6 Questions to Ask in Your Coaching Session That Can Help Clients Overcome Self-Doubt

Motivational interviewing is a strong software to assist shoppers in being lively leaders of their very own well being and wellness journey. 

While asking your shoppers questions, not solely are you studying extra about them, you might be making a protected house the place they’ll take into consideration previous experiences and present well being behaviors

One of probably the most highly effective and efficient outcomes of motivational interviewing is the facility it has to assist shoppers overcome doubt. Doubt is a typical expertise amongst individuals who have a need to undertake a brand new well being conduct or modify an present one however are conscious of non-public and environmental challenges that will come in the way in which of doing so. 

In this text, we offer you six query prompts that can be utilized to interact your shopper in a dialogue that may assist them to overcome self-doubt.


What Is Motivational Interviewing? 

Motivational interviewing is a way the place you construct a protected house for shoppers to let you know about their experiences, opinions, information, and needs. In the method, not solely does the coach turn out to be extra conscious of the distinctive experiences and challenges of their shoppers, the shoppers are given house to extra concretely categorical their priorities and targets and join to deep motivating elements behind present behaviors and desired ones. 

In motivational interviewing, you ask your shopper open questions on what their present well being behaviors are; why they’ve constructed these behaviors; if, how, and why they’ve considered altering them; and a number of different matters. When you don’t maintain judgment as they reply, they really feel validated and heard, and this builds a way of belief in the coach-client relationship. 

When applicable, you may ask shoppers if they want to hear concerning the info you could have earlier than providing it freely. When coaches ask for permission and encourage reflection, it might probably drastically impression the openness of shoppers to hear info that could be helpful to them. 

You can study extra about motivational interviewing, together with the elemental rules and core abilities, right here. 

The Role of Doubt in Some Health Behavior Change Frameworks

Health conduct change frameworks are extraordinarily helpful for serving to to perceive how individuals undertake and maintain wholesome behaviors which are conducive to wellbeing. They are additionally helpful for serving to us to take into consideration elements that impede individuals in shifting from one stage of conduct change to one other that will get them nearer to adopting a brand new well being apply sustainably. 

Keep in thoughts that, similar to selection is just one issue that influences well being behaviors, self-doubt is only one kind of doubt that will impede people from making well being conduct adjustments after recognizing a need to accomplish that. Other varieties of doubt could embrace a insecurity in a healthcare supplier and/or whether or not environmental elements will permit the person to make well being conduct adjustments. 

The Role of Doubt in the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change

The transtheoretical mannequin was developed by Prochaska and DiClemente with the objective of summarizing the unifying elements of a number of conduct change theories. The transtheoretical levels of change mannequin, which is pictured beneath and described in element in the entire weblog about well being conduct change theories, is summarized in 5 major levels: 


The motion of a person alongside the 5 levels is taken into account progress towards desired change. At any stage, a person can relapse to a earlier stage. 


Why may an individual relapse or not progress to the subsequent stage of well being conduct change? There are a number of causes, together with:

An absence of social assist
An absence of entry to healthcare companies
Changes in priorities
Changes in well being targets  
Change in well being standing
Changes in or an underestimation of the facility of social, environmental, and psychological determinants of well being

Self-doubt is taken into account one of many psychological or cognitive determinants of well being. Health coaches have an necessary function in understanding and supporting shoppers in modifying their mindset that could be impeding their progress from one stage to one other. 

The Role of Doubt in the Health Belief Model of Behavior Change

The Health Belief Model is without doubt one of the most generally used well being conduct change frameworks. It can also be one of many oldest in Western society, which is why it has considerable research that assist its use. 

The Health Belief Model focuses on the psychological determinants of well being conduct change. The psychological determinants embrace:

Perceived susceptibility to growing a well being situation 
Perceived severity of the well being situation 
Perceived advantages of taking motion to stop or scale back the chance of the present situation 
Perceived boundaries to taking motion 
Cues to motion or occasions that happen that encourage an individual to do one thing otherwise 
Self-efficacy or the arrogance in an individual’s means to take motion 

The psychological determinants are interconnected, and they’re knowledgeable by trauma. Below is the diagram that explains how the completely different psychological elements come into play with one another in accordance to the Health Belief Model. 



Self-efficacy is the alternative of self-doubt. So, when well being coaches need to assist shoppers overcome self-doubt, what they need to be aiming to do is enhance the shoppers’ sense of self-efficacy. 

Characteristics of Self-Doubt

Beata Souders, a candidate for a doctorate in psychology, identifies a number of traits that individuals with self-doubt or a scarcity of self-efficacy could have. 

These embrace: 

Avoiding accepting challenges in worry of failing
Believing that they’re incapable of change or of performing sophisticated duties
Focusing on adversities and previous failures as character traits or private shortcomings
An absence of sense of dedication

6 Motivational Interviewing Question Prompts to Help Clients Overcome Self-Doubt 

Note: Remember to observe the rules of motivational interviewing when utilizing these query prompts in your apply. 

Can you inform me a few time the place you made a change you wished to make in your life? 

