Hey everybody, and welcome back to PT Pioneer.

This is your ultimate destination for understanding the health and fitness industry.

I aim to provide the most current and relevant academic and career advice for anyone considering getting involved in the fitness industry and anyone trying to optimize their current career.

As a fitness professional, I’ve formulated a way to help you figure out the best certification for your career goals.

I highly recommend that you take the quiz and find out which wellness coach certification is best for your career goals.

What type of Certification are you looking to get?

This article on Wellness Coach Career Info will give you an in-depth description of what it means.

I’ll be providing insight on the following:

  • A brief look at wellness coaching
  • The difference between wellness coaching and health coaching
  • Why do people need wellness coaches?
  • How to Become a certified health and wellness coach

Let me not waste any more time, and let’s get right into it.

Wellness Coach Career Info

What is Wellness Coaching

In a separate article on becoming a wellness coach, I briefly described what a wellness coach is.

This time I want to go into more detail to give you a full scope.

As the name suggests, a wellness coach is a health provider helping clients or patients improve their general well-being toward a healthy lifestyle.

While many fields in health and fitness focus primarily on physiological well-being, wellness is a full-spectrum, integrative health approach.

For instance, a personal trainer would focus primarily on physical performance and body composition. At the same time, a nutritionist would have their hand at improving the state of someone’s diet and habits concerning food.

A wellness coach would take these aspects on board, but they would work as components to a more holistic approach in their coaching sessions.

A wellness specialist would also tackle mental health, psychology, emotional state, and spiritual well-being issues.

While other practices in health and fitness prioritize a narrow focus of aspects, wellness takes a person’s entirety and aims to achieve balance and an optimal state.

Another distinction with health & wellness coaching is it is a guided approach rather than a dictated approach.

A personal trainer, for example, will dictate methodologies and protocols to optimize an individual’s health and fitness.

So even though the plans and programs are customized to an individual’s preference, their execution relies on the astute expert command of the coach.

As the client of a PT, you are very much at the mercy of their ability to act as an expert in the field, and it is your role to follow instructions.

However, when it comes to wellness coaching, the coach is tasked with guiding an educator and their client to the point where they become the stewards of their health.

The clients or patients of a wellness coach are there to learn how to become experts on their health.

This process occurs through education, active listening, practical exercises, and consultation sessions to allow the client to lead and learn.

Clients will learn how to respond to their health cues, identify problem areas through intrinsic recognition of their physical and mental state, and develop programs and techniques that allow them to grow to a place of better health.

A health coach’s involvement in a client’s life is temporary, whereas a personal trainer may have an indefinite involvement in their client’s life.

That’s because a large part of a personal trainer’s value is adherence and accountability. Still, a wellness coach shapes permanent habits that lead to self-sustained self-accountability and discipline.

Lifestyle changes that a wellness coach may help a client implement include:

  • Clinical intervention
  • Communication skills
  • Occupational therapy
  • Disordered eating
  • Goal setting
  • Life skills
  • Mental health
  • Stress management
  • Mind-body alignment
  • Nutrition and diet
  • Physical fitness
  • Social skills
  • Self-care
  • Balancing professional and personal responsibilities
  • Spiritual alignment
  • Trauma counseling
  • Weight management

To this end, a wellness coach may be required to qualify before obtaining the title extensively.

That’s because many of the roles and duties under a wellness coach’s scope of expertise require authorization or licensing in the medical field to receive the all-clear from practicing.

For example, trauma counseling and clinical intervention are not roles you can easily learn or legally be allowed to perform without some degree in a healthcare professional field.

You can be a wellness coach with a more limited approach.

For instance, you could be a certified PT, nutrition coach, and yoga teacher and work as a wellness coach.

Those three qualifications encapsulate the fundamentals of health & wellness coaching, albeit in a not-so-in-depth sense.

The Difference Between Wellness Coaching and Health Coaching 

Another common point of contention is when people try to differentiate between health and wellness coaching.

The two are often referred to in the same breath as health and wellness coaching and health and wellness coaches.

