Certified Wellness Coach, Level 1

Earn College credits or NASM CEUs

Certified Wellness Coaches model the fundamental philosophy that all change is self-change and that change is a process and a journey, not a single event. Behavior change is unique for each person, so Wellness Coaches help people explore their own readiness; strengths, skills, and resources; and process of change.

The purpose of the Certified Wellness Coach Training Program is to develop a cohort of trained community members of all ages, from teens to older adults, from professionals to lay people, who can influence and inspire those around them. They do this by modeling positive lifestyle choices, sharing accounts of their own wellness journey, and using evidence-based tools to help others reflect on their current state of health and wellness, and take action that works and fits for them.

How is Wellness Coaching Unique?

Wellness Coaching is not directing, teaching, counseling, advising, or mentoring.

Its purpose is to engage people in constructive, collaborative conversation and activity about their own wellness so they feel understood, and help them identify a process for growth and change that is individualized and uniquely tailored to each person.

It’s about encouraging people to be gentle with themselves as they explore ways to make changes in their lives that work for them and fit their needs, interests, and desires.

What Are the Qualifications for Certified Wellness Coach?

Anyone can be a Wellness Coach as long as they have a genuine respect for others and are dedicated to helping people explore wellness on their own terms.

For healthcare professionals, becoming a Wellness Coach is a good place to begin honing the skills that help clinicians give great patient-centered care. Becoming certified provides a solid grounding in using evidence-based approaches to promote important lifestyle changes in their patients and foster the kind of collaborative partnership that leads to higher patient satisfaction and better patient outcomes.

What Do Certified Wellness Coaches Do?

1. Tasks

  • Model wellness by making healthy choices for themselves
  • Advocate for wellness in daily activities and encounters with others
  • Engage people in constructive conversation about their thoughts and attitudes, needs, desires, and interests related to wellness
  • Make formal or informal presentations about their personal successes and journey on the path toward wellness
  • Share with others how using the science-based tools they’ve learned to use can help put sustainable change within everyone’s grasp
  • Lead formal support groups using Interactive Journaling and group learning activities

2. Setting and Structure for Wellness Coaching

  • Workplace, health clinics, schools, recreation centers, retail locations including pharmacies or grocery stores, community and senior centers, houses of worship, gyms, and any other settings conducive to conversation
  • Face-to-face, by telephone, or using digital technologies
  • Sessions with individuals, families, or groups

3. Tools to Promote Wellness Certified Wellness Coaches may use tools in their work with others that include:

  • Interactive Journaling® with individuals and groups in activities such as, journal clubs or workbook workshops
  • Slide presentations to engage individuals or groups in discussion, reflection, and action-planning for wellness

4. What Topics Do Wellness Coaches Address?

  • Behavioral: substance use and addiction, safe practices and risk reduction
  • Environmental: creating a personal space to enhance well-being, being a steward of natural resources in the world
  • Financial: planning and saving, cash and credit management, risk management
  • Medical and dental: screening, prevention, treatment, adherence
  • Nutritional: diet and healthy food choices, weight loss
  • Occupational: interests, skills, performance, satisfaction, environment, transitions
  • Physical: structured exercise, active lifestyle practices
  • Psychological: coping, stress management, problem solving, decision making
  • Social: family and social support and cohesion
  • Spiritual: core values, identity and purpose

How Are Certified Wellness Coaches Trained?

Certified Wellness Coaches are trained using a 36-hour training program, delivered online using multiple formats to accommodate individual learners’ unique learning styles and allows learners to advance at their own respective paces.

The format fosters active learning through assignments that require higher order thinking skills including analyzing, evaluating, and creating. The course offers a variety of learning activities, including reading written material, watching videos, completing writing assignments, and carrying out a variety of projects individually and in collaboration with other students. Students also will be asked to engage with members of their own social circle, such as family, friends, patients, or coworkers.

IWE is committed to modeling the philosophy and values of Wellness Coaching. This means that training is learner-centered, not instructor directed. The job of the instructor is to guide students to explore new material in ways that facilitate deep learning that is relevant, meaningful, and useful to each student.

Learning Objectives

  1. Describe the current state of health and wellness in America
  2. Describe the difference between health and wellness
  3. List factors that enable people to make sustainable change
  4. Use science-based strategies and tools to assist you in the change process, from thinking about change to sustaining change
  5. Describe the role Wellness Coaches can play at home, at work, and in their communities
  6. For each of the 10 dimensions of wellness:
      • Define the dimension
      • List key aspects of it
      • Describe the importance of wellness in it
      • Discuss how the dimension applies in your own life and the life others
      • Assess your level of wellness in it
      • Identify areas in which you want to make changes
  7. Develop and carry out plans for advocating wellness in your community
  8. Establish a collaborative relationship with coaching clients/groups
  9. Demonstrate empathy, understanding, and respect for client autonomy and choice
  10. Help others set appropriate behavioral goals based on their unique interests, needs, desires, and abilities
  11. Use tools and strategies that are part of the US National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP) to facilitate the self-change process for individuals and groups. These tools and strategies include Interactive Journaling® motivational interviewing, cognitive-behavioral approaches, positive psychology, and person-centered, relationship-focused approaches,
  12. Measure real-time outcomes using simple, effective, and evidence-based tools
  13. Provide wellness coaching services as a Certified Wellness Coach, Level 1 within the scope of practice for this level of certification
  14. Demonstrate group facilitation skills using at least 6 techniques
  15. Use Interactive Journaling in a systematic way to guide others on the path of sustainable change
  16. Assess the results of your wellness advocacy efforts using science-based outcomes measures

Check out IWE’s 5 Wellness Coaching Certification levels. The next available courses are shown below:

Certified Wellness Coach Level 1 (Advocate) Schedule

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US DOL Approved

IWE created the competencies and curriculum for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wellness Coaching Registered Apprenticeship Program.

Participating in IWE’s Wellness Coaching training courses may count toward fulfillment of the Registered Apprenticeship Program requirements.

Department of Labor: Certified Wellness Coach Bulletin and Curriculum



Free Download: Certified Wellness Coach - Level 1 brochure

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