Discovering you are struggling with a coaching challenge is a hard and emotional time. You may feel alone, misunderstood, or less than confident that you can overcome your situation.

Most of us know that coaching is a key part of our success, and that these coaches can help us achieve our goals. But how do we know who to trust? Just because someone is called a coach doesn’t mean they are the right person for you. With that in mind, we have compiled a list of the top 25 most trusted coaches in history. Whether it’s because of their credentials, their success rate or their integrity, these coaches are the best to turn to.

On a daily basis, coaches will get asked one of the most common questions they hear: “how do I get better?” It’s a seemingly simple question, but the answer is often quite complex, with a number of contributing factors. For example, let’s say that your improvement is stagnating. It could be that you have reached the plateau in your game that most players will encounter at some point, or it could just be that you lack basic knowledge on how to improve, or how to deal with common mistakes and situations.. Read more about precision nutrition questions to ask clients and let us know what you think.

You probably encounter a daily list of coaching issues if people come to you for health, fitness, and nutrition guidance. Motivation is dwindling. Resistance that is irrational. Obstacles and setbacks are inevitable.

Here are 23 terrific recommendations from our Certification Facebook community, where PN’s recognized coaching specialists offer mentoring and time-tested counsel, to help you (and your clients/patients) move over them.


I have a lot going for me as a professional as a PN Certified coach:

A comprehensive toolkit for using behavioral psychology to guide people to real, long-term lifestyle (and body) transformation. Broad and deep nutrition knowledge; an in-depth understanding of how nutrition affects health and fitness; a comprehensive toolkit for using behavioral psychology to guide people to real, long-term lifestyle (and body) transformation.

However, I continue to run into coaching hurdles… on a regular basis

I’m looking for new ideas for a client who can’t seem to get inspired.

Or the customer who is so stressed out that putting on jeans in the morning feels like a huge undertaking.

Or the client whose measurable progress has plateaued, and I need a new approach to show her that she’s still making behavioral change while keeping her engaged.

It can be difficult to assist people with their health.

Whether you’re a seasoned practitioner or completely new to health, fitness, and wellness coaching, you’ll face obstacles.

That’s why I compiled these coaching recommendations from the PN Certification Facebook group, where our illustrious specialists provide daily insights, respond to community inquiries, provide tried-and-true assistance and mentoring, and more.

These suggestions have helped me (and other PN coaches) get through some of our most trying times.

They’ve converted some of my toughest coaching hours into some of my greatest, happiest moments.

You can read the entire list from top to bottom or jump to individual coaching ideas by clicking on a coaching category.

I also abbreviated several of them to keep this post manageable in length. There are links to the originals below if you want to read the entire tips in context. Many of them include additional information and suggestions to help you improve your coaching skills.


Our experts’ qualifications How do you keep your employees motivated? How to help people cope with setbacks How to Approach Tough Conversations How to deal with a client’s or a patient’s opposition How to deal with your own insecurities and faults


Our experts’ qualifications

Dr. John Berardi is a neurologist who specializes in the treatment

Dr. Berardi (also known as “JB”) is a co-founder of, the world’s largest and most reputable nutrition coaching and education firm. He’s a consultant for Apple, Equinox, Nike, and Titleist, and was recently named one of the world’s 20 sharpest coaches and 100 most prominent people in the health and fitness industry.

Krista Scott-Dixon, Ph.D.

Krista is the brains behind the coaching technique, which powers PN’s professional certification programs, with nearly 20 years of expertise in adult education and curriculum design. Krista, who used to be the “child picked last for every team,” now sees health and fitness as stepping stones to a larger goal: transforming people’s lives.

Craig Weller is a coach.

Craig served six years as a Special Warfare Combat Crewman (SWCC) in Naval Special Operations and nearly two years on the High-Threat Protection team for the US Ambassador to Baghdad in Iraq. Craig’s work has appeared in a number of journals, and he is currently researching how human performance is linked to motor and perceptual learning.

Over 150,000 health & fitness professionals certified

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

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How do you keep your employees motivated?

Praise actions rather than outcomes.

It’s all too easy to give someone hugs (or high-fives) and lavish praise when they lose weight, lose body fat, shed inches, or experience beneficial health changes.

Coach JB, on the other hand, demonstrates the dangers of doing so.

“The outcomes are a little uncertain. As a result, praising stats makes no sense. Because they’re erratic. Clients have just a limited amount of control over them.

