Health coach is a professional who helps clients make positive changes in their lives by fostering a healthy and supportive relationship. The job combines many skills, but the most important ones include a positive outlook, a deep care for each client and the ability to provide a customized approach to each person they serve. While some health coaches work as part of a health care team, most find their own client base and pursue this career independently.
The path to becoming a health coach may vary depending on the level of education required, but most coaches have at least a bachelor’s degree and are certified by an accredited program. Classes that help prepare a student for this career include those focused on health, human development and psychology. A health coaching certification program typically requires students to complete a certain number of internship and practicum hours to help them learn the skills and build up their portfolio.
A health coach works in a variety of settings, including private practice, corporate wellness programs and medical offices. Some also have their own online coaching businesses and work at home. Most coaches are highly independent, but they often spend several years working for someone else before they decide to start their own business.
During a health coaching session, a coach is able to motivate their clients to make healthy lifestyle changes using a variety of techniques. They use motivational interviewing to guide their clients in exploring their reasons for wanting to change and identifying barriers that might keep them from moving forward with a health goal. Health coaches can also encourage their clients to develop a sense of confidence and self-efficacy about the new behaviors they are trying to develop by focusing on the positive aspects of the change and setting small goals that are achievable.
In addition to promoting healthy lifestyle choices, a health coach is skilled at recognizing red flags and referring their clients to a healthcare professional who can address their mental or physical health issues. This may be part of the code of conduct that a health coach is required to follow, and it can be one of the most effective ways to help a client overcome a difficult challenge.
While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not track employment data for health coaches specifically, it does provide information on similar careers such as health education specialists, which is closely related to the role. The demand for these professionals is expected to grow, and the flexibility of health coaching allows it to be integrated into a variety of clinical and nonclinical settings. Hälsocoach