As a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, I know how to get to the root cause of my clients’ health concerns. But it wasn’t until I went through the Primal Health Coach Institute program that I learned how to ask the exact questions to get my clients to open up about their struggles, their goals, and what’s standing in their way.
After all, our job as health coaches isn’t to have the all answers—our job is to ask the right questions. And in today’s post, I’ll be sharing 125 powerful (and open-ended) questions you should be asking in your health coaching sessions.
Ask Open-Ended vs. Closed Questions
Have you heard of open-ended questions? They’re basically any question that can’t be answered with a one-word response, like “yes” or “no.” Open-ended questions typically start with “how” or “what,” and require your clients to share their unique perspective on something. They’re also designed to prompt longer conversations and give you more information about what questions to ask next. It’s the difference between “Did you work out this week?” which can have a “yes” or “no” answer, and “What does it feel like when you get all your work outs in?”
That said, if you do use a closed question, follow it up with something like “tell me more,” or ask one of the open-ended questions on our list.
1. What would you like to discuss in today’s session?
2. What else would you like to discuss?
3. What does ‘healthy’ look like for you?
4. What’s your experience working with a health coach?
5. What health concerns do you have?
6. How long have you had these concerns?
7. How would you describe your health journey up until this point?
8. What else should I know about your health journey?
Questions About Lifestyle
9. What is your stress level like?
10. How well are you sleeping?
11. How do you feel when you wake up?
12. What were your eating habits like as a kid?
13. What are your eating habits like now?
14. What (if anything) are you unwilling to give up?
15. What kind of exercise are you doing right now?
16. What food or movement restrictions do you have?
Questions to Clarify Goals
17. What are 3 specific health goals you’d like to achieve?
18. What time frame do you have in mind to achieve these goals?
19. How long have you had these goals?
20. Why are these goals important to you?
21. What will achieving them mean to you?
22. What would it take to achieve these goals?
23. What are your short-term goals?
24. What are your long-term goals?
Questions That Dig Deeper
25. What would it feel like to reach these goals?
26. How committed are you to making the necessary changes to reach your goals?
27. What would it take to increase that commitment?
28. How does your commitment level differ from previous times in your life?
29. What’s your daily self-talk like?
30. What’s worked for you in the past?
31. What hasn’t worked in the past?
32. If you could change one thing right now, what would it be?
33. What can you do today to start working toward that goal?
34. What else can you do?
35. Why are you ready to make this change now?
36. How will this change affect you positively?
37. How will it affect you negatively?
38. How will it affect other people in your life?
39. What aspect of this feels the most difficult for you?
40. What outer resources can you use to help you achieve your goals?
41. What inner resources can you use?
42. What does your support system look like?
43. Who do you believe will support you?
44. Who do you believe won’t support you?
45. What is one thing you can say to someone who isn’t supportive?
46. What’s one thing you can tell yourself?
Questions About Obstacles and Limiting Beliefs
47. What obstacle is standing in your way?
48. What would it feel like if this obstacle was removed?
49. What steps can you take to remove that obstacle?
50. What will happen if you don’t make this change?
51. How will you handle situations that are out of your control?
52. What limiting beliefs do you have?
53. What would you do if you had no fear?
54. If you approached this with confidence, how could your life change?
55. What would it take to believe you’re worth making these changes?
56. What would it take to believe you can make these changes for good?
57. What remaining obstacles do we need to address to make sure your goals can be achieved?
58. What stories or limiting beliefs do you still have about yourself?
59. What new story or renovated belief can you create instead?
60. How will you know when you’ve successfully reached your goals?
61. What would it look like if things turned out even better than you’d imagined?
62. What does your life look like once you’ve reached your goals?
63. How does achieving your goals benefit other areas of your life?
64. How will you keep yourself accountable?
65. What’s one thing you can do to stay accountable every day?
66. How likely are you to do that?
67. What would you like to see happen over the next two weeks?
68. Why is that important to you?
69. What’s one goal you’d like to achieve within one month?
70. What’s one goal you’d like to achieve within six months?
71. What is one thing you can do to put those goals in motion?
72. What does success look like for you one year down the road?
Follow-Up Session Questions
73. What is your biggest concern this week?
74. What are you doing to make meal prep a part of your weekly routine?
75. What happens when you don’t make time to meal prep?
76. How can you make setting your environment up for success more fun?
77. What’s your biggest win from the past week?
78. How did you feel about that win?
79. What was your biggest struggle?
80. What can you learn from that struggle?
81. What’s one thing you can do to keep that struggle from derailing your progress?
82. How is this different from when you felt discouraged or faced a challenge in the past?
83. What are you feeling really confident about in your life right now?
84. What are three action items you can commit to doing this week?
85. Do you feel like those action items are realistic?
86. What would it take to stay on track this week?
87. What are the triggers that cause you to get off track?
88. How do you typically sabotage yourself?
89. What can you do to prevent sabotaging yourself?
90. How will you handle tempting situations?
91. What are specific ways you can incorporate healthier foods into your diet this week?
92. What are specific ways you can incorporate more movement into your day?
93. What are specific ways you can create a healthier self-care routine?
Questions That Reflect Change
94. How has your energy level changed during the time we’ve worked together?
95. How has your confidence changed?
96. How has your strength changed?
97. How has your daily-self talk changed?
98. How has your quality of sleep changed?
99. What techniques do you use to manage your stress levels?
100. What change are you most proud of since your first session?
101. What changes are your friends and family noticing?
102. How have your priorities shifted since your first session?
103. What are you doing to put those priorities at the top of your list?
Questions That Help Your Clients Grow
104. What about your health goals feels overwhelming to you?
105. How can we break those goals down into smaller steps?
106. What step could you take right now that would have the biggest impact on your health and your life?
107. What area of your life needs more attention?
108. What would it look like to have your needs met in that area?
109. How will you stay committed to your new lifestyle?
110. What would you still like to accomplish?
Questions for Moving Forward
111. What would it take to repeat your mantra and re-commit to yourself daily?
112. What makes you even slightly apprehensive about moving forward?
113. What is one thing you can do to alleviate that apprehension?
114. When you look back at your health journey, what stands out to you?
115. What’s one thing you would have done differently?
116. What about your health journey has been the most life-changing?
117. What have your learned about yourself during this time?
118. What would you tell someone who’s struggling with a similar goal?
End of Session Questions
119. How can I help you be successful?
120. What’s been your biggest ‘A-HA’ moment so far during our coaching sessions?
121. What have you learned about yourself?
122. What new beliefs do you have about yourself and your health?
123. What does it feel like to have achieved your goals?
124. What is still unclear for you?
125. What questions do you have for me?
Hopefully it’s clear that you don’t have to ask all of the questions on our list. Think of them more as conversation starters, questions to ask if the conversation stalls, or if your client is struggling to open up. And remember to keep your questions open-ended so that you can draw out more information during your sessions. More times than not, your client is the one holding the key to what’s holding them back and what’s going to make them successful as they work toward their health goals.