First, we'll go into some things you should consider and ask yourself before you begin your search.
Preparing for your health coach search
Before you start your search for a coach, it’s important to take some time to reflect on what kind of coaching you are looking for. Because there are many types of health coaches that focus on different things, you'll want to make sure you find the best fit for you.
You'll want to do the following:
Consider your health and lifestyle goals
What do you want to accomplish in terms of your health? Are you looking to lose weight? Increase your energy? Reduce stress? Or become a healthier version of yourself? Just like any other goal, it’s important to have a clear idea of what you want and the purpose behind it. Only then can you articulate the type of help you need.
Here are some questions you should consider:
• What kind of lifestyle do I want to create?
• What areas of my life need the most help?
• What kind of coaching style do I prefer?
• What kind of support system do I want in a coach?
Assess your budget
Health insurance does not typically cover health coaching services (for now), and the cost of working with a health coach can vary depending on many factors, such as the coach's qualifications, experience, and location. In general, health coaches may charge anywhere from $50 to $300 (this is a ballpark) per session for their services. Some health coaches may offer packages or discounted rates for multiple sessions.
Understanding how much you can or are willing to invest in your health is essential before you start looking for a health coach, because this will help you narrow down potential options.
Although insurance may not cover the cost of health coaching today, it is possible that insurance companies may begin to cover health coaching in the future.
Think about how much support you need
Are you someone who wants to know there is someone in your corner when you need them, or do you prefer more consistent support?
For those looking for someone to be a consistent partner in their health journey, you may want to work with a health coach longer-term. On the other hand, if you are just looking for occasional guidance and advice, then working with a health coach on an as-needed basis may be the right option for you.
All the things we have listed above are important, as they will help you prepare for when you start to send inquiries and book consultations with potential health coaches.
Now let's move onto what you should look for in a coach and how to find one.
What to look for in a health coach
Investing in your health is a big step, and you'll want to be sure that you’ve found the right partner to help you reach your goals.
Here are some things you should look for in a potential health coach:
- Certification and qualifications: Look for health coaches who are certified by a reputable organization, and accredited by the National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching. This can ensure that the coach has the necessary training and experience to provide high-quality services.
- Areas of expertise: Consider what health concerns or goals you want to address with a health coach, and look for coaches who have experience and expertise in those areas. For example, if you want to improve your diet and exercise habits, look for a coach with experience working with clients on these issues.
- Personal approach and compatibility: It's important to feel comfortable and at ease with your health coach. Look for coaches who have a personal approach and style that resonates with you, and who you feel you can trust and confide in.
- Fees and payment options: Discuss fees and payment options with potential health coaches before starting work with them. Consider whether the coach's rates are within your budget, and whether they offer package rates or other discounts.
- Location and availability: Consider the coach's location and availability, especially if you prefer in-person sessions. Some health coaches may offer virtual coaching options, which can provide more flexibility and convenience.
Be wary of coaches who make unrealistic promises or try and prescribe treatments or supplements without the proper qualifications. A qualified health coach should always provide evidence-based information, and be honest about what they can and cannot do for you.
Here are some warning signs of a potentially unprofessional health coach:
- Lack of professional credentials or certification. Health coaching is a relatively new field, and not all health coaches are required to have formal training or certification. However, health coaches who are members of professional organizations such as the NBHWC typically undergo rigorous training and have demonstrated their expertise in the field.
- Unclear or unrealistic promises. Health coaching is not a quick fix or a magic pill, and a good health coach will be realistic and honest about what you can expect from the coaching process. Be wary of coaches who make unrealistic promises or guarantee specific results.
- Lack of personalized approach. A good health coach will take the time to get to know you and your unique goals and challenges, and tailor their coaching approach to your specific needs. Be wary of coaches who use a cookie-cutter approach or try to push you into a specific program or set of techniques.
- Poor communication or accessibility. A professional health coach will be responsive, accessible, and open to answering your questions and providing support. Be suspicious of coaches who are difficult to contact or seem uninterested in your progress or well-being.
- High pressure sales tactics. A good health coach will be upfront and transparent about their fees and policies, and will never pressure you to make a decision or commit to a program. Be wary of coaches who use high pressure sales tactics or who try to convince you to sign up for a program without giving you time to think it over.
