I’m learning so much about the many aspects of holistic health, how nutrition affects our quality and quantity of life, and so much more.
But just 9 months ago, I didn’t even know what a health coach was, what they did, and what was needed to become one. To be quite honest, I had never heard the term “health coach” until July of 2021!
I’m sure I’m not the first one who feels confused about this new profession, so I’m here to tell you exactly health coaching is, what we do, and what you need to do to become one.
Health Coaching 101
What is a health coach?
A health coach is basically exactly what it sounds like; it’s someone who coaches and supports others in their personal health journey. Think of a sports coach, but instead of focusing on how to improve your athletic abilities, we help you improve your overall health and well being.
We provides clients with an extra level of accountability so that you are able to reach all your goals and start living your best life!
Depending on the coach, they may specialize in one or two specific aspects of overall health. For example, some health coaches focus primarily on gut health, while others focus more on hormone health. These types of health coaches are great options if your primary health concern is related to one specific thing (such as poor gut health or hormone imbalances).
However, not every health coach specializes in just one area! Everything that affects your health is fully intertwined, so it’s important to remember that it’s often beneficial to look at health in a more holistic (whole) way.
Luckily, there are many holistic health coaches out there, and I’ll be one of them in just a few months! ((:
What exactly does a health coach do?
What your health coach does really depends on their personal coaching style, but, like I mentioned earlier, a health coach will always encourage and support their clients as they progress in their personal health journey.
What they specifically do to help each of their clients depends on each individual’s needs. We are all bio-individuals, so not every client will need help with the same things!
At the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, we are taught about whole-person, or holistic, health, so we learn about how many different things can affect our health and well-being. Some coaches will take a more holistic approach, while others like to focus on just one or two things that affect health.
Both takes on the health coaching profession can definitely be helpful, but it depends on what you, as a client, are looking for!
If you want a coach who will help you improve your health by examining more than just the food on your plate and how you exercise, search for a holistic health coach (that’ll be me!).
But if you need more intense support that focuses on one or two aspect(s) of health, you’ll want to look for someone that specializes in whatever you’re looking for.
Either way, your health coach will be there to listen to your concerns, help you set goals, and encourage you to get in touch with your body in order to figure out exactly what you need to reach your health and wellness goals.
Your coach may also provide specific tips and advice as well, depending on your situation. However, health is not one-size-fits-all, so it’s important to remember that just because a certain approach worked for someone else does not mean it’s going to work for you!
How do you become a health coach?
There are many different paths you can take in order to start your career as a health coach!
One way is to graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as health care, nutrition, or exercise science. Some schools are even starting to offer health coaching programs, which is amazing!
If you already have a Bachelor’s degree, you might choose to go back to school in order to get a Master’s degree or graduate certificate in health coaching. However, since this is still an emerging field, not every school will offer these programs.
If you don’t want to go through an entire college program, you can always do what I’m doing (and what plenty of others do) and take an online certification course.
There are LOTS of online courses out there, so if this seems like something you’d enjoy, I recommend researching all your options! Some programs are longer than others, some teach their material in different ways, and some have prerequisites, so make sure you know all the details of your program before enrolling!
If you end up landing on the Institute of Integrative Nutrition like me, you can use my IIN Ambassador link to get a discount on your tuition!
Another important note to make that may influence how you decide on a program is that some classes allow you to become board-certified, while others do not. While board certification is not required to work as a health coach, it can be helpful if you are looking to start your own coaching business!