According to the International Coaching Federation(ICF) , coaching is partnering with clients in a thought provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximise their personal and professional potential.

We are more  familiar with executive coaches (who help executives to develop their capacity to deal with change and offer them support in reaching organisational or work-related goals) and life coaches (who guide clients through cognitive, behavioural changes aimed at facilitating goal attainment and performance enhancement).

Health and wellness coaches are professionals who partner with clients seeking self-directed ,lasting changes aligned with their values which promote health and wellness and thereby well-being. Health and wellness coaches focus primarily on health and wellness of their clients.

Health and wellness coaches are equal partners with their clients in the coaching process and see each client as whole and resourceful. Each client is regarded as an expert in his or her own life.  

10 things you can achieve with your health coach supporting you

1. You create a description of your ideal vision of the future – You are guided by your health coach to the discovery of deeper meaning and purpose from your desires, values, priorities and  motivations. Each person’s vision of health and wellness is unique – for one it is sleeping well, for another healthy food and yet another improved physical activity.

2.You establish the present situation, previous successes and challenges , resources associated with your vision- your self-awareness is increased as well as  self-reflection. This is done with unconditional positive regard for you by your health coach. Some information may be required from you to such as lifestyle and health history, readiness to change or physical activity readiness based on your specific situation and desired goals.

3.You explore and evaluate your readiness to progress toward your identified and expressed vision – Your readiness status will guide the journey and the required support to be provided by your health coach or other relevant resources to attain your own vision.

4.You identify and explore patterns, perspectives, and beliefs that may be limiting lasting change with respect to your health and wellness - You receive non-judgemental support from your health coach as an agent of change with mutual trust and respect.

5. You establish goals that will lead to realisation of your stated vision as it relates to your health and wellness – You are supported by your health coach as you establish self-directed goals that are in alignment with your values and vision for the future.

6.You develop a series of steps that will lead to the achievement of your selected health and wellness goals – With the coach as your partner, you break down your goals into manageable steps that lead to the desired outcome.

7.You commit to and are accountable for the specific steps that will take you to your health and wellness goals – You take ownership for your actions to realise your goals. You are the expert in your own life. You develop systems of accountability, identify potential barriers and explore strategies to address them with your health coach providing support on the journey.

8.You evaluate your success in taking steps and achieving your goals – You identify what is working and areas you may need to address towards the fulfilment of your identified and expressed vision of health and wellness.

9.You maintain progress and changes and express your learnings and insights gained in the change process on your health and wellness journey- You learn both from what works and the ones that don’t. Directing your energy and resources towards your enablers with your health coach supporting you on the way.

10.You reassess your goals and make modifications based on personal decisions and progress made. Your health coach supports you to develop a post-coaching plan to sustain changes that promote health and wellness.

You may benefit from any of the above especially if you have been unable to meet your health goals, or struggle with making lifestyle changes recommended by your  healthcare providers.

Why certification is important

The certification and standardisation of the health and wellness profession was pioneered by the National Consortium for Credentialing Health and Wellness Coaches (NCCHWC) in 2010 in the US. I recommend engaging a certified health coach for the following reasons :

The certified health and wellness coaches are trained by accredited training institutions and organisations

The training provides knowledge required for health and wellness coaching

The training provides skills required for behaviour change

There is standardisation and professionalism required of practitioners

There is an assessment of knowledge and skills

They are required to maintain their certification with ongoing continuous education and are thereby updated.

Ethical conduct is mandatory for all interactions

You also have agencies that can attend to reports of misconducts or ethical breaches.

Initial steps

An initial discovery session to determine if health coaching is suitable for your situation may be indicated. If health coaching is appropriate for you, a coaching agreement is necessary and should state the nature of the client-coach relationship, type of coaching, objectives/goals as determined by you ,schedule ,frequency, duration ,agreed costs/fees, payment structure, policies for no-show, rescheduling and cancellations,  termination process and affirmation of client confidentiality.

Health coaching can be provided for individuals or in groups. It is available online or face to face depending on what works best for you and your health coach.

There are over 120,000 health coaches in private clinical and corporate practices in the US. The number is growing across the world as their role is becoming more recognized in lifestyle and disease management.


National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching (NBHCW 2017 )

Wolever et al. BMC Health Services Research  (2016) 16:205 Advancing a new evidence-based professional in health care: job task analysis for health and wellness coaches

Sample Coaching Agreement – American Council on Exercise