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UK Coaching Participation Team
Inactive people Developing Mindsets We Are Undefeatable

Understanding Behaviour Change

Explains behavioural insights and what it might mean for coaches. Explores three behavioural insight frameworks, EAST, the Transtheoretical model and MINDSPACE

Often subtle changes to the way decisions are framed can have big impacts on how people respond to them. Behavioural insights is based on the premise that people are not always the rational, self-interested decision makers described in standard economics textbooks.

We know from our own lives that we often fail to do what's best for us, despite our best intentions – whether it be exercising more, saving money or eating healthily. We can use this understanding of how humans really behave in everyday life to help design and implement better policies and services..

Frameworks for coaches

UK Coaching are using the EAST model as a starting point when and working towards having it as a simple and easy to remember framework for coaches to use. There are other models that can help us develop our understanding of behaviour change and different strategies including Transtheoretcial model, and MINDSPACE.

EAST is a simple framework designed to encourage and influence people’s behaviour by making changes easy, attractive, social and timely.

Key points of each part of the EAST framework to consider what it means for coaches include:


  • Harness the power of default.
  • Reduce the hassle factor.
  • Simplify messages.


  • Attract attention.
  • Make it relevant and appealing.
  • Design incentives for maximum effect.


  • Show that most people do the behaviour.
  • Use the power of networks.
  • Encourage making a commitment to others.


  • Prompt at appropriate times.
  • Consider immediate costs and benefits.
  • Help people plan their actions and what they will do next.


The transtheoretical model (or Stages of Change) is a theory of behavioural change processes, rather than a single event of change.

It is helpful for coaches to understand where people are in their journey to becoming more active and that relapse of positive behaviours and intentions easily occur.

For more information you can read this summary.


Influencing behaviour through public policy is a checklist of nine influences on our behaviour, captured in a simple mnemonic. The resources has been developed by the think tank the Institute for Government.

  • Messenger- We are heavily influenced by who communicates information.
  • Incentives- Our responses to incentives are shaped by predictable mental shortcuts- such as strongly avoiding losses.
  • Norms- We are strongly influenced by what others do.
  • Defaults- We "go with the flow" of pre-set options.
  • Salience- Our attention is drawn to what is novel and seems relevant to us.
  • Priming- Our acts are often influenced by sub-conscious cues.
  • Affect- Our emotional associations can powerfully shape our actions.
  • Commitments- We seek to be consistent with our public promises, and reciprocate acts.
  • Ego- We act in ways that make us feel better about ourselves.


Duty to Care

Equip yourself with the knowledge and skills to provide great coaching experiences to others, and earn the nationally recognised Duty to Care 'Digital Badge'

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Related Resources

  • Strategies to Support Behaviour Change

  • An Introduction to Behaviour Change

  • Helping People Get Back into Sport


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UK Coaching Participation Team