Behavioral patterns, on the other hand, are controlled, and consistent patterns frequently lead to long-term, sustainable results.

People will equate taking action and showing up — not falling numbers on the scale — with smiles and high-fives if you promote behaviors rather than outcomes.”

Try thanking someone for the habits that brought them there the next time they share an exciting milestone with you — for example, consistency in showing up for appointments, creating more home-cooked meals, going to bed earlier, and so on.

Click here to read JB’s whole tip in context.

Rather of treating the symptom, change the system.

“We frequently believe that changing one’s behavior is a matter of motivation or willpower. But, more often than not, it’s just a matter of adjusting the environment,” Coach Craig explains.

Craig uses the example of his military service, when he was required to wake up at 3 a.m. for specific swim training sessions.

“There were times when I would have given anything to stay in bed for a few more minutes. However, even a few minutes late may throw my entire team’s timetable off.

I simply moved my alarm clock across the room instead of trying to gather more enthusiasm to get out of my cozy bed and into the chilly, dark night.

Before it woke up my roommates, I had to bolt out of bed as soon as it went off. “No willpower is required to tackle the problem.”

Prior to attempting to pry additional motivation or willpower from your clients/patients, check if you can assist them in creating an atmosphere that more naturally and simply supports their goals.

Cooked grains should be kept in the fridge, a workout bag should be kept in the trunk, and social meetings should be moved from bars and restaurants to parks and gyms.

Click here to read Craig’s whole tip in context.

Begin by addressing your stress levels.

You’ll almost certainly hear a client or patient remark anything like this:

“I was doing fine with my workouts until something happened, and I became anxious, overwhelmed, or too busy to continue.”

There’s a reason behind this, according to Coach Craig: It’s all about neurobiology.

Stress, according to research, alters the areas of the brain involved in decision-making, leading us away from goal-directed behavior (“I do this, I lose weight”) and toward habitual behavior (“Me weary, me stay on couch”).

“No amount of lecturing or persuading will stop a poor habit from repeating itself.

Help clients overcome their fear, and their brains will be capable of making goal-oriented judgments rather than automatic reactions.”

If stress is a constant roadblock for some of your clients/patients, consider assisting them in implementing some stress-reduction practices. Stress management will have psychological benefits in addition to physiological ones.

Click here to read Craig’s whole tip in context.

How to help people cope with setbacks

Distinguish the person from the issue.

You could notice that your clients or patients frequently tell you what they “are.”

“I’m a sugar addict” or “I’m a failure,” for example.

Take note of the grammatical structure: “I AM a thing.” I am a brand.

Coach Krista recommends rephrasing this identity issue by divorcing the individual from the problem. Respond by saying: Instead of validating what they “are,” say:

“It appears like you have a sugar problem.”


“You seem to have suffered a few setbacks.”

The issue now is something you have rather than something you are.

Using language to separate the problem from the person isn’t a quick remedy, but it does provide you and your clients/patients the space to see challenges objectively and work toward solutions over time.

Click here to read Krista’s whole tip in context.

Assist them in putting their knowledge into practice.

Many people already know how to improve their health. They just have a hard time doing it on a regular basis.

“Behavior cannot evolve until knowledge is available to guide it. “However, most people stop at knowing and believe they’re done — as if action just happens to follow information,” Coach Craig explains.

“They frequently express displeasure when knowledge fails to bring them to their ideal state, and they incorrectly believe that learning more will cure the problem.”

This “knowledge trap” may catch progress-stalled clients or patients who seem to want to focus on granular dietary subjects. Work with them to develop behavior-oriented goals that lead to their desired outcome to help them get started doing.

Click here to read Craig’s whole tip in context.

Reframe the situation when it appears to be hopeless.

Coach Krista emphasizes the importance of the “re-frame” when a client or patient encounters a perceived setback, providing alternative viewpoints that foster self-compassion, inspiration, and optimism.

If someone comes to you with a story of “failure,” for example, you can utilize reframing to show them where they did succeed, or where they have a very doable opportunity:

“Yes, you could tell that narrative about it. However, a narrative that springs to mind for me is…”

“I realize this appears to be a setback, but I noticed something you didn’t notice: you were truly focused on Priority X. It took a lot of courage to do that.”

“Some people take advantage of situations like this to…”

“That’s one point of view. “Another way to think about it is…”

Remind your client or patient that their current situation is only one point of view (rather than objective reality). Then point out possibilities for them to learn and focus on their strengths.

