As a health coach, I’m sure you’re bombarded with a long list of things you have to figure out to get your business up and running – and make it profitable.

Last week, I  was speaking with a health coach that just graduated from the health coach training program. She had no idea where to start with her business, and she was feeling lost and a bit frustrated.

Boy, can I relate to this because I remember feeling the exact same way when I graduated.

Do you ever feel like you’re alone on your own deserted island left to figure it out by yourself! Well, I’ve been on that island too, and it’s no fun.

Since this is such a common question that comes up, I wanted to take some time to share my experience and ideas to help make things easier for you.

In this post, I’m just going to address the topic of 1-on-1 coaching because that’s where most coaches start out. I think it’s a great idea to get practice this way, build your confidence, then move on to online coaching and group coaching from there.

One of the first hurdles to overcome is deciding how to structure your 1-on-1 coaching program. I struggled with this when I was first starting out, and I know there are many other coaches that feel the same way, and they get stuck in paralysis mode.

The good news is that I dove in head first to figure it out — and now I get to help other coaches fill in the blanks when it comes to creating top-notch health coaching programs.

Smart systems are a huge part of any successful business, so I created a step-by-step system that made all the difference in the world — to me and my clients. Having a structure to your coaching programs will save you time, energy, and frustration, AND allow you to earn more money.

Taking the time to map out the kind of journey you want to take your clients on will make coaching so much more enjoyable for you, and will allow you to help more people.

When I started out as a health coach, it took me a good three hours total for each client session. I would have to prepare session content ahead of time, scramble to find resources, and then send a recap email to each client. Oh, my!

I quickly realized that this was not a model I could continue with if I wanted to have a profitable business (and not lose my mind!).

Get ready to get unstuck, my friend. I’m going to break it down for you so you can get started mapping out your own program. My hope is that the simple steps I’m sharing today will get you on the road to coaching with more confidence.

I’m also going to share the EXACT topics I used with my own coaching program (including the order of the topics).

Let’s get started!

1. Get clear

Think about who your ideal client is and what their top struggles are. What problem do they want to have solved? If they could wave a magic wand, what would they want to change?

If you aren’t sure about this right now, don’t let it hold you back from getting started. If this isn’t clear to you right now, it will become more clear the more clients you see.

When you can get clear on your niche, you’ll be able to resonate so much more with that group of people, and it will be easier to become the ‘go-to’ person in that market. If you try to be a coach to everyone for everything, you end up being too general, and this usually leads to frustration and not enough clients on your schedule.

2. Map it out

Decide what journey you plan to take your clients on. If you want to take them from point A to point C, what does that look like?  Write down the ideas that come to you.

How long will your coaching program be? I recommend offering more than one way for people to work with you. Having a short-term introductory program is a great gateway to your other offerings.

Will your 1-on-1 program consist of three months? Six months? I recommend offering a 90-day program (three months) and then the option to continue month to month or for another 90 days. People tend to commit to shorter programs more easily than a longer term program, so you are likely to get a higher enrollment rate.

How many sessions will you offer per month? Many coaches offer two sessions per month. This allows clients some time to implement what you covered in the previous session. If you plan to include more sessions per month be sure to charge accordingly.


3. Prepare ahead of time

I can’t tell you how many hours this will save you each month! Not to mention how much more professional you will come across to your clients.

Do you have pre-prepared sessions ready to go? These sessions can be an assortment of the most common topics that come up for your clients.

Program topic examples include: Goal Setting, Meal Planning, Mindset, Primary Food, Stress Management, Implementing Healthy Whole Foods, etc.

Find out what area your client is struggling with the most, and then tackle that topic. If one of the challenges are that your client eats out too much, addressing the topic of menu planning would probably be ideal. Talk about the roadblocks around that issue then figure out what would work best for the client. They receive a recap of that  session (topic info, handouts, action items) to review, and then at the next session see what has worked well for them and what needs more focus.

It’s helpful for you and for the client to have a complete session of content all laid out and ready to go. Your clients are not going to remember everything that was covered, so when they can get the information in writing, they can refer back to it.

Of course there will be topics where you have nothing prepared in writing, but when you can have 80-90% of it done, it’s so much easier.

Stay open to changes though. I always let my clients know: “This is about YOU. I have a great plan to help you, but none of it is set in stone. I have plans to cover a certain topic, but if you need help in another area, we will tackle that first.” This way, the client knows you do have a plan, but it is flexible based on their unique needs.

