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The Who, What, When, Where and How’s of Wellness Coaching
You’ve heard about wellness coaching and have a question. What does a health coach do? How does it work? Who is this for? Where do you find a coach? When should I hire one? and so on and so forth. This article may not be a complete guide to answer all questions about health coaching, but it will give you enough background to decide whether or not you are interested in learning more, and maybe even receive a ‘free coaching session’ from a health coach willing to give one. Here are answers to many common questions.
What is a Wellness Coach?
A wellness coach is a professional trained in one or more areas of “wellness” who supports their clients in making long-term sustainable lifestyle changes so that their actions related to health and wellness align with their personal goals.
What areas of ‘Wellness’ does a Wellness Coach work with?
Health is a big word that means very different things to different people. For some it means going to the gym every day, for others it means finding the right balance between work and home life, for others they mean health as the spa at the corner shopping center! Because of this wide range of definitions out there for the term wellness, it’s good to know what areas your wellness coach’s background is. Here are some common ones: physical health, nutrition, stress management, weight management, obesity, life balance, heart health, disease management, relationships, and mental health. Obviously, not all health coaches have a background in all of these areas.
What Credentials should I ask for?
There is no universally accepted license for wellness coaches today – so don’t expect to have a right answer to the question of what credentials your coach has. Ask what your prospective coach’s teaching philosophies are, what coaching training/background they have. If they have no formal coaching training, ask them what it means to be a coach. Many health coaches have life coach training/certification, or health coach training/certification. No single program can be identified as ‘the best’, ask them what their training program looks like if you are concerned about their background.
How Does a Wellness Coach Work?
Think of a health coach as your mentor and partner. The purpose of a health coach is to put himself out of business because you leave the relationship with all the tools and the inner motivation to overcome your goals on your own. While a wellness coach will likely have a background in one or more of the areas of wellness listed above, you will quickly learn that coaching is not about imparting information. The coach will work with you to set goals, identify your strengths, develop your personal skills, and above all to become self-confident in action.
What is the difference between a Wellness Coach and a Nutritionist or Trainer?
There are many Wellness Coaches who are nutritionists and personal trainers, but not all trainers and nutritionists are Wellness Coaches (and vice versa). The biggest difference is the method used to achieve the goals. A personal trainer is usually hired to provide guidance, motivation, education, a helping hand and tell you how to achieve your goals. This support is very suitable in many cases. A nutritionist has a similar role, they are trained to provide information, guidance and design a recipe for success when a person has specific needs and dietary goals. Again, they serve a unique role in supporting their clients through the questions they have.
A Wellness Coach takes a different approach when working with clients. Basically a coach believes that you have your own answers. There are certainly opportunities for education and information sharing when appropriate (and this information should only be shared in the coaches’ areas of expertise), however the focus of a health coach is one of empowering the clients who can clearly see for themselves the most appropriate path forward. so that they can make lasting, long-term changes in life. This is very different than telling them what they need to do now. This includes discussing goals, vision, and designing a plan together.
Why Should I Hire a Wellness Coach?
I have another article written on this topic – read the full dialogue here.
Where can I find a coach?
Most health coaches work as sole proprietors rather than large companies and are spread across the country (and world). Coaches who work for large companies usually work in an organizational setting and do not take on individual or private clients. Because health coaching is such a new industry, there is no ‘best’ way to find a coach. If you have a personal referral that is amazing. If not, the best way I know to find a coach is to do a Google search for Wellness Coach. This will provide you with the most comprehensive list for health coaches in the country.
Where do we meet?
Almost all coaches work over the phone (many don’t even offer in-person meetings), so distance won’t be a problem if you’re willing to settle for working over the phone. People always want the ability to be anonymous. Just be aware that it’s likely you’ll need to contact the coach so if they’re not in your local area code you can pay for phone time if you’re not far enough away.
Who Should I Hire?
A few words of advice. Recognize that you will build a relationship with the coach. Just as important as finding a good coach is finding one you feel comfortable with and most importantly, one who inspires you to take action (which is why you hired a coach in the first place). Many coaches offer a complimentary first coaching call, so take advantage of it. If not, most will spend time with you discussing their services in depth and this will give you a good sense of their personality.
Who is Wellness Coaching?
If you made it this far in the article I suspect you may be a potential candidate. Wellness coaching is for those looking for a partner rather than a teacher. A person looking for a wellness coach is interested in the question – How do I make a change in lifestyle, because they are in the question of what I change. If you know what you need to do, but haven’t had success in the past, or if you know that personal support and interaction is the key to making lasting lifestyle changes, then a health coach may be right for you.
When should I hire a coach?
Obviously it’s your decision. Ask yourself what the opportunity is to work with a coach. Losing weight? Does it improve immunity? Does it create a life plan where you balance work and family life? Ask yourself why you might be considering a coach and this should guide you in making the decision when. In general coaches do not offer specials, there is no right or wrong time to start working with a coach.
I will remind you though that when you decide to hire a coach, you are taking a big step. You travel from a place of inaction to action. Hiring a coach alone (and committing to the relationship) is a symbolic action that says you’re ready, willing and on the path to change. This is a big step and you deserve to acknowledge it when you decide the time is right.
For more information visit www.i-grow.net
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