Click here to read Krista’s whole tip in context.

Maintain a straightforward approach.

One of the most beneficial things you can do for customers is to encourage them to keep things simple, especially when they’re dealing with stress, hardship, or disappointments.

“A huge part of a coach’s duty is to find the one thing a client needs to know, focus on, or do right now,” Coach Krista explains.

Practice condensing your complex advice into easy, prioritized, practical takeaways so that your clients or patients leave each session thinking, “Hmm, I can handle that!”

Click here to read Krista’s whole tip in context.

How to Approach Tough Conversations

Give the reality bomb (gently).

One of a coach’s responsibilities is to help people transition from a child’s world of magical thinking to an adult’s world of fact and evidence.

Coach Krista adds, “When you grow up, you understand that being an adult entails addressing truths that are often… disheartening.”

“Santa Claus does not exist, and you do not always receive what you desire.

Ask yourself, “Is it time for a reality bomb?” whenever you catch a client in a delusion that could harm them in the long run.

Is this client stable and ready to hear the harsh, hard facts?’

If it’s appropriate, get permission to offer your viewpoint; keep it truthful and straightforward, and acknowledge that reality can be unpleasant. Encourage the client to take his or her time to analyze the information, and follow up later to see how the client processed it.

Click here to read Krista’s whole tip in context.

Ask the two most important questions.

Coach JB reminds us that when people are feeling groundless or insecure in the face of change, they may reach for certainty and ask a variety of nit-picky inquiries, such as:

“How about this or that supplement?”

“What are your thoughts on this theory/guru/article/study?”

“What if (unlikely, unexpected future event) occurs – how should I respond?”

“While these types of queries are meant to create a sense of comfort, they really increase anxiety.” JB, the coach, says

Instead of becoming engrossed in such minutiae, remind your clients or patients of the only two questions that matter:

‘How should I spend my day today?’


‘How do I go about doing that?’

Use the two questions above to guide people toward taking calm, decisive action. Help your clients focus on what they need right now in the face of frenetic inquiry.

Click here to read JB’s whole tip in context.

Make use of your own experiences.

Clients will occasionally present you with anguish that is beyond your personal experience.

“How am I expected to know what to say/do here?” you might wonder in these scenarios. “How am I supposed to comprehend?”

Coach Krista tells us that in these situations, you don’t have to go through exactly what your client is going through to understand.

“Think about your own unhappy experiences if a client comes to you with sadness. Consider your own anger experiences if a client comes to you angry. Recall your own injuries and aches if your client comes to you with bodily agony.

Recall what helped, what you learnt, and how you moved forward as you reflect on your experiences. Share your common sense of humanity with your customers by offering compassion, insight, and optimism based on your own experiences.

Click here to read Krista’s whole tip in context.

Recognize what you have power over.

People are frequently upset by a lack of control.

Perhaps they’re attempting to maintain control over an unpredictable circumstance. Or perhaps the actions that used to help them feel in control are no longer effective.

It’s fascinating to note that when people worry over their lack of control, they frequently overlook areas where they do have influence, such as certain behaviors, choices, or mindsets.

Coach Krista recommends asking this one powerful question when these freak-outs and confidence crises strike:

“Right now, what do you have control over and what do you not?”

You can cut through the clutter with just one inquiry and help people open their brains to new views (and solutions) they hadn’t considered previously.

Click here to read Krista’s whole tip in context.

Recognize that sometimes simply being present is enough.

When clients or patients are having a particularly difficult period, your presence can be really beneficial.

“It’s a rare and special thing to have a someone who cares about you, and who listens with full engagement, compassion, curiosity, and non-judgment,” Coach Krista tells us.

Coaches have the potential to be that person.

You don’t have to constantly say the “correct thing.” “Sometimes all you have to do is just show up.”

Click here to read Krista’s whole tip in context.

Say “thank you” to the person who helped you.

Coach Krista reminds us that saying thank you as a coach is one of the most powerful things you can do during challenging situations.

Especially in strange or embarrassing situations when you don’t feel like saying anything.

When a customer or patient exposes something significant, for example, you can respond, “Thank you for entrusting me with this.” I understand that sharing that may have required a lot of courage.”

“Thank you for being so honest with me,” you can say when you get comments.

“Thank you for taking the time to come in today,” you can say at the end of a difficult session. I understand you have a lot on your plate.”

