For experienced health coaches, exercise professionals, and healthcare professionals ready to level up, this interactive course builds the advanced coaching skills you need to create an effective behavior change environment that aligns with your client's values and vision, and helps them overcome obstacles and negative thought patterns.

Master behavior change coaching

Hone your skills and
become a stronger leader

Build on top of your current knowledge and master invaluable, in-demand skills by training with ACE Master Coaches who have a passion for teaching and the ability to make complex topics immediately applicable to fitness, health coaching and clinical environments.

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.

Take your coaching sessions even further

This course focuses on advanced motivational interviewing and behavior change skills, creating and fostering an inclusive environment and self-care practices. 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 long-term 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 beyond the science and navigate the art of effective behavior change coaching. 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:

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

  • Align clients' values and vision with their motivation for behavior change

  • Evaluate and adapt behavior change plans to create sustainable change

  • Identify how to create and foster an inclusive environment and apply behavior change skills to a variety of settings

  • Identify self-care practices to support your well-being and avoid burnout

How do I complete this course?

You must complete all modules, which include 21 videos, weekly live virtual classes and activities, and six quizzes. The course meets twice a week for 4.5 weeks, for a total of 9 online classes. You must attend at least 7 of the 9 classes and earn 70% or higher on all six quizzes to meet the course completion criteria.

Upon completion, you will be approved for:

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


We introduce you to more advanced skills of coaching, specifically focusing on evoking motivation and responding to change talk. We also explore client values and how to establish vision for the future.

  • The art and dynamic nature of coaching
  • ACE Mover Method
  • Designing a behavior change plan
  • Goal-setting theory
  • Process of motivational interviewing
  • Exploring values and vision
  • Quiz

An advanced session on motivational interviewing that introduces recognizing and responding to DARN CATs. We also explore best practices in providing information and advice using elicit-provide-elicit.

  • Motivation to change
  • Sustain vs change talk
  • DARN CATs and E-P-E
  • Best practices in providing information
  • Quiz

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

We introduce goal-setting theory, leveraging client strengths and establishing accountability. You will learn how to explore barriers and setbacks while helping clients shift perspective for sustained change.

  • Self-monitoring and stimulus control
  • Leveraging strengths
  • Establishing accountability
  • Overcoming barriers and setback
  • Motivational interviewing demonstration
  • Quiz

Delve into the skills of cognitive behavioral coaching as well as how to uncover and help clients work through negative thoughts.

  • Cognitive behavioral coaching
  • Countering negative thoughts
  • Uncovering unproductive thoughts
  • Quiz

Examine practice inclusion and equity while confronting personal bias as well as boundaries and confidentiality.

  • Current state of population health
  • Determinants of health
  • Cultural competence, confronting personal bias, boundaries and confidentiality
  • Interviewing a client
  • Quiz

Apply the lessons learned from Modules 1-5, specifically focused on new skills, to a role play exercise between participants. This is the culminating practice of both basic and advanced motivational interviewing skills (Virtual classroom component only).

Explore the types of coaching practices that participants can focus on, how to navigate advertising and marketing, and resources for future professional growth. We also examine coach self-care and introduce concepts to avoid coach burnout.

  • The role of coaching-emerging opportunities
  • Self-care for the coach
  • Terminating the coach agreement
  • Structuring a coaching practice
  • Medical office coaching
  • Advertising and marketing
  • Networking and joining professional organizations
  • Configuring virtual coaching
  • Quiz

Want the full experience?

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

Learn More