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How Do Coaches Measure Change and Outcomes for Clients?

What is the Best Measure of a Client’s Progress in Coaching?

It is commonly believed that “you cannot change what you do not measure”. Therefore, one of the core principles around changing habits is to track progress and acknowledge success stories whenever a client reaches a milestone or goal.

Building a Solid Foundation of Trust and Rapport

When working with clients to make changes to their behaviors or lifestyle, we must first meet with them to build a solid foundation of trust and rapport before we can even begin to approach modifying any aspect of their life; to even reach this level of assessment, we must first get clients (usually based on trust and likeability) to work with. 

Then we must truly get to know them in order to allow for open dialogue to occur. Only then can we have their trust to discuss their needs and assess their level of motivation to make changes. A good triner or coach knows that we then perform assessments that we may design and customize uniquely for our practice or specialty; we might also do this for the individual differences seen from one client to another. 

How to Modify Habits

In order to modify a habit, you first need to identify your goal. Is it weight loss within a specific time, or what about a brain health goal based on medical concerns? Diabetes, hypertension, or risk of stroke might be goals that your client brings to your training and coaching relationship. Goals can be more physical in nature, including training goals for sports; imagine a client preparing for a marathon or training to play as part of a team sport. 

Then the coach will want to assess the client’s motivation, and of course, we know that the client should be the one identifying their goal(s) with your strategies and modifications fused into the coaching effort. Based on your coaching experience, how quickly can your client expect to achieve their goals? The motivation should be obvious and apparent. But always ask – are they doing this for themselves, their family, and their loved ones, or is it a goal related to health and fitness? The different goal options matter, since some have long-range implications – or imply other areas of the client’s whole life may need to be addressed. 

Determining a Clients Motivating Factors

Some clients have motivating factors around vanity or wanting to look good for their partner while you may find that other clients are more motivated to stay fit and healthy so they can improve their life quality. For each person, this will be highly individual, but we want our client to list their motivation in a daily journal of some type. 

Why You Should Be Evaluating Biometrics

We begin with each client in the same manner, with an evaluation of biometrics that can be used for a client to learn how their unique data relates to brain health. Picture doing an initial baseline assessment and then revisiting these metrics weekly, monthly, and at the end of your program. In a manner of application, this is your client’s way of tracking changes made. It’s a comparison of where they are now with a reference point identified from the point in time you began session work with them. 

Creating Success at Check-ins

Having clients commit to making one change per week helps to hold them accountable in a stress-free manner. This also goes a long way towards success with each weekly check-in (weekly consults are recommended). It is perfectly acceptable to then ask a client how they will maintain the new habits learned from the weeks prior. 

Let’s say that you are coaching a client on a 10-week program; you can probably imagine that learning and implementing 10 new life changes can have a significant impact on an individual’s life. eliminating poor habits as we coach our clients into embracing new habits it is as important to support the elimination of habits that will not lead to attaining the desired goal. These poor habits may be their thoughts, diet, lifestyle, or training style. 

Establishing regular accountability is crucial for success and for this reason, this is a strategy employed in many business settings; it will also work for your coaching practice. Work with your clients to establish when you’re going to check in and monitor their progress toward goals – it may even be a daily call, a daily reading of a food journal, or a weigh-in each week. Again, we recommend contact with clients if you’re working with a client to modify a habit. 

Using BMI as a Metric

One of the most important metrics that a coach needs to know is your client’s body mass index. It is good to note here that it is normal for clients to be very uncomfortable with the number assigned as their BMI; there are many reasons for this. First, being in the normal weight range, means that your client is lean. If you do Brain Fitness Coaching, for example, most of the clients you work with may have a BMI suggesting they are in the overweight to the obese range. We therefore must be extremely careful and mindful of how you share this information back to your client – the very last thing we want to do is create panic or defensive responses. After all, it is just a number. But it IS one that we can use as a starting point.

Calculating Weight to Height Ratio

In health and wellness settings, BMI is used to assess if we were working with somebody who may be overweight or have metabolic syndrome. But if you are a trainer coaching professional athletes – like weightlifters or football players, who may have a higher body mass to height index, you can get a more meaningful result using the waist-to-height ratio. This is done by measuring the circumference of the waist and comparing it to the client’s height to determine if the player is overweight. 

The formula used is: 

Waist to height ratio (WHtR) = (Waist circumference / Height ) x 100 

There are several WHtR calculators online for the sake of convenience. 

If using BMI as an indicator, it is important to remember that a client with a BMI value below 18.5 has a different issue occurring. This client’s metrics suggest that they not only may be malnourished, but they may also not be getting adequate foundational nutrients to support optimal brain and body functions. Such individuals may have nutrition concerns centered on eating disorders and you may require the assistance of a professional. 

For larger male clients who are apparently fit, the waist-to-height ratio is a much better metric to use due to the subject having more lean muscle mass and carrying more weight than what a BMI chart allows. 

Benefits of Using Food Logs

The next metric recommended for coaches to capture is the number of calories your client consumes daily with food logs. We can also contrast this information against a rough guideline provided to a client for intake (only if you feel comfortable and/or qualified to do so). This information can help the Coach to understand the general calorie range your client needs to be eating properly, to get their BMI or body weight (BW) within a normal healthy range. To accomplish this, we will need to get our client’s % body fat (BF) assessed. Once we know their percentage of fat, we deduct their fat (in pounds) from their total weight and the result is their fat-free mass (also known as lean mass or lean body mass). We then multiply this number by 12 to get a baseline amount and fine-tune intake guidelines based on how active the client is. 

Example: your client is 220 lbs. Their percent body fat is 20%. 

200X .20 = 40 pounds of fat mass 

200lbs – 40lbs (fat) = 160. This is our client’s lean body mass. We then multiply this total by 12 to get their basal metabolic rate (BMR). 

160 X 12 = 1920 calories. This client’s BMR is 1920 but this is only a baseline reading. Any activity done (exercise, strenuous work) will make this intake recommendation increase. What is great about providing this nutrition data to clients is it is rooted in science and is clear to describe and quantify. 

To help clients strategize eating to lose one to two pounds per week (a very healthy way to release weight from the body), we want to really understand what the incoming and outgoing caloric expenditures are for the client. The more accurate the information we have is, the better results we will be able to provide for them. It is good to be conservative with your clients when providing caloric calculations. 

There are many other ways to assess and measure change and outcomes.  Yet, the above information are common, important and readily available methods you can implement with all types of coaching and training niches.

Where Can You Learn More?

Be on the lookout for future articles about more ways to get an endless stream of clients for your training or coaching business. You will also want to search through the archives of our blog because there are many other articles that go into great depth about dozens of other ways to get clients.

There is always something exciting about earning a new training or coaching certification and applying that new knowledge of how you train your clients. This also helps you hit the reset button.

NESTA and Spencer Institute has been helping people like you since 1992. To date, over 65,000 people from around the world have benefited from our various certifications, programs, continuing education courses and business development systems. We are here for you now and in the future. Feel confident in your decision to work with us as you advance your knowledge and career. We are here for you each step of the way.

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