The purpose of this study was to examine whether counselor adherence to Motivational Interviewing (MI) principles was associated with more productive within-session client behavior in a smoking cessation trial for African American smokers. For these analyses 89 baseline counseling sessions of the trial were audiotaped and coded using the Motivational Interviewing Skill Code (MISC). Counselor adherence indicators included a global subjective rating of MI adherence and the frequency of MI-consistent and MI-inconsistent counselor behaviors described in the MISC. Indicators of productive client behaviors included global subjective ratings of within-session client functioning and counselor-client interaction, as well as the frequency of statements by the client favorable toward changing behavior (“change talk”) and resistant regarding changing behavior (“resist-change talk”). Results provided support for the principles of MI. Counselor adherence indexed by both the global subjective rating and MI-consistent behavior frequency was significantly positively associated with global ratings of within-session client functioning and counselor-client interaction, as well as more change talk.