Frequently Asked Questions
All About Wellness Coaching
One-on-one coaching is a proven, effective tool to help people make positive changes and keep them. Wellness coaching is a collaborative conversation between coach and client that shines a light on a client’s unique skills, strengths, and resources. Coaching helps clients define goals that are important to them and uses science-based strategies to help them achieve those goals.
Wellness coaches don’t provide the answers or create plans for their clients to follow. Instead, coaches help clients determine how to take wellness into their own hands by guiding each client to explore their own reasons, desires, ability, and needs for making change.
This includes helping clients: imagine a preferred future, define health and wellness goals, identify personal strengths and barriers, set target milestones, identify and carry out achievable health- and wellness-promoting behaviors, track and monitor progress, problem solve and recover from setbacks, celebrate successes, and influence and inspire those around them.
Wellness coaches motivate clients to set and prioritize goals and then follow them through to completion. Wellness coaches help clients build confidence and self-esteem to make changes and create new healthy habits. Their presence in a client’s life can provide organization and structure. With a wellness coach, a client has someone to be accountable to– the expert—who will also inspire them to succeed and be the best they can be.
Wellness coaching draws on the principles and methods of motivational interviewing, positive psychology, solution-focused approaches, the transtheoretical model of change, cognitive-behavioral approaches, structured journaling, and newer approaches, including the work of BJ Fogg, Gollwitzer and Oettingen, Langer, and Dweck. Many of these approaches are part of the US National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices.
History reveals that most of us simply can’t make major changes alone, be it for lack of organization, lack of confidence, or lack of motivation. For many reasons unique to each person, we don’t finish what we started and we’re back to “square one.” A Wellness Coach’s presence in a client’s life can provide organization and structure. With a Wellness Coach, a client has someone to be accountable to–the expert–who will also inspire them to succeed and be the best they can be.
Wellness Coaches put the client at the locus of control. They don’t force anything on their clients. Many professions teach people to give their clients solutions, but disregard the well-established data that sustained change comes from within a person. All change is really self change. Imposing solutions on people may deliver some temporary benefit, but sustained change won’t happen unless the person “owns” the process of change.
Rather than teaching, advising, directing, or prescribing what another person should do, Wellness Coaches act as guides to help others forge their own unique path toward greater well-being. This is done through empathic conversation and employing science-based tools and techniques to support the self-change process.
The Wellness Coach’s role is to provide support: Change is a highly individual process. Each person is unique, and change is an ongoing process.
Wellness Coaches use an approach that is person-centered, relationship-focused, and strength-based.
This means that the person being helped is in the driver’s seat making their own decisions about what works and fits for them. It’s relationship-focused because Wellness Coaches are partners in the change process. They become a trusted guide within a collaborative partnership to help people make the changes they want, the changes that achieve the right results for each person and that fit with the person’s values, interests, needs, and preferences. The approach is strengths-based because it focuses on the skills, strengths, and resources a person already has, what they’ve already been able to achieve–no matter how big or small the achievement–and the skills they want to develop. It’s not about blame, deficits, or what went wrong in the past.
Wellness Coaches help people tap into all of their personal assets and build on even the smallest successes because that’s the fuel that nurtures change. When change is done this way, people not only enjoy the benefits of the change, but they develop a rich set of competencies that can help them in other areas of their lives.
Wellness is one of today’s fastest growing industries and IWE’s Certified Wellness Coaches are perfectly positioned to make a difference. The industry is growing, and so is the demand for Wellness Coaches. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the occupation is projected to grow 25% more quickly than the average occupation over the next several years.
With more than 75% of healthcare costs due to preventable diseases related to lifestyle behaviors1, individuals, employers, and community organizations want and need solutions now.
Individuals want help from people they can trust, people who make them feel heard and understood, and who can help them reach goals they define as important, not some kind of expensive clinician or expert who has their own agenda about what’s right for the person. Employers want a solution for improving the well-being of their employees.
Communities, such as faith-based groups, schools, and other local organizations, want to make sure that they are serving their members. A big part of that service is helping members achieve optimum well-being because that’s what helps create a vital, thriving community.
Wellness Coaches can be deployed in a range of situations:
In Hospitals, Residential Care facilities and Physican’s offices: As Follow-up support for doctors and patients to help patients adhere to prescribed regimens for treatment and prevention
Health Insurance Companies: To help companies reduce their medical costs
In Private Practice: To help people work through their wellness aspirations
Health Clubs and Gyms: As a follow up to personal training
In Offices and bases: To be a local resource for Wellness related issues, “at the coalface” to help organize wellness related activities for their colleagues to create a healthier and more resilient workforce
According to Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin, we must move from a system that treats sickness and disease to a system that promotes wellness and prevention. Our goal must be to “increase the number of Americans who are healthy at every stage of life” by creating a system that recognizes that health isn’t just what happens in doctors’ offices, but “occurs where we live, where we learn, where we work, where we play and where we pray.”
