Despite the significant advances in medical science, there are many people who are still unhealthy. They’re overweight, stressed, or indulging in unhealthy behaviors like smoking and/or excessive alcohol and drug use. Time spent in a doctor’s office is usually minimal, and doctors’ schedules are so packed that they may simply address the issue of wellness by imploring patients to live in more intelligent ways or by delivering a sound lecture on the evils of certain behavior. This often doesn’t help the issue or encourage people to change, but suggesting a patient get wellness coaching instead might. A wellness coach is a trained person who will work one on one with clients to help them find ways to pursue a healthier lifestyle.
The wellness coaching field is fairly new, and began in the late 1990s. It is not the same as having a personal trainer, since exercise is not always the behavioral change that needs to occur. In contrast, a person who is a wellness coach works with clients to encourage them to change aspects of their lives that are most unhealthy, and this could include changing dietary habits, getting more exercise, or quitting smoking. However, a good coach won’t simply tell people they have to start dropping or engaging in behaviors. They’ll work with a client to figure out how present life contributes to those behaviors, and what can be done to change living so behavior change is easier.
In the best sense, wellness coaching creates a relationship between coach and client. The coach looks holistically at the person’s life prior to helping them evolve ideas for changing it. Number of visits and amount of time this could take can be variable depending upon each coach’s preferences and individual need.
Since wellness coaching is so new, there are not yet standards in place for who can be a wellness coach. The recommendation is people look to individuals with degrees in physical fitness, public health, or perhaps nutrition. Combined with this training, coaches should have several years of experience and they should be able to provide multiple references.
Many wellness coaches work as certified nutritionists. A certified nutritionist has received special training in human health and biology, with a focus on diet and nutrition. People who struggle with their diet, whether due to an eating disorder or another health condition, usually benefit from a wellness coach who has training as a nutritionist. A wellness coach informed on nutritional science can advise you on the relationship between nutrition and mental health to enhance your quality of life.
Though many doctors see medical necessity in referring patients to a wellness coach, not everyone can afford the services of one. Depending on needs, coaches might require several sessions the first few months at a median price of about $100 US Dollars (USD) per session. Since this is not usually covered by insurance, it may not be accessible for all. Some companies can buy wellness coaching services for their employees in an effort to increase employee health. These services might be offered to any employee for a short duration, usually 2-3 visits at most.