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Health coaching is the process of providing instruction to an individual in order to improve his or her health. This might improve advice regarding diet or exercise, as well as advice on breaking unhealthy habits such as drinking or smoking. Health coaching is a popular career path, because many people who want to improve their lives, lose weight and get in shape will turn to a health coach for individualized advice. Some people will also consult a health coach for help in managing an illness, such as diabetes or heart disease.
There are no specific requirements for a career in health coaching, because most health coaches are independent consultants. Many health coaches have degrees in nutrition, psychological counseling, or some form of health and exercise education. When selecting a health coach, it is important to consider what qualifications they have, and select one with experience and knowledge in the proper fields. Health coaching can be a lucrative career, but it can also be dangerous if people dispense medical information without the proper training.
Health coaching takes place on a one-on-one basis. A person will make an appointment to meet with a health coach, either with a specific purpose in mind, or just to improve overall wellness. The health coach will then typically ask a series of questions regarding lifestyle habits. These will of course include questions regarding diet and exercise, but they may also involve things like the amount of stress in one's life, the average amount of sleep per day, or other personal issues.
Once these questions are answered, the health coach can begin to assess areas where changes can be made. Often, health coaches will encourage their clients to set goals, both short term and long term. This way, the client has something that he or she is working towards, and these goals can be modified as needed, or as they are met. It also helps to increase motivation and a sense of accomplishment, and progress can be discussed in future meetings.
A health coach may also be referred to as a wellness coach. Keep in mind that in some instances, health coaching may not be enough if the individual is suffering from a serious disorder. In that case, the health coach may recommend that the client make an appointment with a physician to rule out any medical conditions, or with a therapist to address more deeply rooted psychological issues or personal problems.