Before I tackle the differences, let’s look at the similarities since this is where the confusion arises.

First of all, both health coaching and wellness coaching rely on the same foundational approach.

That approach relies on providing a guided engagement with a client’s needs in a way that enforces behavior change.

The emphasis with either practice is to provide a coaching program that allows your client or patient to take the reigns when understanding, optimizing, and managing their health.

You act as a mentor and information resource base while offering motivation and reassurance.

Another way that both health coaching and wellness coaching are similar is that they constitute an amalgamation of different aspects and practices in health and fitness science.

These include:

  • Physical fitness
  • Weight loss and management
  • Nutrition
  • Strength and conditioning
  • Corrective exercise
  • Mental conditioning

Many of these aspects and practices tend to overlap, so compiling a definitive list is difficult.

Regardless, this is where the similarities end.

Wellness coaching branches off from health coaching regarding innate aspects of self, such as mental well-being and spiritual alignment.

The holistic approach necessary to combine quantitative and qualitative aspects of human well-being gives wellness coaching its unique position.

With that in mind, let’s see what would prompt someone to hire a wellness coach.

Why Do People Need Wellness Coaches?  

You can see the extensive value a wellness coach brings from what you’ve learned.

You’ve probably also noticed how niche the scope of practice for a health coach is despite the broad number of aspects it tackles.

So why would anyone need a health coach?

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 20% of Americans lack a sense of purpose and satisfaction with their lives and lifestyles.

This dissatisfaction typically originates as a mental health concern but usually permeates aspects of physiological health.

A wellness coach becomes the best solution to realign a person with their self-purpose and sense of healthy living.

Wellness coaching becomes essential for people needing to readjust their lives drastically.

It’s essentially an exercise in rewiring a person’s perspective on an ideal lifestyle and renewing a person’s relationship with themselves.

Wellness coaching is very useful for people recovering from a decline in lifestyle due to several possible factors.

These factors include:

  • Accident trauma
  • Post-injury rehab
  • Recovery from disordered eating (anorexia nervosa or morbid obesity)
  • Recovery from grief or loss
  • Recovery from drug abuse
  • Management during a chronic or terminal illness
  • People with disabilities
  • People with mental conditions.

Managing addictions benefits tremendously through correct wellness coaching.

Clients of a wellness coach needn’t be in dire straits.

A wellness coach-client can be any member of the general population who wants to improve themselves by optimizing their health and well-being.

Perhaps they want to work on breathing to prevent snoring and reduce the risk 9f sleep apnea.

Maybe it’s someone experiencing reactions or conditions that doctors find difficult to pinpoint. 

As a wellness expert, you may be able to carry out a process of elimination that helps your client get to the root cause of their issues.

Wellness coaches are also commonly hired by companies and corporate entities in an attempt to implement corporate wellness initiatives.

Corporate wellness entails an initiative aimed at optimizing and maintaining the well-being of a company’s labor force to boost morale and productivity.

Corporate wellness initiatives typically fall under human resources and would include activities such as:

  • Group fitness sessions
  • Nutrition advisory and meal planning
  • Holistic health sessions
  • Team building exercises
  • Yoga and meditation sessions
  • Counseling and occupational therapy

This group approach to wellness coaching can also be applied to sports teams.

For instance, top-flight professional sports leagues may need holistic support over and above the standard requirement for sports coaching and performance training.

A wellness coach may provide auxiliary services to optimize mental well-being and the intrinsic factors that drive elite performance.

Schools, especially those with special needs pupils, might employ the services of wellness coaches. 

They may even go as far as to have qualified wellness coaches in their teaching staff exclusively.

Wellness coaches are also useful in environments more angled towards leisure and recreation.

The hospitality industry, for example, has an increasing demand for health and fitness services to coincide with their leisure packages and service offerings.

Having a health and fitness expert as part of a holiday experience completes many people’s experiences.

Even while on holiday, being fit and healthy is considered aspirational and essential for many with holistic health, such as what a wellness coach administers, becoming ever more popular.

