Health and wellness products and services make up a $3.7 trillion industry that continues to grow at an impressive rate. As a health coach, you can be part of the solution to this widespread problem.
Health coaches work with their clients to make improvements to the clients’ physical wellbeing and overall quality of life.
Through an initial assessment of the client’s lifestyle habits, the coach and the client choose target areas to focus on. And together they may come up with a step-by-step plan to achieve results agreed on. It’s up to the client to do the actual work required to carry it out. The coach is responsible for keeping them motivated and on-track. As well as for providing the knowledge required to make optimal choices.
Because health coaching involves working with the client’s unique physiology, it can be much less predictable than other coaching specialties. What works for you or for other people may not work for your client. If this happens, you need to be ready to change tactics. Balancing this kind of responsiveness with the commitment to diligence required to make some real change can be very challenging. In these cases, it’s up to the coach to draw the line. For example, if repeated attempts to get your client to cut down on their drinking have failed, they may need the services of an addiction specialist before you can do anything to help them.
As a coach, your role is not as concrete as that of a nutritionist or physical therapist and consequently, does not require the same amount of education. However, you should also be aware of the limitations that this will put on your ability to endorse certain kinds of advice or client goals. Health coaches should not try to try to do things like optimize a client’s vitamin intake or recommend herbal supplements and treatments, as these things could cause the client serious harm if done incorrectly. More general aspirations that the client expresses interest in first, however (such as eating more healthily or cutting down on cholesterol), are acceptable for a health coach to handle.
The many responsibilities of health coaching mean that coaches are strongly discouraged from practicing without appropriate credentials. Certifications from the Wellcoaches School of Coaching, which is associated with the American College of Sports Medicine and the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, are considered the industry gold standard, but others exist; anyone who wishes to practice as a health coach should acquire one.