How To Become a Health and Wellness Coach?
Our mind and body experience a lot on a daily basis. It is responsible for sustaining and processing every kind of good and bad that comes its way. So, if you think that self-care is selfish, it isn’t. Instead, self-care allows you to prime your mind, body, and soul to serve further.
Wellness professionals are available in different capacities. Some help us navigate through our physical training and a few others guide us with our nutritional needs. However, a health and wellness coach support and promotes a holistic way of living our lives.
If you are considering tapping into a coaching career and you are passionate about health, wellness, and lifestyle, becoming a certified wellness coach can be ideal. It is an extremely fulfilling job that enables you to help your clients lead a life aligned to their healthy lifestyle goals.
This article will explore everything you need to know about becoming a professional and certified health & wellness coach in 2022.
What is a Health and Wellness Coach?
The spectrum of coaching is vast. There are certified coaches who support and guide you through your professional career and there are coaches who help you attain a healthy lifestyle. A wellness coach targets the latter.
A health and wellness coach will guide and support you to form a healthy relationship with food, nutrition, and overall well-being. Most of the wellness coaches often have a former qualification in nutrition, dietetics, and health sciences (although, the same isn’t mandatory).
Some wellness coaches actively work with organizations and corporates to guide and support teams. And, a few others prefer dedicating their time to one client at a time for a personalized coaching session.
What does a Health and Wellness Coach Do?
“Health is a state of the body. Wellness is a state of being.” – J. Stanford
When it comes to our health and wellness, everyone’s needs and goals are subjective. Some people are looking to lose weight. A few others are trying to form a healthy relationship with their food.
Every person has a different outlook when it comes to their overall physical and mental well-being.
A wellness coach helps you navigate through that journey. They are responsible for being that guiding support that allows you to find the path towards successful and healthy living.
When you contact a wellness coach, they will analyze your requirements and identify your needs and goals in the process. This includes both physical and mental needs. This is followed by personalized coaching aligned to the client’s requirements.
A health and wellness coach works with their clients to overcome their shortcomings concerning their well-being, all the while adhering to their standard treatment regimen (if they are on any).
A wellness coach will:
- Guide and support their clients to identify their health and lifestyle goals
- Enable their clients to set realistic and achievable goals concerning their physical and emotional well-being
- Support them with additional resources pertaining to their overall well-being and conditions
- Navigate ways that allow clients to achieve long-term goals
- Consistently empowering the clients to integrate effective tools and techniques that improve their life
Remember that a health and wellness coach will not prescribe you medications or alter your prescriptions (unless they are qualified to do so).
How to Become a Health and Wellness Coach?
If you are good with supporting and guiding people towards their goals, becoming a wellness coach can be a lucrative career option for you. However, becoming a wellness coach isn’t as linear. You can’t decide one day that you want to become one and then start taking on clients with formal certification and experience.
In order to become a certified health and wellness coach, there are certain steps one should follow:
A. Focus on Earning a Degree
Let me preface this by saying that a degree related to health, science, and wellness isn’t MANDATORY to become a wellness coach. However, if you want to acquire high-paying and recurring clients and establish your authority in the field, a bachelor’s or associate degree helps.
Many self-employed wellness coaches directly opt for a certification program. However, if you want to work under a corporate organization, strengthen your resume with a diversity of certifications and credentials from globally acknowledged training institutes.
When you are applying for a degree, be assured that there are no particular degrees that focus on Health and Wellness as a subject. However, courses and niches like nutrition, fitness, biology, physiology, or behavioral sciences contribute to that.
Some of the common degree choices include:
- Bachelor's in health science
- Bachelor's in nutrition
- Associate's in health and wellness
When choosing a training degree, you want to choose one that best aligns with your future goals. If you are sure that you want to become a wellness coach down the line, pick a degree that will support your career growth in the future.
B. Get the Required Certification
While acquiring a degree is a CHOICE, acquiring a certification is a MUST. Every health & wellness coach needs to get a professional certification to practice. Getting proper certification from a globally certified foundation polishes your skills, allows you to learn the basics of the coaching niche, and enables you to gain trust from your potential clients.
Take a scenario –
There are two wellness coaches. One who has a globally acclaimed certification, and another who doesn’t have any of the two but “claims” to support your wellness journey.
Who will you choose? Obviously, the former coach, right?
Certification holds a very important stance in building trust and transparency among the client and the coach. When someone comes to you with their concerns, they expect that you are professionally trained and equipped to help them achieve those and certification helps with that.
Matrrix offers ICF-accredited life and wellness coaching certifications that you can consider if you want to get started. You get to learn at a global standard and align your interests and knowledge to the present-day crises among the clients.
When you take a global certification, you are tested for your knowledge, skills, and your learning experience. This holistic approach ensures that you have learned the right things that you will apply during your coaching sessions.
C. Expand your Experience
Once you have your degree (optional) and certification (must) under the bag, the next step towards finalizing your career as a wellness coach is to get a job. Some individuals prefer working under employers and in a corporate setting. If that is your choice, start applying for jobs online.
You will find companies with direct listings for Health and Wellness coaches. Alternatively, you might find organizations hiring life coaches with a specialization in wellness.
If you want to work with teams and corporates to gain experience before you take on individual clients, this is a good way to start.
