How to Build Trust with Your Wellness Coaching Clients


Have you ever wondered how to build trust with new clients? If you’re a coach or other wellness practitioner who helps clients, then you know that trust is essential to a successful and productive relationship with your clients. Most people believe trust builds over time, but is there more to building trust than just putting in the time?

Of course there is. If you want to know how to build trust with a client, think about the people you trust in your life. Why do you trust them? In most cases, the people you trust most have made you feel safe opening up and being vulnerable.

Most Wellness Professionals would agree that in order for their clients to make positive changes in their lives, clients need to open up about their challenges, fears, goals and successes. The sooner a client feels safe revealing these things, the sooner they will see results. How do you help your clients learn to trust you to make a big breakthrough together?

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How to Build Trust and Create Change with Your Clients

Before a coach or practitioner can find ways to help a client change patterns in their life, the coach needs to build a helping and caring relationship with their client. Clients need to know that their coach cares about them and their successes and has taken the time and effort to truly understand them.

Keep in mind that you may be the first person the client has met in a long time that truly listens to them without complaint and prejudice, and who can be trusted completely. Clients need to be able to trust that they won’t be judged for sharing their problems, or the factors that contribute to those challenges. The coach then needs to build trusting rapport. Once trust is built, your client is likely to feel more comfortable opening up about themselves.

Students of the IAWP’s Wellness Coach Certification program go through extensive training to learn how to build rapport in the early stages of a coach-and-client relationship. As a result, our coaches really know how to build trust with clients. Our students learn specific skills and tools to support their clients through the process of creating change for a more balanced life.

At the IAWP, we teach our students our proprietary coaching method called The Core Coaching Method (CCM). Through CCM, Wellness Coach Certification students practice these skills with their peer coach, in live coaching labs with the support of a Master Coach and even in their own personal lives. Because students have ample opportunities to practice their skills in a safe and supportive environment, by the time they graduate, they are super-skilled in how to support people well. IAWP’s training is specifically designed to help our students be very successful in coaching their clients.

Six Steps to Trust-Building in Every Wellness Coaching Session

Let’s take a look at just 6 of the trust-building techniques we teach here at the IAWP that allow you to begin improving your coaching skills now. Learning how to build trust with wellness coaching clients is an essential part of any Wellness Profession, and these 6 steps can help you build trust faster. Aspiring Wellness Coaches can practice these tips with family members and friends, or if you’re already a practicing Coach, you can use them with your current clients!

1. Create a Safe Space

Encourage your client to talk about themselves and let them share what they feel in a judge-free zone. Your clients must feel safe to tell you about failures and challenges, This allows that changes can be made to enable them to be successful. Make sure your client knows that all information shared is kept confidential.

2. Be a Guide rather than an Expert

Avoid being the “know-it-all” and allow your client to discover what works for them. Being a guide means holding clients’ hands through their journey, rather than forcing them to do things a certain way. Share information in a way that allows the client to learn new thought patterns while keeping the information at the clients’ level. Each client will be different, and you will need to know how to balance information to keep it from being either too elementary or over the client’s head.

3. Listen and Ask

Be more than just a good listener. Learn, through training, how to perceive and understand all aspects of communication. Improve your active listening skills during coaching sessions. If you find that you are generally a talkative person, practice focusing on your breath while your client shares. If the client has trouble sharing, ask questions to get them talking rather than chattering on to fill the gap.

4. Remember, It’s Their Time

It is important for you, as the coach, to help your client express their feelings without delving into your own personal feelings. This is not a time for you to get into your own individual dilemmas. While sharing personal stories can be helpful, divulging your personal problems should be saved for other relationships outside of coaching.

5. Learn Advanced Trust Building

Building trust with your wellness coaching clients isn’t just about what you say. Words are important, but non-verbal cues also help to build rapport. Posture, gestures, and listening all play a role in how your client experiences you as their coach. At the IAWP, we teach our students advanced trust-building techniques because we know it makes the difference between an average coach and an excellent one. You can start practicing one of these techniques, Mirroring, now….

6. Practice the Art of Mirroring

Mirroring is the process of subtly mimicking behavior during communication. People often use mirroring without even realizing it. It’s human nature to mimic each other’s speech or physical behaviors. We often mirror one another in our most intimate relationships because it makes us feel connected. Over time, groups of people begin to mirror one another without realizing it through speech and movement. Even though it’s a natural behavior, learning to develop your mirroring skills can be very valuable for building rapport with your clients. A few examples of mirroring include:

  • Standing or sitting the way your client is standing or sitting.
  • Folding your hands if your client’s hands are folded
  • Increasing/decreasing the speed of your speech
  • Repeating a phrase back to your client
  • Using the same words your client uses to describe things

Learning how to build trust with a client is essential to a successful experience for each of your clients. If you know how to build trust with clients quickly, your clients will make greater progress sooner. Take the time to practice your rapport and trust-building skills, and you’ll see the results in your relationships with your clients.

Now that you’ve learned 6 trust-building tips you can implement, either with your current clients or as an aspiring coach in your own relationships, we’d love to hear from you! What tips will you try out?

Love, Health, and Success,
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Suzanne Monroe is the Founder of The International Association of Wellness Professionals and Director of the IAWP’s Wellness Coach Certification & Training Program.

The IAWP is committed to supporting Wellness Coaches to create success and share the message of wellness across the globe.

If you’re passionate about holistic health and wellness, inspiring others to be healthy and creating a career you love, then learn more by downloading our gift to you – The Wellness Coach Career Kit. 

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About the Author

Suzanne Monroe

Suzanne Monroe is the author of Live Well Dream Big: The Ultimate Guide to Becoming Your Best Self and Living Life on Your Own Terms. She has also written and published The Holistic Cookbook & Lifestyle Guide: 12 Weeks to a Healthier, Happier You, the co-author of 101 Ways to Improve Your Health and the host of the Live Well Dream Big Podcast. Suzanne was inspired to create the IAWP Wellness Coach Training & Certification Program in collaboration with other leading health experts in order to inspire people to create meaningful careers and spread the message of wellness.

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