Maintain a grateful attitude for your clientele, even if you don’t feel like it. Telling them how much you appreciate them will make them feel understood and validated.

Click here to read Krista’s whole tip in context.

How to deal with a client’s or a patient’s opposition

Keep your client on the same team as you.

Your client or patient may come to you with a notion or idea with which you vehemently disagree.

And all you want to do is tell them how incorrect they are.

That is not something you should do.

JB reveals the following counterintuitive truth:

“The harder we try to persuade someone of anything, the harder the opposition pushes back. We’re emotional people, and when someone argues for one side, we prefer to argue for the other.”

To put it another way, if someone approaches you with, er, divisive beliefs, don’t try to persuade them to change their minds by research, articles, or lectures. If you do, you’ll most likely only serve to strengthen their position.

Instead, look into why people think/feel the way they do.

To develop trust, cooperation, and a sense of being on the same “team,” listen to and honor your clients’/patients’ viewpoints. People can only be receptive to diverse viewpoints and learn from them if they have this foundation.

Click here to read JB’s whole tip in context.

Keep in mind that any conduct, even if it appears destructive, is an attempt to solve a problem.

Coach JB says that learning this coaching lesson transformed not only his coaching practice, but also his entire life.

“Behaviors will frequently appear perplexing, or even self-destructive. However, they are usually there for a reason.

Consider a customer who really wants to lose weight but who overeats compulsively.

Overeating looks to be in opposition to the client’s objective of being healthy, but it could also be serving other, perhaps less-recognized, goals of pain relief.

Humans, in actuality, have several aims, or “competing commitments.” The following are examples of competing commitments:

‘I want to get healthier… and stop feeling pressured at the same time.’

This knowledge allows us to recognize that individuals aren’t always chaotic and unreasonable. Virtually all behaviors make sense, and they’re almost always intended to solve a problem.

If you solve the problem in a new way, the unpleasant behavior will go away.”

Help clients or patients go a little further to understand what’s driving their actions during a conversation. Then, before the overeating swoops in to tackle the problem, let them practice a (new, goal-promoting) activity that solves it.

Click here to read JB’s whole tip in context.

Make the point that you have a choice.

Human motivation is impossible without choice.

We need to believe that we have a choice in order to feel engaged in an action.

Coach Krista recommends that coaches promote choice with their clients or patients when it is appropriate.

Do you have a gym appointment? Allow customers to make their own decisions:

  • the sound;
  • the workouts
  • the difficulty/resistance level;
  • the place (for example, indoors or outside); and so forth.

Choice empowers and motivates people by encouraging them to feel like active participants in their own health and fitness journey.

Click here to read Krista’s whole tip in context.

Allow for and accept the probability of change not occurring (for now).

What do you have to lose if a client or patient you’re working with doesn’t change?

A lot.

Results. Confidence. Security. Your livelihood is at stake.

As a result, it’s normal for coaches to be concerned about their customers’ growth… or lack thereof.

Coach Krista points us that when we’re anxious, many of us fall back on our “worst self coaching.” We prod, lecture, fret, interrupt, cajole, and so on.

Surprisingly, the more fearful we are of change, the less likely we are to embrace it.

Surprisingly, it is only when we accept and allow non-change that our clients become more eager, able, and ready to change.

Aim to play the long game with clients. Change might take a long time to happen. Learn to sit with your discomfort and focus on assisting your client, no matter where they are or how fast they work.

Click here to read Krista’s whole tip in context.

How to deal with your own insecurities and faults

Accept criticism with open arms. (Even if it’s a bad one.)

JB says, “We need feedback.”

“I want to learn. To develop. To evolve from the ‘you’ of today into the wiser, more knowledgeable, and more experienced ‘you’ of tomorrow.

However, we have a horrible habit of not receiving feedback. We only want it if we can have it on our terms. If specific requirements are met. When we’re in a good mood. When it’s presented perfectly. And only under specific circumstances.

Make an effort to go past this.

Instead, be willing to hear from your clients or patients and even seek it out. Not only as a coach, but in life, our capacity to absorb and use quality feedback decides how awesome we will be.”

Click here to read JB’s whole tip in context.

Get curious when a client expresses dissatisfaction.

When a client expresses dissatisfaction with the effectiveness of your program or their slow results, the natural reaction is to inform them that their feelings are incorrect.

You could say:

“It’s not too slow,” says the narrator. This is why.”


