There’s a reason New Year’s resolutions are notoriously tricky to fulfill. Many swear to go to the gym every day or eat healthier foods, but improving your wellness is easier said than done. It takes willpower, dedication, and a new mindset.
Health coaches take some of the work of staying motivated and focused off your shoulders. They’re in your corner, cheering you on to make a realistic, sustainable plan toward your fitness and health goals.
You don’t need to take on your wellness journey alone—there are many coaches out there who are eager to help. Let’s explore how to find a health coach and what they can do for you.
How can a health coach help you?
If you’re struggling to hold yourself accountable to your health goals, that’s completely normal. Being your own motivator is challenging, especially when your goals require so much physical and mental energy. You’re busy, and finding the time to take a class or plan meals for the week feels like one too many things on your plate.
Having someone on your team can help. With a health coach:
- You receive personalized attention: Many blogs and wellness apps give great advice, but it’s not tailored to you. A health coach can help you establish action items on the road to your particular goals and identify personal roadblocks.
- You build good habits: Coaches help clients make lifestyle changes that stick around. Rather than making temporary changes that fizzle out, coaches help build skills and habits that will help you remain on track in the long run.
- You stay accountable: If you don’t go for a run today, who’s going to know? Your coach, if you’re honest with them. They help you set realistic and attainable goals and check in regularly on your progress. In order to be truly accountable, it’s important to have a candid coach-client relationship—that’s how you’ll see the best results.
Remember: Health coaches aren’t medical professionals and can’t substitute for a medical professional. They help you stick to instructions from your doctor, but if you have other health concerns, reach out to a professional.
What type of health coach do you need?
There are a number of health coaching niches, and finding the right fit for your specific goals is essential for success. Here are some of the different types of health coaches:
- Holistic health coaches: Holistic health coaches take a comprehensive look at your health and guide you toward physical, mental, and spiritual goals. These coaches want you to reach optimal wellness by changing routines and habits.
- Health and wellness coaches: These professionals assess clients’ strengths to improve physical and mental well-being. Health and wellness coaches use motivational interviewing techniques to empower clients to take charge of their goals.
- Fitness coaches: Fitness coaches educate clients about healthy nutrition, exercise, and stress management habits and motivate them to implement these actions. These coaches focus on exercise and its benefits rather than other areas of wellness, like food and mental health.
- Nutrition coaches: These coaches help clients take a doctor's or nutritionist’s advice and implement healthy meal plans. Nutrition coaches don’t provide medical advice. They help you stick to a healthy course of action set by a doctor.
What makes a good health coach?
To do their job well, excellent health coaches should be:
- Empathetic: People come to health coaches with sensitive concerns about their bodies and minds. Health coaches must empathize with these concerns and be invested in clients’ goals.
- Patience: Achieving wellness doesn’t happen overnight, and people progress at their own pace. If a client gets stuck, the coach needs to be able to re-direct and keep them motivated.
- Flexible: The wellness journey is rarely a smooth one. Not only do health coaches need to be able to chart new paths for their clients if the original ones aren’t working, but they must also be flexible when unforeseen roadblocks crop up. These might include an injury or symptoms of a mental illness that impede progress.
Finding the right health coach
The right coach depends on your needs—there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Ask yourself the following:
- What am I hoping to achieve through coaching?
- What do I struggle with, and how can a coach help me build skills to overcome this struggle?
- What values do I hold that I’d like to see reflected in my coach’s philosophy?
Your answers to these questions will help you discern who in the industry you’re likely to have a strong and productive connection with. Look into coaches’ backgrounds, experience, and coaching philosophies to find someone whose values and practices align with what you’re looking for.
When you’re ready to find a coach, here are some places to start your search:
- Use a health coach directory: The National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching (NBHWC) provides a directory of all board-certified health coaches. Use this guide to find a trained professional in your geographical area.
- Ask other wellness professionals: Ask your doctor, personal trainer, or mental health professional to recommend an experienced health coach.
- Use Google: Open a search browser and look for well-rated professionals near you. Be sure to read reviews to get first-hand accounts.
Is your coach a good fit?
Like any relationship, the coach-client relationship must be strong in order to be successful—both coach and client must invest in its success.
A savvy coach can decide if their services are best for you using a client intake form, but you should do research as well. The following are a few questions to ask a wellness coach before deciding on a health coaching program:
- What’s your specialization? A coach who specializes in a niche relevant to your individual health journey will likely be more beneficial than someone with broad credentials.
- What’s your educational background? There’s no specific degree required for professional coaching, so understanding their unique education and credentials can inform your decision.
- How long have you worked as a health coach? If you’re looking for a coach with experience, asking about their work history is a good start.
- What is your preferred coaching method? This will help you choose a coach whose practice aligns with your learning style and values.
Remember: You can always move on. If a coach doesn’t seem right for you after an intake session or two, that’s okay. Politely decline future sessions and continue your search.
Begin your health journey with confidence and support
Working on your wellness is challenging, but the support of a coach can go a long way toward making the journey easier. They’re someone to lean on as you strive to feel healthier, and their guidance can make a world of difference.
At Practice, we understand the benefits of coaching and work hard to ensure the professionals who perform this service can run their businesses effectively. Our customer relationship management (CRM) platform is specifically designed with coaches in mind, helping them run their businesses safely and securely.