Motivational Coach: How to Help People Realize Their Dreams

What’s your legacy? How will you measure your life’s worth when you get to the end? Everyone is different but for some, it’s about motivating the younger generation on to greater things. What if you could motivate even more people? Becoming a motivational coach can move people from surviving in automatic mode to truly living their best life.

Everyone is searching for ways to make their lives easier and more meaningful. With life being so full of problems, it’s normal for people to feel demotivated at times. When procrastination and the feeling of being lost become too constant, a motivational coach can provide huge value.

In this article, we’ll review how a motivational coach guides people to rediscover their inner motivation and align themselves with their values. Through this process, people can more skilfully navigate life’s constant battles.

Keep reading to see if you have the motivation to support others in their quests with the examples, exercises and theories we’ll describe.

As a future coach, you might also want to sign up for the free, full-access, one-month $1-only trial and view the details of the exercises as we go through them. You’ll also see just how vast Quenza’s library is. The exercises can be hugely valuable when looking for ways to open up your clients’ perspectives and ways of being.

The Ins and Outs of Being a Motivational Coach

First, what is a motivational coach? At first glance, it’s someone who guides others to reconnect with their intrinsic motivation to achieve a goal. In other words, it isn’t about inspiring through external factors but about leveraging the internal drivers. We all have internal drivers but some people lose connection with them and misalign them with their values. 

At a deeper level, motivational coaches energize their clients’ behaviors towards a desired state or outcome. In short, they give people the drive to reach their dreams.

You might have read that motivational coaching is about setting SMART goals. Whilst that’s true, there’s a lot more that motivational coaches cover. As a 2012 paper on goal-focused coaching summarizes, goal theory is far more complex than a simple linear SMART or GROW framework, also often mentioned [1].

Instead, the top motivational coaches have to learn about what really motivates people, including goal theory before they can use SMART or GROW effectively. As the paper continues to describe, goal setting needs to include the knowledge of how self-regulation works. So, a motivational coach will dive deep into readiness for change, resilience, ability to focus and a client’s locus of causality [1]

Another way of thinking about this is that a motivational coach is responsible for guiding clients to align their dreams with whatever their inner beliefs, thoughts and feelings are telling them. Throughout the journey, those coaches will also encourage, check-in and help clients adapt their action plans based on feedback and circumstances.

It’s worth noting that while a motivational coach might also inspire their clients as a side bonus, that is not their aim, which is perhaps different to other coaches. A motivational coach’s key focus is to bring out what’s within and not use external factors, including themselves, to motivate or inspire.

The Magic Ingredient Behind What Motivational Coaches Do

So, what do motivational coaches do? Yes, they connect clients to their inner drivers but there are some day-to-day techniques and strategies that they use to do this.

The first step is understanding what the client needs and how their personal style impacts their day-to-day life. Over the years, we all build up habits, including procrastination. Although, that habit is often closely linked to self-esteem because, very simply put, people don’t want to face the risk that they might not be good at something.

As such, a motivational coach guides their clients to explore their beliefs. Alongside this is the question of how values all fit into this. For example, a client might think they want to become CEO but deep down, they value creativity that would be better suited to a more artistic career. That doesn’t mean they can’t be CEO but it’s important to ensure that values are aligned and embodied.

The Top 5 Values

A self-reflective and proactive exercise from Quenza’s vast library to connect clients with their values. It isn’t just about knowing what those values are but also how they relate to the client on an emotional level.

A motivational coach will also guide their clients to explore how their needs for choice, purpose, competence and progress uniquely combine to drive their behaviors. From there, it’s easier to determine a goal and some realistic action plans.

It’s also beneficial for a motivational coach to understand some core elements of how the brain works. Most people now know about dopamine which is a powerful reward hormone. To help their clients boost their motivation, coaches can guide them to implement some dopamine-enhancing tricks.

For example, ticking things off a list and keeping to micro-tasks are both great ways to boost dopamine levels naturally. As part of that, a motivational coach will also enable a client to raise their awareness around their energy levels. There’s no point in writing that complex report straight after lunch for some clients if all their mind wants and needs is a siesta.

Realizing Long-Lasting Change by Setting Process Goals

This Quenza exercise gives a solid framework for defining goals and how a client wants to approach them. So, will they choose micro-tasks or are they more ready for drastic change?

Finally, what’s the magic ingredient? As with any guiding role, it’s the rapport and interpersonal skills that a coach offers their clients. Moreover, a motivational coach has deep knowledge of all the intricate levels of beliefs, desires and values that make up a person.

Where coaches can really make a difference in triggering that intrinsic motivation is by approaching their clients holistically. Everyone operates in a system and it isn’t just what’s going on internally that matters but also how the environment, lifestyle and past history make an impact [2].

Furthermore, motivational coaches might find themselves referring their clients to a lifestyle coach or even overlapping on lifestyle work themselves. Essentially, a lifestyle coach can add another dimension, especially in light of recent studies showing that the glutamine-to-glutamate ratios impact the ability to keep going with tasks, or stamina. Nutrition plays a major role in getting those ratios right as does sleep and exercise for motivation in general. Lifestyle coaches know all about nutrition and healthy living [3].