However, once you have gained enough experience, branch out and start your health coaching business. This allows you to have more control and freedom over your work and the way you handle clients.
Not just individual clients, several corporates are collaborating with health and wellness coaches to curate wellness programs for their staff. You can tap into that side of the program too. As you grow with your experience, it will enable you to develop your style and approach towards wellness coaching.
What kind of Skills are Necessary for a Wellness Coach?
Theoretical knowledge through a degree and certification will only take you so far as a wellness coach. You need to have optimal soft skills to be able to communicate well with your client and curate a wellness plan that aligns with their interests and goals.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, every wellness coach should have the following skills:
A. Analytical approach
Being analytical is crucial as a wellness coach. You need to listen and analyze the information your clients provide you with. This involves listening to your client’s complications relating to their health and analyzing if their lifestyle habits have anything to do with the same.
B. Good communication
Not just in wellness coaching, every stream of coaching needs clear, transparent communication. It involves active listening and processing the same information. Effective communication paves the way for better experience and growth as a wellness coach.
C. Demonstrate proper instructional skills
When you are working as a wellness coach, your end goal is to support your client’s journey for making positive changes to their life. Having optimal instructional skills helps in curating the right steps and journey that cultivates desired outcomes for the client.
D. Harbor strong interpersonal skills
Commonly known as “people skills”, interpersonal skills allow you to interact with every kind of people, irrespective of their background and experiences. It contributes to better client-coach relationships.
E. Have prompt problem-solving skills
It goes without saying that the end goal of coaching is to solve your client’s issues and problems pertaining to their overall physical and mental wellness. You want to look into your client’s problems and offer them enough support to overcome those challenges.
F. Be organized and prioritize time
As a wellness coach, you need to harbor proper organization and time management skills. When you are taking on multiple clients at a time, it is important that you schedule them with buffer time so no one’s time is wasted. Also, if you are running the wellness coaching business by yourself, you need might have to be a one-man army. You need to schedule your clients, keep up with the appointments, collect payments and even conduct the required administrative tasks.
What Should You Consider Before Becoming a Wellness Coach?
Now that you know how to become a health and wellness coach, let me grab your attention really quickly. Committing to a brand-new professional journey is never easy. It imposes a wave of ups and downs.
Before you are all set to embark on this new journey of wellness coaching, take a moment and consider these pointers.
Before you start, make sure you explore the career opportunities surrounding this niche. You need to check what kind of job setup will work the best for you.
If you are already doing a job, have a stable career, and want to transition to a career in coaching, make it gradual. Instead of giving up on your stable income job abruptly, you should take up coaching on the side in the beginning. Once you have established a good repertoire and have a stable flow of clients, you can consider leaving your job.
Reflect on your own health and wellness journey before you step into a career that is focused on supporting and helping others.
Becoming a health and wellness coach is an extremely rewarding and fulfilling experience. So, if you are set in making that transition, know that the benefits will outweigh the struggles you experience. And, on that note, let us look into the benefits.
What are the benefits of becoming a Wellness Coach?
The biggest benefit of becoming a wellness coach is the opportunity to grow. The niche is still fairly new and expanding. So, if you step into it now and cement your place, you will have a better head start.
Also, wellness coaching has diverse opportunities across different sectors of healthcare, corporate, and even in the community health programs. If you don’t want to work under someone’s employment, you can consider starting your independent wellness coaching business too.
Overall, becoming a wellness and health coach comes with a lot of perks. Being able to help clients to make their lives healthier, both physically and mentally, is an extremely rewarding experience.
How is Wellness Coaching Gaining Traction in Healthcare?
Over the years, wellness coaching has evolved for its holistic approach. From helping patients after getting a devastating diagnosis to supporting frontline workers in tackling the Covid-19 induced stress, wellness coaches have helped hundreds, if not thousands.
Being a stable source of support and guidance through a rough phase enables individuals to create a stronger outlook, despite the challenges, and wellness coaches are an integral part of that.
Wellness coaching for patients with terminal diseases or chronic illnesses helps them navigate through the rough times with a better outlook and optimism. Several patients find it comforting to share their struggles and shortcomings with a wellness coach for the rightful support. It makes it easier to accept, process, and handle the diagnosis better.
For frontline workers:
The pandemic was hard for the common citizens but harder for the frontline workers like doctors, nurses, and hospital staff who put their (and their family’s) health on the line. Wearing a hazmat suit, treating Covid positive patients, the constant underlying stress of contracting the virus put a lot of mental burden on the frontline workers.
Wellness coaching worked like an integral guidance and support system during these testing times. It enabled people to process their feelings of stress and anxiety and find a healthy outlet for the same.
Wellness coaching is consistently gaining more and more prominence in the healthcare sector and will likely evolve as a mandatory part of this industry in no time at all.
Now that you have a comprehensive understanding of how to become a health & wellness coach, I hope that you chase your dreams. You might not experience everything according to your wish on the first attempt. However, that’s part of growth. In order to grow, you need to keep going until you achieve it in the end.
Health and wellness coaching has to be one of the most rewarding careers you can get into.
So, why wait anymore?
“Wellness coaches collaborate to make the transition from illness to wellness with unconditional support and partnership.” - Dr. Paras.