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istock_000000221902smallA key part of effective coaching is helping our clients to find a way over, under, around and through the barriers that get between them and their goals.  The best-laid wellness plans are inevitably challenged by some combination of “life getting in the way”, lack of environmental support, or sometimes even the “push-back” resistance from peers.

The other side of this coin are the “internal barriers” that also block our progress.  These are composed of our personal belief systems, values, and self-talk, including the “inner critic” or “gremlin” talk that sabotages our efforts at change.  We will address the internal barriers in a later article.multitasking

We’ve all seen the efforts of clients, family and friends derailed when a source of stress arises, there is a break in routine, a spouse or partner objects to them using time for self-care, families rebel against dietary changes, etc.  Someone’s workload increases, money gets tight, an aging parent’s health worsens, and the person resumes smoking, drops their healthy eating habits, increases their amount of sedentary activity and so forth.  When attempting lifestyle improvement alone this is when progress halts or even regresses.

When a person is working with their wellness coach this is where support, creativity, strategic thinking and real fun comes into the coaching process.  Let’s look at how the wellness coach can employ various skills and strategies to help their client create lifestyle change that lasts.

1.   Use a strengths-based, positive psychology approach. Approaching a challenge to change with the usual “What’s wrong and how can we fix it?” style is kind of like asking a “Why?” question.  The usual response is… “I don’t know.”  Instead take complete inventory of the situation first getting a very accurate picture of “what is”.  The effective wellness coach will draw upon earlier foundational work with their client and bring forth the strengths that the client has that they can make use of in meeting this particular challenge.  For example, one client of mine was in a great rehabilitative exercise program for her surgically repaired knee when “life happened”.  Remembering how she had earlier described meeting other scheduling challenges at work with great flexibility and creativity, I challenged her to use those same attributes to deal with her new dilemma.  Her energy surged and she came up with a solution that got her back on track.


2.   Process the feelings behind the challenge. While this might be considered part of the “internal work” that we’ll focus on later, most coaches find that it is hard to come up with a new strategic solution without addressing the emotions that charge the situation.  Once the client has had a chance to share in a safe and accepting (nonjudgmental) relationship how they are frustrated, disappointed, resentful, angry, sad, etc., they can more clearly assess their circumstances and face the challenge with more ability to see different options.

3.   Employ strategic thinking. In chapter nine of Wellness Coaching For Lasting Lifestyle Change I elaborate on many strategies for helping clients face challenges to their own lifestyle improvement.  Help your client consider options based upon their own values and their “true priorities”.  Is delegation a useful strategy in this case and what is already keeping the client from implementing it?  Help them run their time-demanding challenges through the classic urgent-important matrix.  Help them answer the critical question of “Who is responsible for what?”  Use your different perspective to help your client look at their challenges from a new angle instead of simply recommending solutions from your own vantage point.

4.   Don’t “jump to solution”, use readiness for change theory. As you and your client come up with ideas of what action to take, slow down.  While it may seem like powerful coaching to request action early and often, it too frequently ends up leading to premature moves that fail.  When it comes to this specific behavioral change, this specific challenge to it, what is your client ready to do?  Do they need further contemplation?  More information and preparation?  Or are they ready to take action of some sort?

5.   Co-create a plan with an “experimental” attitude. Working together with your client, come up with a plan of action that is concrete, realistic and attainable.  Encourage them to look at the steps they take to deal with their challenge as an “experiment”, not as a total success or total failure type of risk.

6.   Link action steps with motivation to be well. Help your client affirm that they are taking these steps in order to pursue their own health and wellness.  Help them get back in touch with their vision of being healthy and well and what is motivating them to engage in these wellness efforts.

7.   Congruent, but not necessarily comfortable. The goals your client is shooting for and the actions they are taking to get there must be congruent with their own values.  However, nobody ever said anything about it having to be entirely comfortable!  Most real growth and the facing of most difficult challenges takes place out there on that uncomfortable edge.  Encourage your client to draw upon their own strength, courage and endurance to persevere and succeed.

8.   Help your client succeed by helping them be accountable to themselves. The fundamental coaching process of accountability ensures that barriers are faced, plans followed through on, and efforts maintained.

9.   Coach For Connectedness. From the beginning of the process build greater connectedness.  Who can the client reach out to for help, additional accountability and support in their efforts?  Once again going it alone may not be the best strategy.  Help your client process their resistance to asking for help.  Make this part of the plan throughout.  Many of the barriers our clients face are interpersonal ones.  Coach them around ways to communicate more effectively, create agreements with others (rather than have assumptions and expectations), and be clear about what they have control over and what they do not.

10. Celebrate success. Acknowledge and affirm your client’s success and help them deal with continued setbacks.  Provide support and help them “give themselves credit” for what they are doing to improve their lives.

by Dr. Michael Arloski.