Becoming a Motivational Coach and Making a Difference

How to become a motivational coach starts with your own motivation. That might sound obvious but what is a motivational coach if not someone who embodies motivation?

The first question you can ask yourself is how do your values align with becoming a motivational coach? Coaching doesn’t always run smoothly and clients get stuck. The more you connect becoming a motivational coach to your overall life purpose, the easier it will be to keep going.

You also need to be a great empathic listener and able to flex with your clients’ changing needs. Let’s also not forget that you need self-determination to stay organized with paperwork and marketing yourself. Platforms like Quenza can make a huge difference in taking away some of the back-office pain. You’ll have somewhere secure to keep all your client agreement forms and other documentation all coaches need in their toolbox of forms.


A great way to test your motivations is with this Quenza exercise. It will allow you to dig into whether being a motivational coach is how you want to be remembered after you’ve left this world.

Once you have the foundations in place for yourself, you can review the education and training you need. A good starting point is reviewing the accredited courses listed with the ICF or other life coaching organizations.

With these courses, you’ll learn the basics and gain credibility instantly. Although, as there isn’t a set course for a motivational coach to follow, it’s really up to each individual. As mentioned, you can have a greater impact by learning more deeply about goal theory. On top of that, it’s worth learning about how the mind works or how people develop, and therefore how this impacts motivation.

For example, another model by psychologist James Prochaska’s theoretical model of health behavior change [4] allows coaches to better see their clients’ readiness for change. The polarity management model is also valuable for those who are stuck [5].

There are many more models for a motivational coach to choose from and therein lies the secret. Being able to amalgamate all those theories to find the right questions for clients to uncover their life maps and discover their true motivations and hence, their success [5].

Best Softwares for Motivational Coaches

The digital world can be a formidable ally for any motivational coach. On the one hand, various apps and platforms can make scheduling, tracking progress and billings seamless. On the other hand, it provides a greater level of engagement with clients thanks to the various chat rooms and instant messaging available.

We’ve picked out some of the best softwares for motivational coaches for you as detailed in the table below:




 Client management, scheduling, billing schedules, custom branding and automatic follow-ups. Also includes a client-facing dashboard with session notes and check-in questionnaires. 
Free trial and then starts at $9/month for 3 clients with various other packages available.
Client management and goal tracking. Also includes a chat service along with cards. These cards can be used as visual and interactive check-ins with clients and they can also be put into a sequence. 
Free trial for up to 5 clients and then $60/month for 50 clients and other packages also available.
Both for coaches and coachees. Coachees can choose from various coaches who they want to work with. Includes a habit tracking app as well as resources, tools and training for coaches who want marketing support.
The app is free and then there are monthly subscription fees for more advanced features.
Scheduling and general back-office support as well as automated follow-ups and self-paced courses on offer. 
Free trial for 30 days followed by various packages starting at $20/month and going up to $400/month.
Manage schedules, track client progress and organize documents securely. Write and store notes, chat on the message board and work with individual client portals. Also supports working with groups. Most uniquely, Quenza offers a large library with hundreds of exercises and activities already pre-made but that can be easily tailored. Coaches can also use these to create specific journeys for clients.
1 month free trial with full access followed by various packages starting at $27/month.

Goal-setting or Managing Unconscious Goals?

People often ask “how does motivational coaching work’? As we’ve explained, there are various theories for coaches to apply. Although, the main focus is to help clients find the inner drive to achieve their goals. In many ways, that means also uncovering their unconscious goals.

For instance, when we procrastinate, it isn’t because we’re lazy. Either we have picked up habits from when we were younger that gave us some unhelpful beliefs such as “I’m not good enough” or we’re simply misaligned with what we really want to do.

In the first instance, people get stuck in over-focusing on negative feelings. To help those clients, a motivational coach might guide them to set intentions and reframe their beliefs. In the second instance, a motivational coach might start with the wheel of needs so that clients can systematically analyze their priorities [6].

Wheel of Needs

This Quenza exercise takes the well-known Wheel of Life exercise and applies it to needs. People often struggle to articulate needs so this is a great framework to dig into what clients really need and want. 

Once needs, desires and goals are in place, a motivational coach collaborates with their clients to keep working towards what they desire. This can involve check-ins, feedback, progress reviews and even tweaking the action plan.

Of course, they also empower their clients and even stretch them to provide further motivation. There are many ways for coaches to guide clients to see new possibilities and options. Most importantly, a motivational coach supports clients through roadblocks by constantly nurturing their self-awareness, self-efficacy and resilience [1].

In summary, what do motivational coaches do? They enable clients to see their dreams become reality. They allow those clients to find their own ways of boosting their effectiveness in life.