How to find a health coach
Health coaching has been around for some time, but it has only recently become more widespread. And since the popularity of health coaching is relatively new, there is no standard way to find one, such as Google Maps, to find a local restaurant or gym.
Below we list some ways to find a health coach, along with their advantages and disadvantages:
The NBHWC Directory
The National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching's directory of board certified health and wellness coaches is one of the most reliable and safest ways to find a health coach. All coaches listed on this directory are certified professionals and have met the minimum education and experience requirements set by the NBHWC (which is becoming the standard for the health coaching industry).
- Assurance that all the coaches listed have met certain standards and have a certain level of knowledge and experience in the field.
- Allows you to directly contact a health coach.
- The information you find on a health coach is minimal and doesn't help you get to know the health coach in more detail before reaching out.
- It only includes health coaches who have become board certified, and not those who may be preparing to become board certified.
Be Healthful is an online marketplace for health coaching, with its main focus on connecting certified health coaches with potential clients. All the health coaches listed have been vetted to ensure they have the skills and qualifications to provide quality services.
- Allows you to search for health coaches based on various criteria, such as location, specialty, and availability, and much more.
- You can get detailed information about each health coach before reaching out. This includes client reviews, introduction videos, a full list of credentials and more.
- The directory includes board certified health coaches, as well as those preparing to take the board exams within a year of their listing being published on the platform.
- Allows you to directly contact a health coach.
- It only lists health coaches from the United States (as of this writing).
- It's a relatively new platform, so they don't have many health and wellness coaches listed.
You can also find health coaches on social media, such as Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Many health coaches are active users of social media, and you can search for them on the basis of their location, specialty or other criteria.
- Easy to use and access at any time.
- Allows you to get a more detailed view of the health coach before reaching out. You can look at their posts, reviews from clients, and other information that can help make an informed decision about whether they are a suitable fit for you.
- It's not always easy to find qualified health coaches using social media, as there is no way to verify their qualifications or past experiences.
- It takes a lot of time and effort to search for the right health coach on social media.
Word of mouth
Another way to find a coach is through word of mouth. If you know someone who has used the services of a health coach, they may provide useful information and insights that can help you make an informed decision.
- The best way to get honest feedback is from someone who has actually experienced the services of a health coach.
- It can save you time and effort in your search for a qualified health coach.
- This method doesn't always provide enough information to make an informed decision about whether a particular health coach is qualified or not.
- It's also not helpful if you don't know anyone who has used the services of a health coach.
- Views can be biased, as word of mouth is based on personal opinion and experience. It is typically better to have a handful of opinions/reviews to get a more accurate picture of what to expect from a particular health coach.
Health care providers
Your local doctor or health care provider might also help you find qualified health coaches or wellness coaches in your area. Many health care providers are beginning to partner with health coaches, and they can provide you with referrals that are specific to your needs.
- They already know you and understand your health needs – this makes it easier for them to make the right recommendation.
- This is a great way to get unbiased referrals from someone in the medical field who understands what kind of health coaching you need.
- Your health care provider might not be familiar with all the health coaches in your area, so they may not provide you with enough options.
- They may also require that you use the services of a particular health coach or wellness coach, which limits your ability to choose the one best suited for your needs.
- They might also have limited information about the health coach’s qualifications, experience and whether or not they are taking on new clients.
There are online directories that list certified health and wellness coaches in the United States and other countries. These directories usually compile information about each health coach, such as qualifications and experiences.
- They provide detailed information about each health coach – this makes it easier to compare different health coaches and make an informed decision.
- Not all online directories are comprehensive or up-to-date – some may list health coaches who are no longer available.
- It's also important to note that these directories may not provide enough information about the qualifications and experience of each health coach, so it’s best to do your own research before making a decision.
- Some directories require payment to access the information, so you may need to factor this into your budget.
Gyms and fitness centers often have a personal trainer, who is also a health or wellness coach. They can provide valuable insight into the services the coach offers, and how they might help you achieve your health and wellness goals.
- You can get an insider's perspective from someone who works regularly with the coach.
- You can also get a sense of the coach's style and how they work with clients.
