How to Become a Health and Wellness Coach?
Does the idea of helping others to improve their lifestyles radically excite and inspire you? Helping people to transform their health, improve their lives and grow in confidence is one of the most rewarding careers you could possibly have.
Health coaches work with clients to come up with their ‘new life’ plan – one that will fully support their health goals with a clear vision for what they want. So many people start out on a health or weight loss journey simply to become overwhelmed within a few weeks and go back to more familiar patterns.
People today are stressed out, time-poor, exhausted and far from feeling optimally well and change can be very difficult. People often tolerate poor health; they often use caffeine, alcohol, sugar, food and other stimulants to keep themselves going, give themselves calmness or provide a reward and deal with difficult emotions; and when they try to change on their own or give all of these things up at once without support or a health strategy, they often fail within a few weeks.
Health coaches are champions for the person they would like to become and the health goals they want – and need – to achieve. Health coaches help people to create a version of themselves that can enjoy optimum health and energy with control over their health and, therefore, their future.
Using exceptional skills in lifestyle and behaviour change, health coaches find the key to a client’s motivation to unlock their unique ability to transform their lives, with the coach’s support.
It is quite simply one of the most rewarding careers to be in today, within a fast-growing industry full of opportunity.
The current healthcare landscape
The landscape of healthcare has changed. Chronic disease far outweighs acute illness.
Governments and medical aids around the world are spending excessive amounts of money on the treatment of chronic diseases. These persistent conditions – the leading causes of death and disability – leave in their wake deaths that could have been prevented, lifelong disability, compromised quality of life and burgeoning healthcare costs.”
This is where health coaches can help!
Many chronic diseases are preventable through diet and lifestyle changes. Health coaches have the time to support clients on an individual basis.
The primary goal of a health coach is to help clients achieve their health goals. In other words, a health coach provides personalised care. Health coaches not only help clients work through lifestyle and behaviour modifications, they mentor, inspire, guide and motivate to cultivate positive health choices!
Health coaches have the luxury of time that medical doctors don’t, to delve deeper into the hows and whys of preventative care.
Health coaches provide guidance and management in the major components of health, including diet, physical activity and overall wellness. In short, health coaching is a collaborative effort between the client and the coach.
CLIENT COACH PROCESS
Many coaches follow a health coaching model.
The first step involves establishing a relationship. Building trust through rapport is essential for a successful client-coach relationship.
The second step is motivational interviewing for building strong communication strategies. This step helps clients become aware of personal problems and limitations. The goal is to focus on the present and explore the individual’s core values and goals. It is most important for clients to express desire for change rather than being told change is necessary.
The third step is creating a wellness vision, which can include physical, emotional, social, spiritual and financial realms of their life.
A wellness vision is used to help clients reach optimal wellbeing by connecting them to their own truth and wisdom that is held within.
Lastly is setting goals. The coach will help the client by acting as a guide through the goal setting process. This is a collaborative step between client and coach. Setting appropriate goals is crucial when helping clients achieve wellness and success.
It’s important to keep in mind a health coach may not be a dietitian. Even a dietitian is not necessarily a health coach. Health coaching is an added skill-set. You can have all of the nutrition knowledge in the world, however, if you are not trained in how to help your clients with lifestyle and behaviour change in and around food with a psychological coaching approach, then your influence will not be as impactful and people will not get the results they desire or the skills to manage on their own.
What skills do health coaches need?
There are foundational skills that are required. Make sure when choosing a training academy they include some of the following:
Training in a good understanding of the foundations of coaching, the history of coaching, the therapeutic disciplines that have influenced coaching and the different types of coaching available today.
How to use coaching models to guide client sessions effectively and apply these models into practical scenarios; tools to better understand yourself and your clients, including tools to determine client personality types, social styles and learning styles.
The relational and practical skills a health coach needs to ensure successful client-coach relationships. You will also need to be well versed in the legal and ethical considerations in the health coaching profession, including contracts, agreements, scope of practice, insurance, disclaimers and codes of ethics.
You will also need to have a good understanding about the process of change in human beings, why change is necessary and how to inspire long-term change.
Creating inspiration for and with clients involves creating a wellness vision, based on their personal values and priorities and also studying core and specific values.
You will need to become skilled in goal setting and planning and understand how it can transform your client’s health.
You will also need to be skilled at being able to hold your clients accountable on their health transformation journey. Evaluating the benefits of being ready, willing and able to reach goals.
Understanding the importance of celebrating client achievements and setting them up for success in the next phase of their health and wellness journey.
Training in nutrition
It is also very important that the training academy that you choose trains you in scientific and evidence-based nutrition.
Every human being has different nutritional needs. However there are some biochemical principles that your clients need to understand when it comes to how the body processes foods.
One of the most established and generally accepted by the medical profession is blood sugar balancing. The reason this is so well accepted is that it has 30 years of science behind it, includes all food groups and is sustainable, easy and delicious and people find it very easy to implement.
Also make sure that the training institution requires that you do real-life case studies. This is imperative for you to become confident in your abilities to work with real people.
Retraining the brain
Health coaches offer support in various ways.
One specific technique is to help clients identify negative thinking patterns or limiting beliefs about themselves and their health to change how they look and feel. By identifying negative, irrational and erroneous beliefs, health coaches help clients establish positive internal dialogue, otherwise known as self-talk.
Retraining your brain to think more positively takes work, but is very effective. Over time, your brain will automatically shift to a more positive way of thinking without much effort.
Health coaches enable individuals to see the value in reaching their health-related goals as well as building a meaningful connection between their lifestyle choices to experience a truly fulfilling life!