Designed for health coaches, exercise professionals, and healthcare professionals, this interactive course provides the core coaching competencies and communication techniques you need to practice and refine your behavior change coaching skills for the most effective results.

Put your behavior change coaching skills into practice

Strengthen your skills and
build confidence

Build on your base understanding of behavior change coaching and benefit from invaluable feedback from ACE Master Coaches who have a passion for teaching and the ability to make complex topics easier to understand.

Engage in a virtual
environment and get
real-time feedback

Comprehend the material quickly with a blend of self-study and live online learning, where you will practice your coaching skills with other participants in a live virtual setting through role play exercises and get immediate feedback from ACE Master Coaches.

Empower clients to achieve
and maintain their goals

Become a more effective coach with the ability to create the right space that encourages clients and patients to make lasting changes in their health and overall quality of life. With this advantage, you can serve more people, increase your value and build your business.

Live Virtual Classes

How live virtual
classes work

The live virtual class portion of this course brings the learning experience to life from wherever you are, as you work alongside your peers to put the skills you learn into practice. An ACE Master Coach will lead the video-based classes and provide real-time feedback. Peer work will be done in large groups with opportunities to share learnings and critiques as well as in smaller breakout groups for closer collaboration and application.

Each week, you will watch videos and complete activities on your own in preparation for the live virtual classes via video conferencing. Please note that while mobile devices can be used, we recommend joining live virtual classes with a PC, laptop, or tablet for the best experience.

Deepen your understanding of client-centered care

This course focuses on the fundamentals of behavior change, core components of coaching, motivational interviewing and supporting an effective behavior change environment. With live virtual classes and access to ACE Master Coaches, you will leave with a network of like-minded professionals, deeper insights in behavior change coaching and effective strategies to set your clients and patients up for success.

Created by Rachele Pojednic, Ph.D, Ed.M., Assistant Professor of Nutrition at Simmons College and co-chair of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Exercise Is Medicine® education committee, you will go behind the philosophy of behavior change models so you can elicit more effective change. Dr. Pojednic is also a staff Scientist at BIDMC, Harvard Medical School and Interim Executive Director for the Prescription for Activity Task Force.

Upon completion, you will be able to:

  • Identify core coaching competencies required for effective behavior change coaching

  • Exemplify how motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioral coaching, strengths-based coaching and goal setting can be used to create an effective behavior change environment

  • Apply effective communication skills and learning principles to encourage a client-centered approach that empowers clients on their change journeys

  • Recognize several models of behavior change, including the transtheoretical model of behavior change, health belief model, social cognitive theory, self-determination theory and goal-setting theory

How do I complete this course?

You must complete all modules, which include 23 videos, weekly live virtual classes and activities, and six quizzes. The course meets twice a week for 5 weeks, for a total of 10 online classes. You must attend at least 7 of the 10 classes and earn 70% or higher on all six quizzes to meet the course completion criteria.

Upon completion, you will be approved for:

  • 2.0 CECs by American Council on Exercise
  • 20.0 CECs by ACSM - American College Of Sports Medicine
  • 2.0 CEUs in General Category by AAMA - American Association of Medical Assistants
  • 20.0 CECs by NETA - National Exercise Trainers Association
  • 1.9 CEUs by NASM - National Academy Of Sports Medicine
  • 15.0 CEUs by AFAA-Aerobics and Fitness Association of America
  • 7.0 CEUs by NCSF - National Council on Strength & Fitness
  • 20.0 CEUs by National Strength and Conditioning Association


Get an overview of what behavior change coaching is and what personal qualities are required to be an effective coach.

  • Personal Mission Statement
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Qualities of a coach
  • Quiz

Discuss the core components of coaching, including effective strategies for establishing rapport, verbal and non-verbal communication, and barriers and facilitators coaching behavior change.

  • Effective strategies for establishing and maintaining a productive client-coach relationship
  • Verbal and non-verbal communication
  • Barriers and facilitators of health behavior change
  • Active listening
  • Developing reflections
  • Quiz

Apply the lessons learned from Modules 1 and 2 to a role play exercise between participants. (Virtual classroom component only.)

We introduce the models and theories of behavior change and teach you how to identify readiness to change and self-efficacy in your clients. You will also learn the ACE Mover Method.

  • Health Belief Model, Social Cognitive Theory, Self-perception Theory, Self-determination Theory
  • ACE Mover Method/ABC Approach
  • Ecological perspective
  • Assessing readiness to change
  • How to help clients improve self-efficacy
  • Quiz

Examine positive psychology and strengths-based coaching as the basis for behavior change.

  • Coaching with positive psychology
  • Strengths-based coaching
  • Positive interactions
  • Using gratitude to cultivate happiness
  • Flow-guided meditation
  • Quiz

Apply the lessons learned from Modules 1-4, specifically focused on new skills learned, to a role play exercise between participants. (Virtual classroom component only).

You will learn the spirit of Motivational Interviewing and the four processes. Then, you will practice MI with partners with the opportunity to observe correct and incorrect utilization of MI skills.

  • Core skills of Motivational Interviewing
  • The four processes of motivational interviewing
  • Stages of change and practice readiness to change ruler
  • OARS practice
  • Quiz

Learn the initial steps and skills behavior change coaches will need to have in place in order to establish a coaching practice, specifically addressing the first session, the coaching agreement, and assessments.

  • Setting a foundation for collaboration
  • Avoid traps during engagement
  • Client assessment, types of assessment, importance of assessment and health insurance
  • Documentation and communication
  • Logistical considerations for coaching an initial session
  • Agenda mapping
  • Quiz

Apply the lessons learned from Modules 1-6, specifically focused on new skills, to a role play exercise between participants. (Virtual classroom component only).

Want to dive even deeper?

We recommend pairing this course with Behavior Change Coaching Mentorship: Advanced Applications for the ultimate behavior change learning experience.

Learn More