A health coach is an expert in helping people make incremental decisions that will ultimately improve their health and overall wellness. They help their clients develop new habits, set goals, and take action that supports healthy behaviors and long-term changes in diet, exercise, sleep, and stress management. Health coaches are also experts in helping their clients process emotional triggers that may interfere with making positive lifestyle changes.
While it’s possible to become a health coach without a formal education, having a bachelor’s degree in a subject like nutrition or exercise science can be an advantage. A health coach certification program can also teach the skills and strategies necessary to be successful in this field. In fact, some programs include a practicum or internship as part of the curriculum that can provide real-world experience before graduating.
As with any career, health coaching can be rewarding and fulfilling if you are passionate about the profession. Whether you want to work in the field on your own or with an established organization, it’s important to find the right training program that aligns with your professional and personal goals.
According to Payscale, a bachelor’s degree in nutrition or exercise science is typically required for health coach jobs. However, many health coaches also earn a graduate degree in a related field to further their career prospects and enhance the depth of their expertise.
The most important trait of a successful health coach is the ability to connect with and support their clients in a caring, nonjudgmental manner. This often means abandoning one’s own emotional triggers when discussing client topics, as well as learning how to listen from a neutral and objective place. It is also essential that a health coach be able to recognize when a client has mental or physical health issues beyond their scope of practice and refer them to the appropriate professionals.
Although the health coaching field is rapidly expanding, it’s important to keep up with current trends and best practices in the field. For example, it’s not uncommon for health coaches to use validated tools that can help their clients discover meaning in the life they live and create a path forward that makes sense for them. This is especially useful for those working with individuals with chronic illnesses who are struggling to see the value in their lives. In addition, the right health coach training can provide you with the knowledge and tools you need to effectively engage and motivate your clients to achieve their most ambitious wellness goals. In the end, that is what truly distinguishes the field of health coaching from other health and helping professions. It’s a career that offers true transformational impact for both the clients you serve and yourself.