A Wellness Coaching Career

By the end of this article, students should be able to:

§ identify personal and professional reasons to participate in wellness coaching;

§ learn a brief history of wellness coaching;

§ understand that a wellness coach does not need additional education or a degree.


Wellness coaching is a relatively new phenomenon. Not only can students benefit from applying the basics of wellness coaching to their own lives, but they can take what they know and funnel it into a new career. While it is not necessary to fully embrace everything in this article, your clients will expect you to have a wide-ranging wealth of knowledge. Yet, one of the greatest benefits of wellness coaching is that you will always be learning. Your clients will learn from you, and you will learn from them.

In all things, adopt an attitude of curiosity. A curious attitude is a fantastic tool for guarding against coming across as judgmental. Some clients will have some insecurity about beginning this voyage and fear that you are going to tell them everything they already know and do is wrong, that everything must be changed. This could not be less true!

Wellness coaching, for both client and practitioner, takes the experiences already had in life and uses them in a way that is beneficial. Whether this means learning from mistakes or recalling times of success, there is nothing that cannot contribute to one's wellness now and in the future. This is reassuring for both of you because it says, "You are the expert in your own life. Together, we will guide you to finding your best approach to wellness."

As a professional who wishes to develop a career in wellness coaching, there are any number of reasons to choose this path.

Professional Benefits to Wellness Coaching

§ You will be in control of your own schedule. You work when you want to!

§ You can choose the environment in which to practice. You can meet with your clients in the park, at a gym, or at a coffee shop. Any place where the coaching will be beneficial to both you and your client is a great choice, so be creative.

§ You can choose which clients you take on. You are not relegated to taking only those clients who have insurance or anyone your boss assigns to you. You make the choice and work with whom you want.

Interested in learning more? Why not take an online Wellness Coaching course?

§ Your overhead costs will be low. You will probably find it necessary to have some basic home office equipment; at the least, you should have a phone line, computer and Internet connection, and an all-in-one copier/printer/fax/scanner.

§ You will constantly be learning about your own wellness, which benefits both you and your clients

§ You are in control of your own paperwork and organization. Unlike therapists, doctors, psychologists, etc., who have to follow paperwork requirements dictated by Medicare, other insurance companies' needs, or their company's requirements, you decide what you need to record and keep on file.

§ You choose your price point. This can even be flexible, depending on your or the client's needs.

Personal Benefits to Wellness Coaching

§ You actively participate in setting goals. Unlike going to counseling, therapy, a psychologist, or a psychiatrist, you will have far more input into what you want to work on.

§ Education and experience in body awareness, or body wellness. Even though we have lived in our bodies for our entire lifetimes, there is often a lot we just do not know. Wellness coaching will help you tap into what your body is telling you.

§ Understanding the power, or wellness, of the mind. Many of us have heard that we use only a small percentage of our brains. Wellness coaching will help you make the most of your "gray matter."

§ Relying on a higher power to get you through, or spiritual wellness. Wellness coaching, in most cases, does not focus on any one particular religion or spiritual path. It is not the job of the coach to judge but to help you meet your own goals in regard to spirituality. As with the other areas of wellness coaching, you decide if you want to participate in this area or not.

§ Getting clarification in money matters, or financial wellness. Even the most affluent among us probably has some money concerns. Wellness coaching will help you find peace with what you have and what you do not.

§ Strategies for times of crisis. It is part of being human; we all have crises in our lives that can shake us to our core. Wellness coaching can help you come up with your own personal crisis plan to help you get through those times.

§ Lack of stigma. The mental health industry has come a very long way with beating the stigma of receiving therapy and other mental health treatments. However, most in the mental health industry would agree there is still a stigma. Such a stigma is not attached to wellness coaching.

Now that we have explored some of the personal and professional benefits to engaging in wellness coaching, let us address the history of this service.

A Brief History of Wellness Coaching

Coaching is a term that has been associated with sports for well over a century. But it is only in the last couple of decades that coaching has started to be applied to any variety of life skills. There are job coaches who help employees master the skills needed to perform their jobs to the best of their abilities. There are life coaches who provide many of the same services as a wellness coach but do not specialize in any one area. More recently, a new coaching area has found ground: dating coaching. If you have seen the movie "Hitch," starring Will Smith, you will know what this term means.

More recently, wellness coaching is being adopted by businesses and corporations who have an interest in lowering their employees' reliance on health insurance. Wellness coaching is seen as a proactive and cost-effective measure for employees and employers both. By spending a bit of money up front and offering employees wellness coaches, they save money overall by improving their employees' health. This makes employers and insurance providers happy and, best of all, is fully beneficial for its recipients.

Going back even further in time, mental health specialists such as therapists and counselors were not required to be licensed or have any sort of specified education. Truly, anyone who wished to call himself or herself a counselor or therapist needed just to print up some business cards or hang a sign that said so. With the massive changes in the insurance industry, regulation became necessary to ensure that the insured were receiving quality care from educated professionals. This was a positive change in many respects; just as consumers are entitled to regulations for food and drugs that have to show proof that their claims are valid, mental health clients deserve qualified practitioners. The downside is that many effective practitioners found themselves unable to continue making a living doing what they did best: motivating clients to reach their potential.

Wellness coaching is a valid enterprise for anyone who wishes to motivate or be motivated; to find wellness for noncritical issues or guide others in the same; and to take one's own life experiences and apply them in a way that is helpful for others who do not need or desire mental health services. Wellness coaching works for the client in the manner that suits him or her best, whether that be a kick in the butt, figuratively speaking, or cheering from the sidelines.

Why Don't Wellness Coaches Need a Specific Education or License?

The short and simple answer is that wellness coaching is too new a phenomenon for that. As noted above, mental health providers were not regulated or required to have a specific education for many years. It is entirely possible, indeed likely, that some day in the future coaching will have regulations. Some schools are starting to provide coaching education programs. As health insurance costs continue to go up, along with the prices of mental health services, it is a pretty good bet that insurance companies will one day see the advantage to reimbursing for coaching services. This is not right around the corner, and when and if it does happen, there likely will be so-called "grandfather exemptions" for those already in the industry.

Now is the perfect time to be involved with wellness coaching, whether you wish to be a client or practitioner. There is a lot of flexibility in terms of practice, fees, and approaches. Coaching and wellness are fantastic companions; the coach and the client are in a partnership that benefits both and leads to a positive cycle of reinforcement for both.

There is no diagnosis involved, no need to explore one's past if the client is not interested, and no medications. The coach and client set the parameters in which their partnership will work. The lack of necessary formal education and licenses allows the coach and the client unlimited creativity in designing a plan that serves them best.