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How to Become a Health and Wellness Coach: 3 Simple Steps

ISSA, International Sports Sciences Association, Certified Personal Trainer, ISSAonline, How to Become a Health and Wellness Coach: 3 Simple Steps

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Wellness professionals come in many shapes and forms. Personal trainers help clients boost their health with exercise. Nutritionists provide guidance for a healthy, balanced diet. A sports medicine professional helps athletes overcome injuries. Another option to consider is health and wellness coaching.

What a Health and Wellness Coach Does

Everyone has unique health needs. These needs may be because of a chronic disease or illness. Or they may be more emotional or lifestyle-related. A health and wellness coach helps identify the specific needs of each client, both physical and mental. This results in a more personalized health coaching program. 

Clients also have their own unique set of challenges. One person may struggle because they’ve been diagnosed with celiac disease. Therefore, they must follow a gluten-free diet. Yet, they don’t know what to eat if they can’t have bread, cereal, and crackers. 

Another person might have a hard time losing weight because of their medications. Diabetes meds, antipsychotics, and antidepressants can all lead to weight gain according to research. A health coach works with clients to overcome this issue while still adhering to their treatment regimen.

Why Get into Health Coaching?

Health coaching is a rewarding career. You get to spend your days helping clients achieve a higher level of wellness. If they have special health care needs, you can teach them how to work with those needs while still reaching their health goals. You are able to both educate and inspire. With your insight and encouragement, clients can live healthier and happier lives.

Health and wellness coaching is also one way to expand your services. Maybe you’re currently working solely as a personal trainer. Becoming a coach enables you to meet more of your clients' needs. And you can do so without going outside your scope of practice.

Once you are a health coach, other professionals might come to you for help with their clients. Personal training professionals may refer their clients to work with you directly. Or you may be more of a wellness consultant. Either one provides a larger client base. With more clients comes more income. This is yet another reason to get into wellness coaching. 

How to Become a Health and Wellness Coach

If coaching sounds like a good career for you, it isn’t too hard to get started. You can start working with health coaching clients once you complete three simple steps.

Step 1: Take a Health Coach Training Course

The first step involves obtaining health education. Learn how different health conditions affect a person’s wellness. A health coach training program also teaches which diet and lifestyle change recommendations can have the greatest effect.

A comprehensive health coaching course touches on integrative nutrition. Integrative nutrition understands that the body needs more than healthy food to survive. It also needs healthy relationships and fulfilling jobs. If you are interested in becoming a holistic health coach, an integrative nutrition training course can teach you what you need to know.

A coach training course can also help you build effective coaching skills. Creating rapport with clients is a necessary coaching skill. So too is being empathetic. These coaching skills help you build better relationships with your clients. They also encourage positive, lasting change.

When choosing a training course, look for one that offers support. It’s nice to have someone to ask questions to when learning how to become a health coach. A supportive program also better prepares you for your certification exam.

Step 2: Obtain Your Health Coach Certification

Earning your coach certification tells others that you have the education necessary to help them meet their fitness goals, no matter what their health needs. Marketing yourself as a certified coach also helps you stand out against those who didn’t complete a certificate program.

To get your health coach certification, you must take and pass an exam. This exam tests your knowledge of health coaching techniques, skills, and tools. It ensures that you can take what you’ve learned and apply it to help your clients.

Ideally, the training program you choose includes health coaching certification. This allows you to become a certified wellness coach without having to test elsewhere. That makes it an even easier transition from student to working as a wellness coach.

Step 3: Apply for Health and Wellness Coach Jobs

The third and final step is to take your new coach certification and use it to apply for jobs. These positions can have a variety of titles. Some job posts list the title as a health coach or wellness coach. Others are listed as a life coach with a specialization in health and wellness.

Read through the individual job description to learn its requirements. If you must have completed a health coach certification program to apply, supply a copy of your certificate with your application. This shows that you meet the qualifications requested.

Optional: Start a Health Coaching Business

Another alternative option is to take your health coach certification and start your own business. You might specialize in working with clients to help them reach their weight loss goals, for instance. Or you could decide to work with large companies, acting as a wellness consultant. 

Corporate wellness is a growing topic. Many companies are partnering with a certified health coach to create a wellness program for their staff. This can be a fun way to use your wellness certification. Plus, corporate clients can be good sources of income. Not only can they afford to pay more, but they are also more likely to sign longer contracts.

If starting your own coaching business is intimidating, you may decide to gain experience first. Work with another company to learn more about effective coaching techniques. Start to develop your own style and approach. Get some confidence-boosting experience. Then, when you’re ready, begin to build your own business. Take what you’ve learned and apply it to help your own coaching clients.

Practical Skills Helpful During the Coaching Session

Of course, being a successful health coach takes more than taking and passing a certification program. It also requires the development of skills that promote an effective coaching session.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there are five skills that are beneficial when educating clients about health and wellness. They are:

  • Being analytical. You must be able to analyze health information to determine how it relates to your client. This might involve connecting the dots between a specific lifestyle behavior and how it could impact a certain health condition.
  • Being a good communicator. Coaching is all about communication. It involves talking in a way that people understand. It also requires effective listening. The better you are at communicating, the more effective you will be as a certified health coach.
  • Having good instructional skills. The goal of coaching is to teach clients how to make positive changes. You must be able to tell others how to get from where they are to where they want to be.
  • Having strong interpersonal skills. Coaching clients come in all shapes and forms. They also come from different backgrounds with different experiences. The stronger your interpersonal skills, the better your ability to interact with each one. 
  • Being good at problem-solving. Let’s face it, coaching is about problem-solving. It involves taking a look at a client’s wellness challenges and finding ways to overcome them. If you’re a problem solver, this can help you during your coaching sessions.

You can improve your coaching skills with ISSA’s Health Coach Certification. This certification program teaches effective motivational interviewing strategies. You’ll also learn how to increase client compliance with positive psychology. Both of these can boost your health coach resume, reinforcing your health-related expertise.

ISSA

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