needs to go over long term and short term goals. Typically, short term goals are the steps that need to be taken in order to reach the long term goal. Once we reaffirm the long term goal, we talk about last month’s action steps related to our short term goals. We identify if any progress has been made with the short term goals and how much further we are away from our long term goals. In addition we adjust the short terms goals based off of the previous month’s progress. A goal without a plan is just a wish!
4. Action Steps. Every client needs to walk away from their in-person check-in feeling motivated to continue and with a new short list of action steps. These action steps can vary immensely between clients. An example of action steps follow based on this scenario: “Mary indicated at her check-in that she struggled big time when her daughter was home from college during the summer to keep her work life and personal life on track. She was scheduling meetings at night when she was supposed to be off work and taking many visits from her daughter during work hours. In addition, she was failing to meal prep, therefore, was making bad decisions during lunch time.” As her nutrition & wellness coach these were the action steps I gave Mary:
a. Instead of taking the time to prep full meals, prep meals in bulk in a crockpot.
b. Take the time to block off time blocks on your calendar.
I sent Mary away with a buffalo sweet potato chicken recipe and also the name of a book to read on time management. We scheduled our next check-in and I scheduled a follow-up email to go out to her in one week checking on how her new block system and time-saving meal prep worked for her.
5. Ask the question “Why are you working on your health and wellness?” One time per month, I ask this question. I want people’s “why” to be at the forefront of their minds. So often we get lost in the food logs, the meal prep and the daily grind of life that we forget about our true why and these things become chores instead of tools for success. Bringing that “why” to the forefront reminds us why health and wellness are important.
Value lies in every exchange we have with clients. Sometimes we have to dig, sometimes it’s right there. The accountability provided by the in-person check-ins are the heartbeat of our service. From there, our knowledge and suggestions for continued success are what keeps our clients moving towards their goals. If you are an owner or coach still struggling to keep clients engaged and motivated after reading this blog, please email me your struggle. If you are already a member of HSN post to the private FB group so my remarks can be seen by all in hopes to help someone else struggling too!
Keep fighting the good fight!