When I finished my health coach training program, I knew I needed more to offer my clients. I felt like there were a lot of different topics I wanted to cover. I had in mind the journey I wanted to take my clients through: It would be simple, not restrictive, and very step-by-step where one success built on the previous one.

I went to work to create 12 comprehensive sessions. This way, I would never run out of topics to cover, and I could break them up and use them for a 3-month program or a 6-month program. (I could also use the content online, for lunch and learns or as posts for blogs or social media).

What topics would be the most helpful to your particular audience? What do they struggle with the most?

Here are the session topics I put together for my clients (this is the order that my sessions were typically delivered, but it was always flexible):

1. Goal Setting
2. Why Diets Don’t Work
3. Fueling Your Body
4. Exercise Strategies
5. Menu Planning
6. Mindful Eating and Portion Control
7. Boosting Your Energy
8. Understanding and Conquering Cravings
9. Why It’s Not Just About Food and Exercise
10. Deciphering Food Labels
11. Stress Reduction and Self-Care
12. Mindset


These are topics that anyone and everyone can benefit from. You can just cater them to each client since everyone is unique. Each person will have some similar issues, but they will also struggle with different things at different times.

Brainstorm and figure out what makes the most sense to you and to your clients.

The sessions need to be easy to understand and very simple to implement. The worst thing you can do is overwhelm your clients with too much information. Think “baby steps.” Once you have your client go through the session content, you can see what habits they have pretty much dialed in, and which habits can be focused on at that time.

Remember to have your client focus on no more than two new habits at a time. Sometimes focusing on one at a time is best depending on the client. This is the best way to set them up for success.

Small wins will help build your client’s confidence and keep them motivated to keep going.

A great book that I found extremely helpful when I was a new coach is: “Coaching Questions: A Coach’s Guide to Powerful Asking Skills,” by Tony Stoltzfus. This book is full of fantastic high-mileage questions that you can add to your coaching toolbox.

Another great book is “Motivational Interviewing in Health and Fitness” by Dawn Clifford, PhD This book is an amazing resource for health and fitness professionals. It includes great examples and sample scripts to help you coach more effectively.

phone or skype

4. Options for delivering your 1-on-1 coaching

There are two popular options for delivering your 1-on-1 coaching programs. Think about what appeals to you the most. The decision will be based on your goals, needs, and lifestyle at the moment. You may also decide to offer a combination of the two.

Phone/Skype – Virtual

I did all of my 1-on-1 coaching via phone and Skype, and I loved it. This gave me the most flexibility, and I didn’t need to rent space or have strangers come to my house. My clients loved it because they didn’t have to travel to an appointment.

A huge benefit of virtual coaching is that you can have clients from anywhere in the world. Skype (or Zoom) is amazing for this type of coaching.

You can either email your coaching content to your client before of after your session so they can review it. I like to send it ahead of time so they can look at it ahead of time, then we can dive into the areas that they need help with the most. But you can do what works best for you.

You would charge the same fee for this type of coaching as you would in-person coaching.


You’ll have to decide where you would like to meet. Is there somewhere that is private that meets your needs and the needs of your client? Will you have to pay rent? Can you join forces with another health professional to provide services at their facility? This will have to be figured into the price of your coaching program.

As you think about your coaching program and the level of support you want to provide for your clients, get really clear on what that looks like. Write it down and map it all out. Do a brain dump if you aren’t quite sure.

I know I included a lot of information here, and I hope it gave you some great ideas. I recommend you take action by reading through this again, take notes, brainstorm, and then plan out the structure of your own program.

If you have time to put your own program together, that’s fantastic. Not everyone has the time, patience, or the desire. Believe me, I know how many hours go into putting something like this together (and it always takes more time than you think it will).

If you want to have a coaching program that’s already done for you, has been tried and tested on hundreds of people, you can find out about the Coach with Confidence program here. It’s a completely customizable program that includes all of the topics I listed above.

Okay, you’re ready to rock this!

You can also grab your free Discovery Session Guide HERE, where you’ll get a comprehensive template and scripting for your initial consultation. You’ll know EXACTLY what to say so you’ll feel more confident about turning prospects into paying clients.

If you plan to launch an online coaching program, be sure to check out this post where I break it down for you, step by step.

Have questions? Not sure where to begin?

JOIN our FREE mastermind group on Facebook where we share ideas, troubleshoot and brainstorm. If you are a certified health coach, fitness professional or nutritionist, be sure to join us.


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