Motivational Interviewing for Coaches & Health Professionals

A key role of any coach and health professional is to help client’s identify clear and achievable goals for lifestyle change. However, good intentions are often difficult to sustain; for example, around half of New Year’s resolutions are abandoned by the end of January each year. We therefore need to help our clients deepen their determination and work through sources of resistance. Motivational Interviewing (MI), an evidence-based approach widely used in health psychology, helps us do this.


The aims of this short course are:

  • To introduce MI as way of helping clients become clearer about what they really want, work through mixed feelings and harness their deeper intrinsic motivations for change.
  • To introduce psychological models for understanding resistance to change, so that you can more easily work with, and through, this.
  • To describe, model and teach Motivational Interviewing strategies you can use in your consultations.

The course take place part-time over 6 weeks and include a weekly teleseminar lasting ninety minutes and access to further audio/webinar resources online (total of at least 9 hours CPD each).

The next course commences

Tuesday 25th September 2012 19.30 to 21.00 GMT

All of the subsequent teleclasses are held on Tuesdays at the same time.

The investment for this course is £250 or £230 if paid before the 11th September 2012 

These are the learning objectives

Part 1: Introduction to Motivational Interviewing.

Upon completing this part it is expected that you will be able to:

  • Describe what motivational interviewing is and outline its core principles
  • Recognise how our conversations with clients can influence both their resistance to, and enthusiasm for, health-related behaviour change
  • Provide a succinct overview of the evidence-base for Motivational Interviewing and describe how this has helped MI become one of the most widely used approaches in health psychology
  • Explain how the Stages of Change model can be used as a map that helps us understand the process of change, and the places where change may become blocked
  • Describe the relationship between change talk and health-related habit change, as well as provide a brief overview of research linking these
  • Describe what readiness to change is and outline a range of factors that influence it

Part 2: Expressing Empathy

Upon completing this part it is expected that you will be able to: 

  • Describe what empathy is and explain how expressing empathy helps build rapport with clients
  • Provide a succinct overview of research linking empathic consulting styles with positive client outcomes
  • Demonstrate specific coaching micro-skills that help build empathy and express our empathic understanding, including the use of reflection, summarising, double-sided reflections and the use of evocative questions.
  • Outline a range of methods for assessing a client’s readiness to change, including the use of open sentences, scaling questions, decision balance sheets, a menu of options and the readiness ruler

Part 3: Developing Discrepancy

Upon completing this part it is expected that you will be able to:

  • Describe how motivation for change arises from discrepancy, which is the uncomfortable awareness of a mismatch between actions and values
  • Support your clients to challenge themselves by drawing out the discrepancies that motivate them to change
  • Demonstrate specific coaching micro-skills that help your clients find and express their deep intrinsic motivations for change (i.e. ‘the want behind the should’). These micro-skills include the ability to elicit self-motivational statements, expression of advanced accurate empathy, paradoxical reflections and expanded temporal framing
  • Hold the balance between safety and challenge, so that clients feel supported to explore their concerns about their own health-threatening behaviours without feeling judged or shamed

Part 4: Rolling with Resistance

Upon completing this part it is expected that you will be able to: 

  • Describe how MI can strengthen a coach’s capacity to work with client resistance and help protect them from falling out with, and losing, clients.
  • Explain how resistance can be used as a signal that helps us attune to our clients, rather than seen as an obstacle to be pushed through.
  • Demonstrate the ability to ‘roll with resistance’ in response to conflict with clients, through use of advanced empathy and avoiding argumentation
  • Outline a range of common sources of resistance to health coaching and lifestyle change, explaining how apparent lack of motivation can be understood both in terms of conflicting motivations and low confidence that change is possible.

Part 5: Building Confidence for Change

Upon completing this part it is expected that you will be able to:

  • Describe how readiness to change is based on both the desire for something to be different and the client’s confidence that they can make such a change
  • Distinguish between the first phase of MI, which is about strengthening commitment for change, and the second stage, which is about building confidence
  • Demonstrate coaching micro-skills that help clients strengthen their self-efficacy

Part 6: Applying Motivational Interviewing in Coaching Consultations

Upon completing this part it is expected that you will be able to: 

  • Distinguish between the spirit, the principles and the techniques of MI
  • Demonstrate how the practice of MI can help clients find their enthusiasm and confidence for health-promoting lifestyle change even these initially appear to be lost
  • Describe common pitfalls of practice, and demonstrate ways of preventing these

For more information click here

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