Understanding Your Client’s Core Motivations by Gregory Florez
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At the heart of your coaching practice lies the express intent to put the client first. To do this, you must learn about the core values and motivations that drive your clients to pursue their goals, as these are as individual and personal as your clients themselves. As a successful coach, it is critical that you understand the “why” behind your clients’ goals and coach accordingly. To understand the why, ask clients the following three pivotable questions:

  • What are your goals?
  • How will you know when you are on the path to reaching them?
  • What will reaching these goals allow you to do in your daily life that you cannot do now?

Asking these questions will help you move beyond simple responses like: “I want to lose weight” or “I want to get stronger.” For example, if a client expresses a desire to lose weight, follow up by asking, “What will losing weight allow you to do in your daily life that you can’t do now?” You will hear everything from, “I have a reunion coming up and want look great” to “I want to keep up with my grandchildren.” Even within these two responses are two levels of depth related to the same goal. To want “to look good for a class reunion” is laudable, but it is not nearly as internal as the desire “to keep up with my grandchildren.” The latter response is grounded in a deeper desire for both quality of life and love of grandchildren. These deeper desires then support a deeper motivation.

The answer to the third question listed above is critical in mapping a plan that will address the underlying reasons for clients choosing a goal. This question delves into the deeper values and motivations that almost all clients have beyond their initially stated simplistic goal and will allow you to coach appropriately as you uncover the most meaningful parts of each client’s mindset and mission. Most importantly, it will also allow you to turn the client’s response into a more tangible and deeply valued goal. It sets the stage for you to make a perhaps already successful coaching engagement even richer.

These questions can be asked during a coaching session or between sessions in person or by phone. You can even create a form for clients to fill out that introduces these questions.  Regardless, this process can strengthen your bond with your clients and take your services to a different level.

It is important to ask these questions early in your engagement with a client. This allows you to find a client’s “true north” beyond simply health and fitness. In some cases, it might encourage referrals to other professionals, including registered dietitians, rehabilitation specialists, or therapists.

This conversation can greatly enhance your value to your clients. Below is an email template you can utilize when reaching out.

Client E-mail

CLIENT NAME,

As a valued client, it is important that you share with me your motivations around your well-being so that I can support you as you pursue your most-valued goals. As we embark on a coaching engagement, it will be helpful to know not only your fitness goals but also the deeper reasons for their importance. 

Ask yourself:

  • What are your goals?
  • How will you know when you are on the path to reaching them?
  • What will reaching these goals allow you to do in your daily life that you cannot do now?

Responding thoughtfully to these three questions will give both of us a much better understanding of what these goals mean in your life from a much deeper view than you may have even considered in the past. I am honored to join you on this journey by exploring these questions with you.

Healthfully yours,

YOUR NAME

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Understanding Your Client’s Core Motivations

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