In the next article in this series we will look at the internal barriers that get in the way when we attempt lifestyle improvement.

Dr. Arloski will be hosting a Free Webinar on this topic Wednesday, Jan. 26th (12:00-12:30 pm EST).  Space is limited, register now! E-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , 1-866-568-4702 toll free.


We are passionate about providing the highest level of wellness coach training delivered with integrity in a high touch manner that honors each persons uniqueness. we are excited about growing the craft of Wellness Coaching and supporting its uses in Wellness & Lifestyle Medicine.


We are committed to creating and supporting a community of wellness & health coaches and all the people interested in health and wellbeing and encouraging their professional and personal development.


We persevere to bring coaches and organizations together to affect positive health outcomes, positive healthcare change, and to support positive lifestyle change at all levels. We are dedicated to actively creating Allies For A Healthy World!

Helping You Succeed as a Certified Health Coach !

The Real Balance Wellness Mapping 360º™ ”Wellness & Health” Coach Certification program is one of the top-rated health and wellness coach certification programs, offering the best value and greatest support for students and graduates seeking to become health coach professionals.

 During training, you’ll receive an unparalleled, interactive learning experience. Training sessions are led by highly qualified instructors who provide ongoing feedback and support. Our approach is very personal.

After receiving your certification, our team will continue to provide unlimited support, access to our private Coach Center and Distance Learning membership site. We provide the latest lifestyle and health topics and more. You become part of our learning community - Allies For A Healthy World!

The demand for certified health coach professionals has never been greater.

As a Certified Wellness & Health Coach, you’ll play a key role in helping clients develop healthier lifestyles, enriching their lives with encouragement, expertise, and support. Our health coach certification courses provide tools and resources to make it easy to implement the Wellness Mapping 360°™ method of wellness & health coaching. You will learn a holistic approach that is very practical to implement. 


In this area you will find  a listing of all our class offerings!


Become a member and gain access to valuable education, connection, research, and our "Find a Coach" network. 


We all need to keep on top of the ever growing and ever changing world of health coaching. The research continues to add up and we will do our best to keep you in the know.

For Information or to Register 866-568-4702

  Free Webinar
      Join Dr. Michael Arloski and deepen your skills!

      Topic:  "Two Years Later: How One Coaching Session Led to a Successful Weight Loss Journey"

Join Jennifer Bleck in a discussion on Impactful Coaching: How One Session Can Change Everything.


Jennifer Bleck is a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach, Associate Professor, and Real Balance faculty. Jennifer teaches Health & Wellness Coaching courses to students at the University of South Florida. She specializes in program evaluation and conducts research on coaching through her role as the Co-Director of the College for Applied Lifestyle Medicine. After completing a demo foundation coaching session with Dr. Arloski in May 2022, she began a weight loss journey, during which she lost 130 pounds to date. This webinar will discuss the impact of coaching on her journey.


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.  The webinar will be recorded.  Afterwards those registered will receive a link to the recording.  1 day after the webinar you will be emailed a short summary / evaluation to complete to gain CE's. Once submitted you will be emailed a Certificate of Attendance. If you are interested in 1 hr. of NBHWC CE’s you may petition.

      Friday, July 26, 2024     12:00pm - 1:00pm Eastern time


1 day after the webinar you will be emailed a link to an evaluation to complete to gain CE's. Once submitted you will be emailed a Certificate of Attendance.CEU's Are no longer provided directly for the NBHWC.

      Keep on Learning!

      Dr. Michael

Effectively Coaching People with Health Challenges

In this self-paced, 5-module (6 hour) class participants will learn about specific lifestyle-related health challenges, the lifestyle changes needed and how to support a person as they make lifestyle changes needed to be healthy and well. In particular the course covers coaching people to live well with Heart Issues, Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes, Hypertension & Stroke and Asthma & COPD.

Register Here!!


Short Continuing Education and Professional Development Webinars

Learn from the Masters and gain CEU's in a self-paced manner. Grow as a Welness Professional and Coach!

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Resilience To Thriving Coach


5/16, 5/23, 5/30, 6/6, 6/13, 6/27 2024 - (6 Thursdays) 7:00 - 8:30 Eastern time and 7pm - 9pm ET on 6/27/2024

Course Purpose

This certificate training is for those professionals within either a human resource, wellness, health, or coaching related profession to learn about and acquire skills and tools for assisting individuals and organizations to enhance their resilience and thriving capacity.

Research from participants who completed this course has shown significant pre-to-post increases in several coaching competencies. This includes being more present for clients, the ability to develop plans for thriving, and how to work with one’s own resilience story in the context of coaching.

Read More Here!

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