We all have different ideas of what “being healthy” means. “Being healthy” does not mean only eating healthy foods and exercising, but also includes cultivating a healthy mind, spirit, and relationships too.
Wellness coaching is one of the fastest growing trends in the health and fitness field. A wellness coach provides support to clients seeking to improve their health and overall well-being, including but not limited to weight management, fitness, counseling, crisis intervention, and stress management as examples.
A wellness coach provides their client with a high level of guidance and support leading to positive life changes. Using a holistic approach, wellness coaches help their clients stick to the commitments they’ve made, and assists the client in accomplishing more than they would on their own. Focus remains on what’s happening in the present- identifying behaviors that require focus and effort to change- and then creating a course of action (sometimes called an action or game plan) to produce a behavior change.
Identifying and addressing negative behaviors and lifestyle choices is an enormous task. It is the chief reason why a person seeks a wellness coach- the acceptance of the need for support. Unsuccessful weight loss, quitting smoking, and finding the right nutritional and exercise programs are among the more common reasons for seeking coaching. Others include the need for self-esteem and confidence building to improve careers or interpersonal relationships. A powerful relationship is formed when the coach helps the client produce the change they are seeking.
According to the Center for Disease Control, 65% of Americans are overweight. Thankfully, more and more people are becoming health conscious and addressing their weight problems. Due to this, there has been a dramatic increase in need for support with weight management. Educated, certified, sophisticated wellness professionals make up the fastest growing field, and are ever-increasing in popularity.
Wellness coaches can play many roles in the lives of their clients. Coaches have been known to visit homes and help clients with building and organizing workspaces and restructuring pantry contents. Coaches help find the right exercise and nutrition plans, teach healthy cooking classes, and give private healthy cooking lessons. Coaches accompany clients food shopping and teach healthy economical shopping habits, they help clients with job hunting, finding social opportunities and outlets, and also planning social gatherings.
A good wellness coach has an area they specialize in. Weight loss, smoking cessation, exercise and nutrition are among those specialities. It’s important to select a coach who has experience and specific knowledge in the area you are seeking change. A good wellness coach must also carry an accredited certification as a Certified Wellness Coach, or another title. Certification is obtained after completing a course of study with an accredited institute, and is maintained through earning Continued Education Credits and recertification every two years.
The ideal candidate for coaching is one who has come to the realization they need to adjust their lifestyle. They may have even formerly led a healthier lifestyle and have since lost their way. This person is open and motivated to making change and committed to the process. A wellness coach cannot help someone who is not in the proper stage of readiness.
Change is not immediate, but gradual. It may take a period of months to produce lasting change. The length of time required is determined by the size of the goal.
A wellness coach supports clients with their own individual emotional, mental, nutritional and physical needs. Whether clients want to lose some weight, eat better, have more energy, quit smoking, or start hitting the gym, a wellness coach may be a great place to start.
-O. Salim Thornton, CWC