The Benefits of Motivational Coaching for All Communities

Knowing how to become a motivational coach also involves finding your ideal client. Some coaches target executives while others work with athletes. Although, a sports motivational coach has a slightly different angle to their approach. They still guide clients to find their inner motivation but they are usually more directive than traditional coaches.

Often, sports coaches are experts in the sport they focus on, having played it previously themselves. That makes them qualified to give advice whereas coaches don’t normally do that. The main goal for coaches is to empower clients to discover their own solutions.

Besides sports and work situations, demotivation also hits us hard when we face life transitions. These can be anything such as aging into the next decade or dealing with redundancy and divorce. All those events usually force people to question their beliefs and reevaluate who they are. Simply getting out of bed can become a challenge.

This is where the lines between who needs a motivational coach and who needs a therapist can get blurred. In many cases, mental health issues block people from connecting with their inner drivers. Nevertheless, a motivational coach can refer them to the right therapist or counselor.

Other groups of people who can benefit from working with a motivational coach are employees and leaders. It’s easy to fall into a career path determined by societal or family pressures. As people get older, they don’t understand why their motivation levels drop. The energy from their youth is no longer enough to sustain them.

Motivational Analysis

This is another Quenza exercise that steers clients to examine how much their activities and goals agree with their values. A motivational coach can easily apply this to the work context. As such, clients can see the gap between who they are and what they do for work. 

Motivational Coaching Exercises to Connect with Your Clients

When reviewing the question, “How does motivational coaching work?”, understanding the mind can tell us so much. For example, visualizing doing something has been shown by neuroscientists to be similar to actually doing the action. This has supported countless athletes, pianists and others to perfect their craft. They can literally practice at any time.

Goal Visualization

Goal visualization is one of the many motivational coaching exercises in Quenza’s library. After hearing the recording, clients can work through a set of self-reflective questions to enable them to move closer to their goals.

Journaling is another beneficial exercise and is often quoted as the most influential in enabling change. Through self-reflection, clients can challenge their beliefs and gradually start forming new neural pathways.

We’ve already talked about boosting dopamine levels and the habit of procrastination. Sometimes, clients need to gain awareness about those unhealthy habits that block them. 

Journaling is a powerful tool but so is mindfulness. The added benefit of mindfulness and journaling is that they both enhance awareness and processing of the negative emotions that often stop people from moving forwards.

Gratitude Letter

This journaling exercise from Quenza’s library encourages clients to focus on what they receive from others. This can enable them to connect more deeply with their support network which, in turn, boosts their resilience. We all need resilience to keep our motivation going.

The Sushi Train: Mindful Creation of Positive Thoughts

You could then integrate this Quenza exercise into a pathway, or sequence, to complement the Gratitude Letter exercise. Now that clients have connected with their positive traits, they can learn to mindfully observe their thoughts. In ACT style, they learn how involved they are with their thoughts and then, how to create distance. Eventually, they will reach their goals and dreams despite their inner critic. 

Is Becoming a Motivational Coach Your Desired Outcome?  

A motivational coach does so much more than provide a framework for setting and achieving goals. They collaborate with their clients to uncover the inner beliefs, thoughts, values and emotions that create each of their motivation levels. Moreover, these coaches take into account adult developmental theories to ensure each client is challenged at the right pace and level.

In terms of who needs a motivational coach, everyone does at some point in their life. More specifically, every individual both in a personal and work context can benefit but especially when going through major life changes that are too overwhelming.

To build such positivity and resilience in clients, a motivational coach needs a software toolkit. Whether you need back-office support or inspiration for exercises and activities, Quenza has you covered.

See for yourself just how large the library of exercises really is by signing up for the free, full-access, one-month $1-only trial. This might just trigger that intrinsic motivation you need to make the leap into this enriching career.

So, get started with your accredited coaching course and let your legacy simply write itself.


  1. ^ Grant, A. M. (2012). An integrated model of goal-focused coaching: An evidence-based framework for teaching and practice. International Coaching Psychology Review, 7(2), 146-165. Retrieved from:
  2. ^ Balsam, P. D., & Simpson, E. H. (2016). The Behavioral Neuroscience of Motivation: An Overview of Concepts, Measures, and Translational Applications. Current Topics in Behavioral Neuroscience, 27, 1–12. doi: 10.1007/7854_2015_402.
  3. ^ Papageorgiou, N. (2020). The Neuroscience of Getting and Staying Motivated. Neuroscience News. Retrieved from:
  4. ^ Prochaska, J. O., & Velicer, W. F. (1997). The Transtheoretical Model of Health Behavior Change. American Journal of Health Promotion, 12(1).
  5. ^ Johnson, B. (1996). Polarity Management: Identifying and Managing Unsolvable Problems. (2nd ed.). HRD Press Inc.
  6. ^ Pychyl, T. A. (2013). Solving the Procrastination Puzzle: A Concise Guide to Strategies for Change. Penguin Group.

About the author

Anne is a coach-counselor with a background in neuroscience, mindfulness, Gestalt therapy, and adult developmental theory.

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