When you work in the field as a wellness coach, you will notice a fair amount of diversity within the dynamics of coaching people. You will find your skills will include and draw from life coaching, spiritual coaching, health, and fitness coaching, and even some diversity coaching, to help others embrace and celebrate who they are and who they want to be.
Despite all of the advances that are seen in medical science, there are still a lot of people who live an unhealthy lifestyle. These people can be your clients and they are overweight, stressed or indulging in unhealthy behaviors that might include smoking or consuming alcohol excessively, or even using illegal or illicit drugs. The wellness coach needs to be trained to be able to work one-on-one with clients and to help them to find better ways to pursue healthier lifestyles.
As a profession, wellness coaching remains fairly new. As we know it today, the state of wellness coaching began to shape itself in the mid to late 1990s.
Being a wellness coach is not the same thing as being a personal trainer since physical activity or exercise is not always the behavior change that we would want for our client. When a wellness coach works with a client, it is typically to encourage the client to change those parts of their life that are most unhealthy. This could include changing dietary habits or food intake, getting more physical activity, or even quitting smoking.
Good coaches do not simply tell clients that they have to start changing behaviors or tell them what they need to do. A good wellness coach will work with the client to figure out how the client’s present life is contributing to behaviors that might need to be changed and what can be done to change everyday living so that behavior changes come about easier.
In an ideal setting, wellness coaching would create a positive relationship between both the coach and the client. The coach would look at the person (the client) and their lifestyle, prior to helping the client in the decision process for change. This is another way of saying that you will be assessing the client. Remember that assessments come into the coaching process a few ways.
First, there are the informal assessments that you do through conversation and motivational interviewing, to learn more about your client’s beliefs and values. It is generally safe to work toward the client’s goals with these two items in mind. Other ways that we assess our client is through physical assessments.
We could get into detail tied to how wellness coaching and how wellness has become more omnipresent in our lives today, but suffice it to say that during the 20th century, Western medicine and modern lifestyles have brought the populations of developed nations into high-risk status. The quantity and variety of vitamins and minerals in our food and our diets have declined as food becomes more processed and sources for it are less varied. Compared to 100 years ago, we have increased our fat intake from about 20% of our daily calories to the current amount of nearly 35% of average fat intake of all calories consumed on a daily basis.
What’s important for you right now is to understand that you are part of a revolution. The current size of the wellness industry as a whole is increasing, and the need for experienced, qualified and effective coaches has never been greater. Try to think about what your place in this developing industry will be. Keep in mind that there is something even more important than what your skill sets are or what your value is – and that is your impact on the world in which we live.
Since this form of coaching is relatively new there are few standards that are in place for the wellness coach to operate within. The current recommendation is that clients look for individuals with a degree in related health, physical fitness or even nutrition field from a four year accredited university or through certification and diploma programs like the one you are taking here now. It’s always best for coaches to remember that clients are looking to find an experienced coach, with several years of experience working one-on-one with clients. Be sure to be able to provide multiple references paired with success stories for potential clients to see.
Diverse Clients in a Diverse Field
At this time the largest population in the United States is known as the baby boom generation – and they are the first wellness generation. This means that this is the first demographic group that is affected by those indicators of risk that have come to be as part of a lifestyle that has rendered millions of people sedentary, while also being affected by social factors from having been part of the baby boom as a whole. In our society, there is a limit to the number of topics that can occupy the public’s concern for any specific period of time, especially with a population like those making up the baby boomers. These topics are typically dominated1 by concerns related to health and wellness.
The generation known as baby boomers is nothing less than a phenomenon and handling this group’s health and wellness concerns will accelerate even more over the next 10 to 15 years, as baby boomers reach their sixth and seventh decades of life. As a side note, the economic power and social influence among this group are expected to stay very strong for the next two decades and beyond, depending on future events and trends.
