It’s no surprise that this is the immediate question. It’s a fairly new profession and the term “wellness” has become ubiquitous in just about any phrase you can imagine. Wellness center, financial wellness, pet wellness, and on and on…
If you follow my posts and social media, it’s easy to see helping moms create a greater sense of overall wellness in their lives would be my focus.
With that being said, the possibilities for how I might work with a client can vary greatly, but the common tie is that they’ve set their own personal needs aside to help their family, succeed at work, and take on a myriad of other responsibilities that they’ve left out time needed to take care of themselves, and now they’re feeling depleted, drained of energy, and need some focus to get themselves back on a path to feeling well again. Maybe that’s changing a few eating habits, maybe it’s finding time for exercise, or maybe it’s just needing someone else to show them how well they are doing and creating some accountability to keep going.
The path for success in wellness coaching is different with each person, but the goals are similar – to feel your best again so you can show up as the person you want to be in the world – whether that’s an ultra present mom, a successful business owner, or a mix of it all.
So here’s where I’ll be totally transparent. Trying to explain what a wellness coach does in a short casual conversation is HARD.
Sometimes it’s easier to talk about the things you might be surprised to know about wellness coaching rather than what a wellness coach does.
So, if you’ve been hearing how this quickly expanding profession of wellness coaching and wondering if it’s something you should look into, here are a few things you might find surprising to learn:
1. You won’t get a customized meal plan or system.
It’s pretty common to hear “wellness coach” in a conversation and immediately think food, which isn’t wrong, but we don’t prescribe a specific meal plan for you to follow. Instead, we might refer you to work with a dietitian for specific dietary needs and then work with you to help follow any professional recommendations in a way that fits best with your lifestyle.
Have you ever tried to start a new health program and found that you lasted for about 3 days before you dropped off? You’re not alone. This is where a wellness coach comes in. We can help you take a big lifestyle change or dietary change and break it down in a way that’s realistic for your current lifestyle while maintaining the motivation you need to continue to make small adjustments along the way. Before long, that big scary healthy lifestyle change you were trying to make will seem like a natural part of living your life!
2. You won’t get a lecture
Wellness coaching is about creating an open and non-judgemental space to talk about where you are currently in your health & wellness and where you’d like to go. You won’t be lectured or reprimanded for less healthy behaviors because, well, that’s just not effective. Wellness coaches are here to meet you where you’re at, help you clarify where you’d like to go with your health and wellness and help you realize the strengths you have that you can leverage to help you get there.
3. Wellness coaches don’t expect perfection
We get that things happen – best-laid plans fall through sometimes, and slips in goals will happen. It’s completely human and hey, we’re human too, so we get it.
The best coaching happens when we can help you get through a moment of adversity, which builds your belief and confidence in being able to get through challenges on your own in the future.
A wellness coach’s goal is to help you create lifelong healthy habits, not just short-term changes. Experiencing the ups and downs are all part of the process. So the best thing you can do when working with a wellness coach is to just be honest. If you have a rough week, that’s what we’re here for. Let’s talk through what happened and I promise we’ll be able to spot a few positives in any rough week and talk through some ideas to get you back on track without feeling guilty or like you failed.
4. Wellness coaches can help you do more than just lose weight.
It’s true, one of the most common reasons people reach out to me is because they want to lose weight. But, after a quick conversation, there’s so much to it. Low energy, feeling depleted, stressed about work & life, always rushing during the week and never getting time for themselves, which leaves them emotional, eating sweets, and feeling less than their best.
Can a wellness coach help you lose weight? Absolutely – and they’ll probably be able to help you work through those reasons why weight became an issue in the first place all while finding new healthy habits that feel great and in alignment with the life you want to live.
5. Not all coaches are equal.
If you search a few health-related hashtags in the ‘gram, it might seem like everyone and their cousin is becoming health and wellness coaches these days. There are a lot of us out there! At first though, you might think that we’re all the same, but in fact, there have been some big steps put into place around wellness coaching to help differentiate coaches who have gone through proper training to have the right skills and experience to safely and effectively help you achieve your goals.
First, being certified can be a helpful indicator that they’ve received some level of training. If you’re researching a wellness coach, check to see where they were certified and if it’s a credible source.
Second, the National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching partnered with the Medical Examiners Board a few years ago to create a National Board Certification for Health & Wellness Coaches. This board certification ensures that a coach has been through an accredited training program, completed a significant number of practice hours, and pass a board exam that demonstrated they understand the key concepts and skills needed to be an effective coach.
If you’re not sure which coach would be the right one to work with, making sure they are a NBC-HWC is a great place to start.
Then, be sure you get on the phone and talk to them to make sure you’re a good fit. If you ever feel pressured or pushed into working with a wellness coach, it might be a good sign to keep looking for the right one.
If you’ve always wondered what a health and wellness coach does, hopefully, this helped to shed some light on how a wellness coach could help you.