Health Coaches: How to Find One Who's Right for You

People who have a really dialed-in health routine have often traveled a long and winding road to get there. With all the trending diets, breaking news of what’s cancerous this week, and lobbyist-funded articles being circulated throughout social media, getting healthy can be daunting. However, the wellness industry is finally growing enough that finding someone for guidance is often as easy as a google search.
With that said, then comes the challenge of finding someone who’s actually qualified in a sea of pyramid-scheme representatives calling themselves “health coaches.” Here are a few ways to suss out someone’s qualifications before working with them:
  • Visit their website. If they don’t have one, it’s safe to assume they need some time to grow their business. If the eyes are the windows to the soul, then the website is the window of the business.
  • Ask for their credentials. There’s no shame in simply asking someone what their qualifications are. If you’re going to be paying them for their services, it’s comforting and important to know they’re knowledge is measurable.
  • Notice the manner in which they communicate. Are they offering genuine services through a vetted company? Or do their services come tied to products? If the latter is true, they most likely work as a representative or sponsor to a corporation, rather than having received legitimate education and certification in the field.


Now that you know how to tell whether or not a health coach is legitimate, the next step is determining whether they’re right for you. Credentials are certainly important when it comes to improving your health, but nearly equally important to your success is the connection you have with your coach.
A coach/client relationship should be carried out in a professional manner. Let the client’s needs come first, and create a sense of trust and comfort. The ethical boundaries between a coach and client are critical to a successful journey! Let’s be honest, though - we also need to like our coach in order to keep going back. A coach may have written the book on ethics and taken the best courses possible, but if they don’t “click” with a client, it’s likely the relationship is over before it really begins.
There is plenty of literature on different types of coach personalities, but the truth is, they can’t simply be grouped into categories such as “the cheerleader” or the “strict enforcer.” Clients are going to be working with their coaches for at least several weeks; to only interact with them as an archetype of a coach would feel insincere. Health coaches are in the unique position of having to maintain professionalism while expressing an authentic personality in order to make a lasting connection with their clients. The personality traits you need in a coach often won’t be apparent until you meet them, but it may be helpful to arrive with some coaching style prerequisites.
Consider these as a start:
I would be most motivated by a coach who has light / moderate / heavy involvement in my fitness and nutrition journey.  
I feel excited when someone pushes me to continue my workout when I get tired.
I feel nervous and insecure when someone pushes me during my workout; I’d rather they let me stop when I’m tired.
I have self-efficacy when it comes to changing my eating habits; I just want weekly check-ins.
I am not the best at sticking to dietary changes; I really need a coach who will check in with me every day.
I need someone who will bring a light-hearted sense of humor to the table; laughter helps me feel comfortable.
I need someone who brings a serious nature to the table; I feel I’ll be more productive with stern instruction.

Already healthy? Great! Health coaches are not just for those who are out of shape or eat poorly, because that’s not the definition of health. Health is about full spectrum wellness, and with the many modern external factors that affect our lives, achieving full spectrum wellness can feel out of reach.
Although poor eating habits and lack of exercise have certainly become major issues in today’s world, possibly the biggest problem of all is stress. Stress is like an inflamed wound, and as we know, inflammation is the root of ailment. Seeking out a coach for stress management guidance is already becoming popular, and will no doubt continue to grow in popularity with all the positive results. There’s never going to be a wrong time to begin the journey to healthfulness; each moment is full of opportunity. Whether you’re already in the game, you’re ready for a change, or your health is forcing you to make a change, deciding to find a health coach instead of going it alone can be the determining factor in your long-term success.
We need more health coaches in the world! If you’re interested in becoming a health coach yourself, there are several programs that offer an in-depth education. I attended the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts, which is an accredited university in Arizona. I received my education online over the course of 1½ years with a degree as a Holistic Wellness Practitioner, plus two certifications through the National Academy of Sports Medicine as a Fitness and Nutrition Specialist and a Behavior Change Specialist. I loved this program because they offered a science-based education with an alternative/spiritual outlook. I suggest doing some research to find the best option for you, what’s close, what’s affordable, what’s accredited, and what style of education best suits you.
About Holly White
Holly White Health is an Arizona-based business celebrating passion for wellness and self-exploration. Holly is a certified fitness and nutrition specialist, behavioral change specialist, holistic wellness practitioner, and yoga teacher. She takes clients in person, over video chat, or phone. Her new wellness sanctuary opens on June 15th in Flagstaff, Arizona. At Sky Island Sanctuary, she will offer holistic health coaching, personal training, and private yoga sessions. To schedule an appointment or learn more, please visither website.
Follow Holly on Instagram @hollywhitehealth



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