“This program is, in fact, extremely effective. Take a look at all of the research and success stories I’ve got to back it up.”

While your goal may be to educate and encourage your customer, you’re actually rejecting their feelings.

When things like this happen, JB says:

“Become inquisitive. Respecting and listening to the person’s concerns will make them feel validated, and it will help you understand them better, making it more likely that you will be able to assist them in moving forward. Allow yourself time to contemplate your worries before returning with suggestions the next day.

The best-case situation is that you keep the client or patient, who is now delighted to stay because you listened to their concerns. The worst-case scenario is that you lose a customer but learn something useful about how to improve your coaching.”

Click here to read JB’s whole tip in context.

Set specific goals for yourself.

You may feel unsure or even overwhelmed as a health, fitness, or wellness practitioner at times, especially if you’re just starting out.

How do you determine if you’re giving a client enough or too much of your time, for example? What methods do you use to establish boundaries? How do you know you’re meeting their expectations… and obtaining what you need?

It’s all about setting expectations, according to Coach Krista.

“Ideally, you should discuss expectations during your initial appointment (although you can do so at other points along the coaching journey process).”

“You’ll want to talk about the following topics in this conversation:

  • what to anticipate from the program;
  • what you want them to think about themselves; and
  • what they can look forward to from you.

“For both you and your client, this talk will outline clear actions and boundaries. There’s no need to read people’s minds.”

Click here to read Krista’s whole tip in context.

Failure is not something to be afraid of. Prepare for it.

Failure is an inevitable part of life.

However, most of us are terrible at interpreting failure. We believe that if we fail, we will be considered a failure.

Not so.

Failure is nothing more than an opportunity to learn.

Coach Krista advises coaches to anticipate and learn from their mistakes.

“We can construct systems and support networks around our weak places by learning from our errors.

“Don’t get furious with yourself if your ‘failure likelihood’ is following up with clients, for example. Simply create a structure around it, such as setting calendar reminders to check in with your clients on a frequent basis.”

Recognize your possible failures (and be open to uncovering ones you didn’t realize you had) and make a conscious effort to improve those aspects of your practice.

Click here to read Krista’s whole tip in context.

Never stop trying new things.

Coach Krista reminds us that experimenting is the only way to keep learning and improving as a coach (and as a person).

“Experiments invite us to do the following:

  • construct a hypothesis
  • choose the data/metrics to collect;
  • data collection and analysis
  • make judgments; and
  • based on the experiment’s findings, decide what to do next

Experiments enable us to maintain as much curiosity, observance, and distance as possible.

They also assist us in discovering new aspects of ourselves or new systems that are more efficient than previous versions.

Experiments encourage lifelong learning and development.

Embrace an experimental approach rather than striving to get everything right the first time.”

Click here to read Krista’s whole tip in context.

Form a group.

Your client’s or patient’s needs may occasionally fall outside of your scope of practice.

Krista, the coach, says:

“There’s no shame in that. A team is the most effective way to support people.

Build a support network of reputable professionals in various health/fitness/wellness industries to whom you may refer clients or patients as your practice grows.

This guarantees that you do not feel obligated to handle everything, that you do not practice outside of your scope of practice, and that your clients/patients receive the assistance they require.

Consider assembling your own coaching mentor and team of experts. You, too, require assistance!”

Click here to read Krista’s whole tip in context.

And what about when you’re frustrated? Just take a moment to feel it.

Then… go back to square one.

Put on your coaching hat and remember why you’re here: to assist others. Consider, “How can I assist this individual in moving forward today?” and concentrate on that.

Yes, assisting others can be difficult.

It’s also enlightening and satisfying. Especially if you use the coaching problems you experience to improve your game and become the type of coach who can generate results for anyone, in any circumstance.

If you’re a coach or wish to be one…

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

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

Even the most experienced coaches will be surprised to find that, even after years of coaching, you may still fail to overcome certain coaching challenges. These include: * Not having enough focus on the coaching sessions. * Not building rapport with your clients. * Not understanding the process and what it takes to coach. * Not reading your notes and knowing what you want to cover in a coaching session. * Frustratingly, even when you do overcome these challenges, it may still not be enough for you to reach your coaching goals.. Read more about health and wellness coach and let us know what you think.

This article broadly covered the following related topics:

  • coaching
  • health and wellness coach
  • how much do life coaches make
  • precision nutrition questions to ask clients
  • precision nutrition behavior change
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