When your shoppers stroll right into a well being teaching session with you, they could assume that you’ll solely be speaking about progress updates towards their well being targets. When an individual is experiencing self-doubt in their means to make well being conduct adjustments, they could have bother remembering that they’re able to change. 

Shifting the main target from well being behaviors, which can be a topic of competition, to optimistic experiences in the previous, could not solely lighten the temper but in addition creates a possibility to your shoppers to mirror on conditions the place they had been in a position to overcome adversity.  

Some follow-up questions you may want to ask embrace:

What do you suppose made that state of affairs completely different from different moments the place you confronted adversity?
Can you recall one other state of affairs the place you wished to make a change and did it?
Can you recall a state of affairs the place a change was sudden, however you loved the result? 

What private strengths do you could have that will enable you to obtain your well being targets? 

It is feasible that your shopper could reply that they don’t have any of the abilities they want to obtain their well being targets. In this case, you may want to migrate away from talking about well being targets for a couple of minutes since they could really feel significantly weak or uncertain at that second. Instead, you may ask them to take into consideration knowledgeable objective or private objective they’ve achieved in the previous. If they’re having bother pondering of something, you may present some examples, similar to graduating from highschool or school, getting a certificates, touchdown a job, shopping for a home, or getting taxes in order. 

Then, ask them to establish private strengths they’ve that allowed them to obtain that objective. If they’re nonetheless having bother vocalizing their strengths, you may ask permission to share what you understand are your shopper’s strengths primarily based on the data they shared with you. Some adjectives you might have considered trying to think about using, when relevant, embrace:


You can ask in the event that they agree with these descriptors and clarify how their previous actions reveal these traits. Next, you may discover whether or not these traits may be utilized to reaching their well being targets and even visualize what it could appear to be in the event that they did so. 

What encourages and evokes you? 

You can focus this query on their well being targets however not essentially. If you select to apply it to your shopper’s well being targets, it should assist to spotlight perceived advantages and cues to motion of the Health Belief Model. 

At first, for some shoppers, it may be useful to communicate extra typically about what encourages and evokes them and discover these components. Then, you may ask them in the event that they really feel these individuals, emotions, or components they talked about are related in their well being behaviors and well being targets. 

You may additionally need to ask about whether or not they’re in modifying their well being targets in order that they lean on what encourages and evokes them extra clearly. 

What are you able to acquire by making a change? 

This query helps shoppers mirror on the perceived advantages of fixing their well being conduct. One of some great benefits of this query is that shoppers typically see the advantages as solely coming about as soon as the ultimate objective is reached. Where related, you may supply details about how incremental adjustments can supply advantages. 

For instance, in case your shopper desires to meet the minimal bodily exercise tips (half-hour of average train a day, 5 days per week) as a part of a method to decrease their hypertension, you may inform them, with their permission, that even a couple of minutes of motion throughout the day is helpful to their coronary heart well being.

Not solely do these conversations supply a protected house to talk about progress and setbacks, however in addition they assist shoppers to put aside an all-or-nothing mentality and be proud and forgiving of themselves.  

Who may give you assist in making this modification? 

The function of social assist in overcoming self-doubt is commonly neglected. Humans are naturally social beings that thrive in tight-knit teams. Social assist could embrace relations however not essentially. They could also be buddies, colleagues, or individuals from assist teams. 

Your shopper could even particularly look to you as somebody whose assist they’re searching for in order to make a well being change. If that’s the case, or in case your shopper is struggling to establish individuals who they’ll rely on, supply your full assist and ask them what they want that to appear to be. 

Remember, nonetheless, to reinforce your skilled boundaries so that you don’t expertise burnout

What can we work on collectively to make you are feeling the progress I’ve observed? 

Before asking this query, ask your shopper in the event that they really feel okay with you making an statement about their progress. 

With their permission, lead with a concrete statement or instance of the progress you’ve perceived and recall traits associated to self-efficacy. 

Here is an instance of how you may want to use this query: 

Since we first began assembly, I’ve observed that you’ve got [make a positive observation about their progress]. This reveals nice [mention traits or characteristics]. How can we work collectively to modify your targets and enable you to admire the progress I’ve observed?

The objective of this query is to reevaluate the teaching plan or your shopper’s well being targets. You may discover they felt that the targets they’d initially set with you had been unrealistic, so opening the door to revising these targets to permit them to really feel like they’re extra attainable can signify a big reduction to them in the quick run and better self-efficacy to obtain well being conduct targets and maintain optimistic well being behaviors in the long term. 

Main Takeaways

Self-doubt is a typical difficulty when individuals need to make a change in any facet of their lives. When it comes to well being behaviors, the well being coach is the first knowledgeable in how to assist shoppers in overcoming self-doubt and different cognitive boundaries to optimistic well being conduct change. 

Motivational interviewing strategies are a technique to discover the completely different parts that affect well being beliefs that affect how people are making progress towards well being conduct change. When the query prompts in this text are built-in into a bigger teaching technique, your shoppers can start to really feel extra self-efficacious whereas additionally understanding that the well being teaching house is a protected house

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