Right now, the term “wellness coach” and the job are both so new that little data exists about comparative salaries. Other terms are often used to describe the job, or jobs inherently similar. Currently, Wellness Coaches are loosely classified by the Department of Labour under SOC code 21-1094.00 which is in the same category as Community Health Workers.
Occupation Description for O*NET-SOC Code: 21-1094.00 (from Careerinfonet.org)
“Assist individuals and communities to adopt healthy behaviors. Conduct outreach for medical personnel or health organizations to implement programs in the community that promote, maintain, and improve individual and community health. May provide information on available resources, provide social support and informal counseling, advocate for individuals and community health needs, and provide services such as first aid and blood pressure screening. May collect data to help identify community health needs.”
“Employment of Community health workers is expected to grow by 20-28% percent from 2010 to 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations. Growth will be driven by efforts to reduce healthcare costs by teaching people about healthy habits and behaviors.”
Summary Report for SOC Code: 21-1094.00 – Community Health Workers
National Wages for SOC Code: 21-1094.00
A Career with Great Flexibility and Opportunity
You can work in many different settings:
- on your own as an independent consultant
- as a staff member on a wellness team
- as part of your existing job
You’ll also enjoy:
- setting your own hours and fees
- developing a unique niche
- choosing your clientele
- establishing a comfortable, convenient environment for yourself and your clients
You’ll never run out of potential clients because everybody can benefit from effective support now and then.
If you dream of working in a medical setting, becoming a Wellness Coach has another benefit. That benefit is that you can become a certified Wellness Coach in a fraction of the time it would take to become another kind of healthcare professional, such as a physician, nurse, or pharmacist. You’ll still get to be on the healthcare team. And, you’ll still be able to make a difference in people’s lives.
You’re standing on the cusp of a new age that’s sure to open the door to many more opportunities for caring people to make a difference.
Wellness coaches can be versatile, also working as personal trainers, nutritionists or therapists. But just because someone is a trainer, nutritionist or therapist, doesn’t mean they are a wellness coach. You deserve a unique approach to your own personal wellness goals, and someone to help you attain them. Not all allied health practitioners are qualified to do that. Your wellness coaching begins with questions about your expectations of wellness—why it’s important to you and what path you envision to achieving wellness.
A therapist may want to know about where you’ve been, but a wellness coach will focus on where you’re going. A personal trainer may assign you an exercise routine and a nutritionist may prescribe a special diet, while a wellness coach sees both elements as part of the bigger picture of your “whole” wellness. Your wellness coach also knows that getting to that point won’t happen all at once, but a little at a time, and that long-lasting results are what matter most.
The average physician visit is between six and eight minutes, but your wellness coach would never presume that brief sessions are the way to maximize your goals. You need time to recognize what motivates you and what holds you back. Your coach will be there “all the way” to help you define wellness on your own terms.
In May 2013, the US Department of Labor (DoL) approved wellness coaching as an official US occupation based on IWE’s formulation of occupational competencies and training curriculum. The DoL’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) classifies wellness coaches under the occupational cluster of community health workers (SOC 21-1094.00). Community health workers:
- Assist individuals and communities to adopt healthy behaviors.*
- Conduct outreach for medical personnel or health organizations to implement programs in the community that promote, maintain, and improve individual and community health.
- May provide information on available resources, provide social support and informal counseling, advocate for individuals and community health needs, and provide services such as first aid and blood pressure screening.**
- May collect data to help identify community health needs.
*Excludes “Health Educators” (21-1091).
**Services, such as first aid and blood pressure screening, are provided by wellness coaches only if they have the professional licensing and credentialing associated with these services. Not all wellness coaches will have the training, licensing, or credentialing to provide these services.
- According to the U.S. Department of Labor (DoL), there were an estimated 54,300 community health workers in 2014.
- Employment of health educators will grow by projected to grow 15 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations.
In May 2013, the US Department of Labor approved a new apprenticeable occupation, based on the training requirements submitted by Dr Deborah Teplow of the Institute for Wellness Education:
O*NET-SOC Code: 21-1094.00
RAPIDS Code: 2016HY
Training Term: 2,000 hours
Type of Training: Hybrid
Registered Apprenticeship is a training system that produces highly skilled workers to meet the demands of employers competing in a global economy. A proven strategy, Registered Apprenticeship ensures quality training by combining on-the-job training with theoretical and practical classroom instruction to prepare exceptional workers for American industry.
The process of apprenticeship program registration with Federal and State government agencies is designed to ensure that working apprentices, program sponsors, and the general public can gain a clear understanding of the training content and the measures that are in place to ensure ongoing quality.
At the time of writing, the Institute’s Certified Wellness Coach is the ONLY Wellness Coaching course that meets the Department of Labor’s apprenticeship criteria.
The DoL Bulletin announcing the Wellness Coach Apprenticeship
Details of the Department of Labor apprenticeship scheme are available at www.doleta.gov/oa