So, in a nutshell, anyone can find a use for a wellness coach in improving their general well-being, from individuals to entire teams of colleagues. Still, it is more common among people trying to tackle critical lifestyle deficiencies.

Wellness Coach Career - Increase Your Client Pool in [year] 3
Wellness Coach Career - Increase Your Client Pool in [year] 4

How To Become a Certified Health and Wellness Coach 

Now that you know what a wellness coach is, how do you become one?

I’ve detailed this in a separate article, so let’s look at the process with a brief run-down.

Based on what being a wellness coach entails, your journey into wellness coaching requires that you gain the right credibility through certification and credentials.

Due to the complex array of responsibilities, getting qualified is important to equip yourself with the key competencies of coaching practice.

Obtaining a university degree in a healthcare-related field is one component of practicing; the other is gaining an accredited wellness coach certification.

This can be done through the National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching (NBHWC) and any of its approved coach certification programs.

The NBHWC is the gold standard in wellness coaching in the US.

The Do’s and Dont’s of Wellness Coaching

Understanding our scope of practice and limitations is important.

It’s important to have a clear picture of what you’re pursuing as a career to make an informed decision, but it also allows you to work within the industry and legal parameters.

I’ve already gone over what a health coach does on a day-to-day basis, but here it is again:

  • Achieving health goals
  • Clinical intervention
  • Communication skills
  • Occupational therapy
  • Disordered eating
  • Goal setting
  • Life skills
  • Mental health
  • Stress management
  • Mind-body alignment
  • Nutrition and diet
  • Physical fitness
  • Social skills
  • Self-care
  • Balancing professional and personal responsibilities
  • Spiritual alignment
  • Trauma counseling
  • Weight management

So what can’t a wellness coach do?

Well, based on the list above, you’d think a wellness coach can do pretty much anything, but the thing is, as a wellness coach, you are essentially a generalist in many fields.

Most wellness coaches will have only qualified in a handful of their sub-practices if any.

If, however, you qualify as a dietician, personal trainer, physiotherapist, or clinical psychologist, for instance, you will have full reign in delivering these services from a clinical perspective.

Pros and Cons of Wellness Coaching 

Before you jump into the next article in this series and learn how to become a wellness coach, it’s important to understand the benefits and drawbacks of a career in wellness coaching.

There are two sides to every coin, so understanding the good and the bad will help you make a more informed decision.

Cons

Let’s start with the cons, and when it comes to wellness coaching, a few stand out.

The first drawback, in my opinion, is the generalist approach that comes with wellness coaching.

In many cases, wellness coaches are jacks of all trades, masters of none.

Wellness coaching encapsulates so many practices under one umbrella; being a specialist would be difficult and almost abnormal.

To truly specialize and master many aspects of wellness coaching would mean lifelong academic pursuit, leaving little time actually to operate as a wellness coach.

Another con with wellness coaching is the heavy reliance on sales and marketing.

To successfully promote your services and sustain a viable career, you must master the art of sales and marketing.

Besides the tedium and effort required, aggressive sales and marketing strategies are often viewed as invasive, impersonal, manipulative, and even predatory.

The idea of aggressive sales and marketing couldn’t be more divorced from the wholesome, holistic promise that good wellness coaching aims to deliver.

Pros

Now let’s look at the pros of wellness coaching.

One of the cons I mentioned was that wellness coaches are generalists by trade; however, an emphasis on sustaining a strong and capable referral network exists in this general approach.

Need expert nutritional advice? A wellness coach will refer you to the best possible registered dietitian.

Need a fitness program? A wellness coach can point you to the best personal trainers in your area.

One of the main duties of a wellness coach is to build an expert referral network, allowing clients to get on track with whatever concerns their well-being.

Wellness coaching is cost-effective.

That’s because you supply your clients with the means to manage their health and well-being and implement that as a lifelong habit.

That cuts costs out of hiring specialist coaches and trainers.

Lastly, and probably the most important benefit of wellness coaching, is that it instills a sense of self-mastery, discovery, and awareness that allows clients to develop strategies and habits that benefit them over the long term.

