Health coaching is a novel population intervention to support self-management but it is untested in people with mild disease. People with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with mild dyspnea are a population excluded from supported self-management and whose illness might progress without intervention. We explored participants’ experiences about how health coaching motivated behavior change. Interviews were conducted with 21 intervention and 10 control participants at 6 months, and 20 intervention participants at 12 months. Participants were identified from a randomized controlled trial of telephone health coaching. Data were analyzed using the framework method. Participants positively enacted behavior change to become more physically active. Participants took advantage of environmental affordances to pull themselves toward activity targets, or relied on being pushed to be more active by the health coach or significant others. Behavior change was maintained where efforts to be more active were built into the everyday lifeworld of participants.