The field of health and wellness is rapidly expanding as people focus more on their own health and well-being and seek out all the information available on these subjects. If you find yourself passionate about living your best, healthiest life and enjoy helping others do the same, becoming a Health Coach could be the right path for you.
There are many facets to being a Health Coach, and getting started can be overwhelming when looking at the big picture. But by breaking it down, getting started on joining the field of health coaching can be both rewarding and simple!
What is health coaching?
Health Coaches are supportive mentors and wellness authorities who help people feel their best. They do this by encouraging and guiding clients to explore food and lifestyle changes that help them meet their personal health and wellness goals. Health Coaches often meet one-on-one with clients but can also work within group settings.
Flexibility is the name of the game in health coaching. Because health coaching is individualized to each client, learning to be flexible in how you provide your services is a crucial skill to have. Healthy living isn’t one-size-fits-all, but instead focuses on what we at IIN call bio-individuality, or the idea that everyone is unique, needs different things to thrive, and responds to varied wellness and lifestyle approaches. At the foundation, Health Coaches work with clients to teach them how to fuel their bodies, live holistic lifestyles, and find exactly what works for them.
How to become a Health Coach
Before you begin the process of becoming a Health Coach, ask yourself why. Your why will drive everything you do in your business from the program you select and the clients you take on to the type of services you offer and everything in between. Your why can be considered your passion and driving force for wanting to pursue a role as a mentor in health and wellness. Once you figure out your why, you can really begin the journey to becoming a Health Coach.
People interested in pursuing a career in health and wellness typically enroll in degree programs that focus on particular areas, like nutrition, biology, nursing, or physical therapy. The courses an individual studies in a particular degree program help lay a solid foundation for any future courses or certifications.
While earning a bachelor’s or higher education degree is helpful in your journey, many programs do not require a degree to enroll. If you have an interest in health and wellness, and love connecting with others about it, any degree can lead to a career in health coaching!
Health coaching program
Finding the right health coaching program for you is the best way to begin your journey. There are several factors to consider when researching and selecting a health coaching program, including length, costs involved, and post-graduation support from the institution you attend.
Most health coaching programs range from six months to one year, though some can take significantly more or less time. While completing coursework quickly sounds great, you should consider whether you’ll be getting the well-rounded, complete education you deserve that will set you up for success after graduating.
The cost of health coach training programs varies widely depending on the type of training, whether they are in person or online, support options, study materials provided, program duration, and much more. Depending on your personal goals, career aspirations, and budget, you’ll also want to consider cost when deciding whether to pursue health coaching as a career.
Certification is not required to become a Health Coach, but as the profession moves toward more regulation, that may change. Pursuing a certificate currently allows Health Coaches to maintain a competitive edge in their field, as it demonstrates their dedication to the practice and competency in their profession.
Steps to becoming an online Health Coach
Health coaching is an extremely flexible career option, with more and more coaches opting for an all-online business model. Starting an online health coaching business is a lot like building an in-person business, with a few key differences in the areas of marketing and social media. Before starting your online health coaching business:
1. Do your research.
Before you jump in to any new endeavor, it’s important to focus and be thoughtful about your goals. Look at successful Health Coaches or other wellness entrepreneurs you follow and note what you like about them. What kinds of services do they offer? How do they connect with their clients? Do they have a blog or Instagram account that supports their business? Use search engines to your advantage and take stock of the health coaching and wellness industries to see how and where you fit.
2. Build a business plan.
Starting a new business without a business plan can cost money, lead to mistakes, and impact relationships. Starting with business goals, financial objectives, marketing strategies, and other targets help keep your brand and business on the path forward. You may even consider hiring a business coach or someone who is knowledgeable in building a business to help you as you get started. This is often cost-effective as it’s saving you time you could otherwise be spending getting new clients!
3. Network, network, network.
Online networking opportunities are crucial when you first start your health coaching business. Most of the time when Health Coaches struggle to get clients, it’s because of a lack of clear communication. IIN's Health Coach Training Program provides detailed resources for sharing what you do in genuine ways that are also strategic. Having things like a unique niche in wellness, an elevator pitch, a good web presence, and a little creativity can go a long way when you network.
The most successful Health Coaches offer introductory workshops, attend virtual networking events, or align their coaching practices with complimentary offerings, such as blogging. Ensuring existing clients have the best possible experience is crucial – word of mouth is the most effective marketing tool you have!
Building your online brand, website, and marketing
Set up your website.
When marketing yourself online, you want people to be able to contact you easily. Although essentially all social media platforms have this feature, having a website is just one step up the professionalism ladder. A website also allows you to more uniquely express who you are and what services you provide compared to the rigid structure of social media platforms. Websites establish a certain sense of credibility online. Creating a website can be daunting, but many hosting services offer customizable templates to build from; IIN’s Health Coach Training Program offers students a free website template to get their online health coaching business started!
Develop your social media presence.
Social media platforms let current clients and future prospects get to know you, your story, and your why and can deepen the connection you have with them. Where websites build credibility, social media accounts, like Instagram, TikTok, and Clubhouse, help connect you with your target audience. You can show glimpses into your life as a Health Coach so you can show a taste of what services you offer, answer questions, demonstrate healthy recipes or workouts, and much more.
Interact with potential clients.
Interacting with potential clients virtually, on social media, through email, or via video call, helps you establish credibility and foster relationships. Interacting with your target audience online gets your name out and in turn allows you to help more people. Try hosting webinars or utilizing your social media platform to host a live video stream!
Be fun but professional.
People love to know the person behind the brand, especially when services are as personal as they are in health coaching. Keeping your online presence fun yet professional allows potential clients to get to know who you are, what you do, and what you stand for. This balance builds a deeper connection with potential and current clients.
Find your niche.
Defining your niche in the wellness education space allows you to target exactly who you are looking to help. If you broadly advertise yourself as someone who helps with weight loss, potential clients may shy away if they’re not sure that what you’re offering meets their specific needs. By marketing yourself as a Health Coach specializing in weight loss and hormone health for middle-aged women, for example, you clarify exactly who should feel confident using your services. Finding your niche, as well as using language that accurately explains your services, allows clients to feel more comfortable seeking you out.
Invest in technology.
Investing doesn’t have to mean pouring money into physical technology – spending time really learning the ins and outs of the tools you have at your disposal can be extremely valuable. We may live in a digital world, but health coaching happens through real, human communication. Taking learning one step at a time will help you develop technology skills if you don’t already have them. The most important thing is to avoid getting overwhelmed by thinking you need to set up everything at once, because you don’t! Start with something as simple as a basic wellness blog, or even just a web page that says who you are and what you offer.
Having updated and organized resource files, a clear schedule to follow, and the ability to stay focused on the priority at hand are important skills you need as a Health Coach. IIN’s Health Coach Training Program offers many of these kinds of resources to students in the Business Toolkit. Keeping on pace with the business objectives and staying aligned with strategies you developed in your business plan will show potential clients you’re the one they need to help them on their wellness journeys.
The online Health Coach experience
As a Health Coach, you aren’t limited to working with clients in person. It’s been proven we can learn, teach, celebrate, and hang out online – so why not help others live their best lives by coaching completely online? You can support your clients from virtually anywhere! Build an online community through Facebook, Instagram, and blogging. Coach clients online through Zoom, Skype, or Teams, and create online groups where people can interact virtually with one another.
Walking the walk and talking the talk to live a healthy life is key when you work with clients for a living. If they see you eating well, moving your body, and practicing self-care, they should feel motivated to do the same. Are you looking to begin the journey to becoming an online Health Coach? Our Curriculum Guide will help you get started.