Many of us are familiar with the concept of business mentors and personal trainers, but few may be familiar with the concept of wellness coaching. This relatively new style of lifestyle coaching is aimed at helping people make positive changes in their lives which can improve their overall health and well-being.
In an increasingly demanding world where growing numbers of the population are suffering from mental health disorders, chronic diseases, and obesity, many people are beginning to prioritize their health and well-being by taking actionable steps that will yield measurable results.
This is echoed by the rising popularity of the health and wellness industry and the growth of the global health coaching market, which was valued at $16,914.65 million in 2021 and is estimated to reach $34,812.48 million by 2031, representing an annual growth rate of 7.4%.
This article will take a closer look at the role these professionals play and the potential benefits they can bring to your life to help you achieve a greater level of physical, emotional, and mental health.
What Is a Wellness Coach?
Wellness coaches empower their clients to take control of their health by helping them set achievable goals, create actionable plans, and develop healthier habits in various aspects of their lives.
According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), ‘wellness’ refers to the personal journey an individual takes toward the betterment of their mental, physical, social, and emotional life. This journey can take many different guises and require adjustments in various aspects of a person’s life. The range of services encompassed in the area of wellness coaching includes:
- Diet and nutritional coaching
- Exercise and fitness coaching
- Stress management and mindfulness coaching
- Sleep coaching
- Relationship and communication coaching
The job of a wellness coach is to assist individuals in making better choices through the development of habits, strategies, and objectives designed to improve their health. Through their guidance, support, and expertise, individuals can make lasting positive transformations in the area of health and wellbeing, leading to a happier and healthier life.
How Can a Wellness Coach Help You?
With their encouragement and support, coupled with their scientific knowledge and evidence-based strategies, a wellness coach can help you make positive changes in various aspects of your life, leading to enhanced health and well-being. Some of the main areas where a wellness coach can make such an impact include:
- Health coaching: A wellness coach can help you make better choices regarding your diet and nutrition. Through education and guidance, they can help you create healthy meal plans, develop portion control and other strategies to manage your weight as well as offer advice on healthy prepared meals tailored to meet your personalized goals and lifestyle.
The benefits of wellness coaching in this area are supported by studies that reveal its effectiveness in improving weight and nutritional behaviors as well as preventing and treating chronic disease. Whether your dietary goal is to reduce your sugar intake, become vegan, or cut out gluten, a wellness coach can offer targeted support and practical strategies to help you reach your goals in a healthy and sustainable way.
- Exercise and fitness: According to guidelines laid out by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), most healthy adults should get a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week. They should also do strength training exercises for every major muscle group at least twice a week. However, data shows that only about 25% of adults in the US meet these recommendations for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening physical activity.
By working together to set personalized health goals for reaching various fitness targets, a wellness coach can help clients stay on track and remain accountable for meeting and exceeding the recommended guidelines outlined by the HHS.
- Weight loss: The benefits of health and wellness coaching when it comes to weight loss have been well-documented. One study which examined the effects of various coaching models for the treatment of obesity revealed that such lifestyle interventions “may hold significant promise as a cost-effective obesity treatment paradigm”. Other studies have confirmed findings that coaching can be of benefit to obese individuals by proving that phone coaching with a certified health coach over a six-month period led to more significant weight loss in overweight individuals compared to those who did not receive any coaching.
By educating their clients on the nutritional content of their food choices, guiding them on healthy meal options when dining out, and helping them focus on changes to their diet and lifestyle, wellness coaches can ensure their clients achieve their weight-loss goals in a healthy and manageable way.
- Smoking Cessation: The journey to overall better health can be hindered by bad habits such as smoking. When working with clients who have an addiction to nicotine, wellness coaches can assist them in breaking the habit and giving up their dependency on cigarettes.
By helping their clients gain greater awareness of the health risks involved with smoking, implementing behavioral strategies to help them cope with stresses and triggers that cause them to smoke, and teaching them ways to avoid potential relapses, wellness coaches are great allies in supporting their clients to curb their smoking habit.
To achieve their objective, a wellness coach may use a range of different techniques from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) to motivational interviewing and stress management.
What to Look for in a Wellness Coach
When searching for the right wellness coach to help you achieve your goals, it is advisable to look for the following:
- Credentials: Look for someone who has undertaken a recognized health and wellness coaching program and has training in this area. Notable credentials include certification by the International Coaching Federal (ICF), the National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching (NBHWC), the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), the Health Coach Institute, and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.
- Relevant experience: Work with a coach who has direct experience and reputable results in the specific area of wellness you are looking to improve.
- Rapport: To get the best from your relationship, ensure you are comfortable with your coach and feel they are well-placed to guide, motivate, and inspire you.
By following this guidance you can find the right wellness professional to help you achieve your health goals.