But baby boomers behave differently than any prior generation. This group refuses to simply accept the aging process. One of the most important truths about baby boomers is that they are still what we consider the youth market. In the U.S, this group is believed to be responsible for roughly $7 trillion of our near $14 trillion national economy. These economics are descriptors of your typical client. Right now the wellness industry generates about $500 billion catering to baby boomers, but most revenue is generated by those born earlier within the boom. This group also is known for its diversity, as seen in how they spend their earnings.
Wellness coaches currently working in the field are rapidly learning to accommodate expanding markets, increasingly diverse workplace environments, and increasing public consciousness about how beneficial wellness coaching can be.
A well-rounded wellness coaching business model should have a three-stage design: wellness awareness, cross-cultural promotion, and integration via behavior modification.
The successful wellness coach has a genuine interest to learn about people from different backgrounds and experiences. This is not only ethically proper but without this innate quality, the wellness coach could not be expected to intervene on an interpersonal level, much less be effective at coaching diverse client loads to a higher state of wellness.
Naturally, we need to look no further than the workplace when considering diversity. A wellness coach functioning in a workplace environment will encounter far more diversity en masse than one who is delivering one-on-one, face-to-face coaching. It is entirely possible, with the diversification of wellness coaching, that you may find yourself fulfilling both roles.
Workplace diversity is more than a euphemism for cultural or racial differences. This type of definition is too narrow and focuses attention away from the broad range of issues that a diverse workforce poses. Diversity results from people who bring different resources and perspectives to a group and have distinct needs, preferences, expectations, and lifestyles. Since you may ultimately work in this type of setting, try to reflect on ways you could integrate into these types of environments and how you could be instrumental on a larger scale.
In diverse environments or settings, wellness coaching is used in the same manner — to address the physical and mental health of the subjects being served with coaching services.
A diverse wellness program would provide comprehensive coaching services, geared toward health promotion programs and services to organizations with diverse employee populations. Your ability to be culturally appropriate and respectful of diversity is one way to design a coaching business model that reaches out to individuals without regard to judgments or circumstances. Furthermore, a diverse wellness coaching program and business model would be designed to engage and motivate clients to make healthy lifestyle changes. Should you find yourself coaching in this type of setting, be aware that sometimes health insurance costs and other business components factor into your success.
For instance, a corporate client who retained your coaching services would like to see leading risk factors and other measurable concerns improved by your interactions. Other benefits, such as absenteeism and job performance, are also closely watched as part of the benefit to the coaching process. In the business world, we call this ROI, or return on investment. So you can see that not only do you have the power to positively impact people’s lives, but you also may serve to contain costs tied to the health and wellness of the group you are coaching, as a whole.
Remember, essentially your clients want to both feel good and be well. We all strive to be in control and to feel better, both physically and emotionally. Most of your clients will also be looking to you for this because the gap between wanting to be well and the everyday realities is very real. The physical health penalties of our lifestyles do not lend themselves to keeping well, and instead is riddled with overeating calories, sedentary lifestyles, and all the while, not having enough time to manage health and wellness concerns.
We can view diversity in the field of wellness in two ways. You’ll be expected to have a diverse understanding of health and wellness sciences, you will also serve a diverse population base, regardless of where you implement your business model. Being mindful and respectful of this diversity is vital to your success if you work in wellness. After you have some experience in your practice, you will notice that, while people you coach as clients are very different, their needs as they relate to wellness, are all very similar.
Your clients will be diverse, but your operating framework will not change just because of this. The only changes you will see in delivery or approach will be based on the different concerns, issues or problems your clients bring with them to the coach/client relationship.
Your Wellness Coaching Career
Becoming a Certified Wellness Coach is the perfect addition for the fitness professional who wants to offer more all-inclusive wellness services to clients. The time is now for you to enjoy this exciting and rewarding career, which offers you personal fulfillment while improving the lives of others.
Already started your Wellness Coaching Career? Learn more about becoming a Certified Corporate Wellness Coach. This niche market is exploding with opportunity!
Spencer Institute certification programs are open to anyone with a desire to learn and help others. There are no prerequisites.
That’s it for now.