- It may be easier to book an appointment with a health coach already associated with your gym or fitness center.
- The health coaches at your local gym or fitness center might not specialize in the areas you need help with.
- They may also be limited in the number of sessions they can offer you, so you might not get as much help as you need.
- It's important to remember that the health coach at your gym or fitness center is likely employed by them, so their loyalty may lie with the facility rather than with you.
A good ole web search
Lastly, you can always do a good old-fashioned web search to find qualified health and wellness coaches. Doing a simple Google search for “health coach” or “wellness coach” in your area can give you plenty of results to choose from (depending on whether there are some practicing in your area).
- It's free, fast and easy to use. You can also narrow down your search by adding specific keywords, such as “certified” or “experienced” health coach, in your area.
- There may be no reliable way to vet the qualifications of each health coach, so it's important to do some research before choosing one.
- There may also be many unqualified or inexperienced health coaches listed in your search results, making it hard to find a qualified professional.
- It can also take a lot of time and effort to go through all the search results.
There are various ways to find a qualified health and wellness coach. However, it is important to do your research and ensure that the coach you choose meets all the necessary qualifications and requirements.
Overall, it is important to read reviews and ask for references, so that you can get a better idea of how health coaches work.
Interviewing potential health coaches
Once you make a list of coaches, that may be a good fit, it is important to interview them. This will help you better understand their background, wellness expertise, and approach to health coaching. Interviewing allows you to get a more accurate picture of what to expect from a particular health coach.
Additionally, it gives you the opportunity to ask questions about their process and fees, so that you can make the best choice for your particular situation.
Questions to ask
- Can you tell me about your background and experience as a health coach? This will help you understand the coach's qualifications and experience, and whether they have the knowledge and expertise to help you achieve your goals.
- What is your philosophy and approach to health coaching? This will help you understand the coach's perspective and how they plan to support you in achieving your goals.
- How will we work together, and what can I expect from our sessions? This will help you understand the coach's process and what you can expect in terms of frequency, length, and format of sessions.
- How will you help me set goals and track my progress? This will help you understand how the coach will support you in setting and achieving your goals, and how they will help you measure your progress along the way.
- What is your cancellation and rescheduling policy? This will help you understand the coach's policies and procedures for scheduling and rescheduling sessions, and what to expect if you need to cancel or reschedule.
- What are your fees and payment terms? This will help you understand the coach's fees and payment policies, and whether they offer discounts or payment plans.
The questions above are just a few to get you started, but the key is to ask questions that help you understand the coach's qualifications, approach, and process, and whether they are a good fit for your needs and goals.
Assessing compatibility and fit
After interviewing potential health coaches, it is important to assess your compatibility and fit with each coach. This will help you decide which one best meets your needs and goals, and whether they have the skills necessary to support you in achieving them.
They can have all the credentials in the world, but if they don't have the right energy or attitude for you, it won't be a good fit. So, assess whether the coach is someone you feel would create a safe space while you work with them, and who you could imagine yourself having success with.
The last thing to do is choose, and that's what we will discuss next.
Making the decision
After interviewing a few different health coaches, you'll need to make a decision about which one to choose. Here are a few steps you can take to help you make a decision:
Reflect on your goals and priorities: Take some time to reflect on your health and wellness goals and priorities, and consider how each coach can help you achieve those goals.
Compare and contrast the coaches: Compare and contrast the different coaches you interviewed, and consider factors such as their qualifications, experience, approach, communication skills, and fees.
Consult with others: If you're comfortable doing so, consider consulting with friends, family, or colleagues who have worked with a health coach in the past. They may be able to provide valuable insights and recommendations based on their own experiences.
Trust your instincts: Ultimately, the decision is yours, so trust your instincts and choose the coach who feels like the best fit for you.
Be open to making a change: If you choose a coach and it doesn't work out, don't be afraid to make a change. The important thing is to find a coach who is a good fit for your needs and goals. Don't be afraid to look for other health coaches if you need to.
Finding the right health coach takes time, but it’s worth it to be patient and find someone knowledgeable and experienced. The right coach will help you reach your goals, so take the time to find the best one for you.
Good luck on your journey to sustained health and wellness.