During the last couple of years, wellness coaching, or health coaching, has become a growing field. With perks like being self-employed and having flexible hours and the overall goal of helping people set and achieve health, nutrition and fitness goals, it’s easy to see why.
But what exactly is a wellness coach? And how do you even become one?
What is wellness coaching?
Wellness coaching involves offering personalized attention to clients looking to discover and achieve health and wellness goals and developing lifetime healthy habits. It deals with issues relating for and about the body, as well as people’s overall health and general wellbeing.
Fitness, nutrition, weight and stress management are the four main areas of wellness coaching, but wellness coaches can also help with other health-related issues. A health coach can choose what area(s) he or she wishes to focus on, but all coaches have the same goal of helping people make lifelong healthy lifestyle changes, rather than just quick fixes.
Wellness coaches can also be nutritionists, personal trainers or even therapists, but not every nutritionist, personal trainer or a therapist is a wellness coach. The methods between each varies. For example, while a nutrition coach will give someone a set diet to follow, a wellness coach will ask their client about their health and nutrition goals and then help them set and achieve their specific goals. Rather than doing all the talking and telling someone what to do, wellness coaching focuses on listening and understanding how each client defines wellness and then working with them to develop goals and lifestyle changes to achieve their definition of mental and physical wellness.
How do you become a wellness coach?
Unlike some job titles, there aren’t currently any laws that require specific training in order to call yourself a wellness coach. But, it’s a good idea to have the right qualifications and take the following steps to become a health coach, especially if you want to become a certified coach or enter the corporate environment.
In terms of qualifications, a wellness coach should:
- Be interested in health and wellness
- Possess overall good health
- Have good listening, verbal and written communication skills
- Be self-motivated
- Have enough time to devote to clients (which might mean nights and weekends).
It’s also typically preferred that someone has a bachelor’s degree in the field of health science, nutrition, exercise, psychology or counseling and that they go through a wellness coaching certification program.
Once these qualifications are met, here the three basic steps you should take to become a wellness coach:
Step 1: Go through a certified training program. This program will gives you the needed fundamentals of health and wellness coaching and help you better learn the right coaching communication keys and how to support people in finding their own answers. There are various education and training programs you can take, even online training programs. Different programs have different emphasis, so make sure to choose the one that best fits what you’re wanting to learn and focus on.
Step 2: Decide where you want to work. You can either work on your own, where you have your wellness coaching business and have to market yourself to find clients, or you can enter the corporate world, where you work for a business that needs a wellness coach to run their wellness program.
Step 3: Receive continual education. After you become certified, don’t stop learning. Attend workshops or classes or watch webinars to keep up-to-date on the latest research, trends and information in related fields and to keep your certification current.
Still not sure if you’re ready to become a certified wellness coach? Take our quiz and find out!