Hiring a personal trainer, transformation coach, or nutritionist often means following their protocols.

These protocols and methodologies might be modified to your needs and desires, but you follow a script.

With wellness coaching, you write your own story based on the journey of self-discovery you undergo.

Conclusion

Wellness coaching is expanding in popularity.

As aspects of well-being traditionally overlooked, such as mental health and spirituality, take center stage, the need for an all-encompassing, holistic well-being approach is growing.

If you are considering becoming a wellness coach, there’s no better time than now.

I hope this article provided some much-needed insight and information.

If you have any other questions, please drop a comment below.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a wellness coach’s salary?

Wellness coaches make an average annual income is $62,477 per year.

What is the difference between a life coach and a wellness coach?

A life coach assists people in formulating an approach to general living tasks and self-care. A wellness coach may assist in these aspects and physiological health.

What do you need to be a wellness coach?

To work as a wellness coach, you must qualify with the right credentials, which typically include a university degree and a certification approved by the National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching (NBHWC).

Do you need a certification to be a wellness coach?

Preferably yes!

What does a wellness coach do?

A wellness coach offers guidance and mentorship for people seeking to improve their well-being through a guided rather than dictated approach.

What is the difference between a health coach and a wellness coach?

A health coach provides guided assistance in matters of physiological health. In contrast, a wellness coach provides a similar service by helping clients address other areas of well-being, such as mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

Why do I need a wellness coach?

A wellness coach is a cost-effective way of learning how to best manage one’s health and wellness needs by developing individually applicable habits rather than following preconceived methodologies.

References

  1. “Well-Being Concepts.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, https://www.cdc.gov/hrqol/wellbeing.htm#five.
  2. “What You Can and Can’t Do as a Health & Wellness Coach.” American Fitness Professionals Association, https://www.afpafitness.com/blog/what-you-can-and-cant-do-as-a-health-wellness-coach.
  3. “What Is a Wellness Coach? Everything You Need to Know.” Institute for Integrative Nutrition, https://www.integrativenutrition.com/blog/what-is-a-wellness-coach-everything-you-need-to-know.
  4. “Life and Wellness Coaches.” WebMD, https://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/life-and-wellness-coaches.
  5. “What Is a Wellness Coach, and When Do You Need One?” Verywell Fit, https://www.verywellfit.com/what-is-a-wellness-coach-when-do-you-need-one-4175824.
  6. “What Is Wellness Coaching?” Wellness Coaching Australia, https://www.wellnesscoachingaustralia.com.au/What-is-wellness-coaching/what-is-wellness-coaching.
  7. “Wellness Coaching Initiative.” Global Wellness Institute, https://globalwellnessinstitute.org/initiatives/wellness-coaching-initiative/.
  8. “What Is Wellness?” Pfizer, https://www.pfizer.com/health-wellness/wellness/what-is-wellness#:~:text=Wellness%20is%20the%20act%20of,surviving%2C%20you’re%20thriving.&text=Each%20one%20has%20an%20impact%20on%20your%20physical%20and%20mental%20health..
  9. “What is a Wellness Program? Definition, Examples, and Tips.” WellSteps, https://www.wellsteps.com/blog/2020/01/02/what-is-wellness-program-definition/.
  10. “The Concept of Wellness.” Physiopedia, https://www.physio-pedia.com/The_Concept_of_Wellness.
  11. “What Is Wellness?” University of South Dakota Wellness Center, https://www.usd.edu/student-life/wellness-center/what-is-wellness.
  12. “Wellness Coach Job Description.” La Clinica, https://www.careinnovations.org/wp-content/uploads/Wellness-Coach-Job-Description_La-Clinica.pdf.
  13. “Health Coach Job Description.” Betterteam, https://www.betterteam.com/health-coach-job-description.
  14. “Health Coach Job Description Examples.” Great Sample Resume, https://www.greatsampleresume.com/job-description/examples/fitness-nutrition/health-coach.
Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

Tyler Read


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