What exactly is a Health Coach?
Health coaching is an emerging field and a fast-growing market1,2,3. A Health Coach is someone who works in primary care or in the community in their own practice. A Health Coach provides clarity, they provide inspiration, but most importantly, they walk alongside someone to help with long-term, sustainable behaviour change.
What do you need to become a Health Coach?
You don’t need previous experience in healthcare to become a successful Health Coach. If you have a passion and an inner urge to make a difference in the world, health coaching is a gateway to make positive and meaningful change in other people’s lives.
If you’re passionate about health and wellbeing, if you like to help other people, find it easy to build relationships and you’re a good listener, you’ve got everything it takes to become a great Heath Coach.
Health coaching takes about 6 months of training. It covers health, science and nutrition. It covers positive psychology and behaviour change, as well as coaching techniques.
What do Health Coaches do?
Health Coaches are experts in whole-person health. They support clients on their health journeys to reach physical or emotional goals.
Clients may want to work with a Health Coach to:
- Lose weight in a sustainable way
- Create healthier habits
- Reduce stress
- Improve sleep
- Manage or improve chronic disease
- Reach physical fitness goals
Health Coaches can also choose to specialise in Mental Health and help clients suffering from mild to moderate mental health challenges using preventative and lifestyle approaches.
What career options are available for Health Coaches?
Becoming a Health Coach gives you many options to design a career that fits your lifestyle, using your individual strengths and existing knowledge.
Opportunities open for you to explore as a Health Coach include:
- Work as a Health Coach in a GP clinic
- Running your own health coaching business
- An employee wellbeing advisor
- A school or community youth worker
- An aged care wellbeing advisor
- Expanding your scope of practice as a PT, Physio, Midwife, Nurse, Counsellor or Naturopath
Being employed as a Health Coach
There are jobs for Health Coaches in GP clinics, pharmacies, governmental organisations, hospitals, insurance companies and corporate employers.
Health Coaches can be integral to a wider healthcare team, working alongside other health and wellbeing professionals, such as GPs, nurses, nutritionists, counsellors and Personal Trainers. The Health Coach’s aim is to walk alongside the client or patient, helping them make lifestyle choices that work for them and empowering them to find the root cause of their health issues.
Starting your own business
Many Health Coaches start their own business, focusing on a specific niche and type of clientele, for example weight loss, nutrition, fertility, heart health or type 2 diabetes. This path is a great choice for someone with an interest in a specific area and an entrepreneurial spirit.
While building up their private practice, many Health Coaches choose to combine private practice and employment or collaboration with a clinic. For example, a Health Coach might take on private clients and also do some work in a GP clinic or pharmacy.
“In short, my honest feedback is this – setting up your own health coaching business will be harder than you think,” says PREKURE CEO Louise Schofield. “It will also be more rewarding than you could possibly imagine. It will be fun and scary and hard and rewarding and energising and exhausting….and you will not regret it!”
How PREKURE Certified Health Coaches are changing lives
Chelsea Williams is a Primary Care Health Coach with the TTW4 model and a locum community Pharmacist.
“As a Pharmacist, we have all this skill and knowledge and often we don’t get to use it, or use it in a way we’d like to, due to the current structure of the profession and health system. So I looked into ways I could upskill to utilise them in a more impactful and fulfilling way. I did some more study before stumbling on health coaching and found that I had found my niche!”
“I am trying to highlight the skills Pharmacists can bring to the General Practice settings but equally, the way health coaching skills combined with Pharmacist skills are an absolute killer combo. To me, it’s really deepened the scope I already have as a Pharmacist to broaden the scope of care.”
What future do you see for Health Coaches?
“So many opportunities! I envision pharmacy and health coaching going hand in hand – from restructuring our current pharmacy model to making the Pharmacist’s role revolve more around wellbeing and medication coaching, to having private health coaching services in pharmacy, to advocating for pharmacist coaches in multidisciplinary healthcare teams. The options are as imaginative as we can make them!”
Kirsten Rose is a Physiotherapist, Crossfit Coach and a Health Coach.
Kirsten has a passion for helping clients who feel like they are “starting from scratch”, whether that be after an injury, illness or life event.
Becoming a Health Coach has solidified a lot of knowledge that she already had and it has helped her fine-tune how she delivers information and works with patients to achieve their goals, Kirsten says.
“Applying coaching techniques has resulted in some really positive changes in my interactions and patients being more engaged with their rehabilitation, so that is fantastic. Also being able to more confidently talk to patients about other lifestyle factors has been great. It has given me another avenue in my career – one that can be flexible and fits in with my life. It combines so many interests and passions that I have for helping people so I am really excited to grow this part of my work.”
Magali Steffens is a PREKURE Certified Health Coach, specialising in Multiple Sclerosis, autoimmunity and brain health.
Magali’s life took a sudden turn when she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, and she decided to learn everything she could about the condition. She felt empowered with all her new knowledge and, being a giver, wanted to share this power with others. That’s how she found health coaching.
“With autoimmunity and brain health, we are dealing with mental health, fatigue and pain, motor issues, gut dysfunction, toxicities and allergies. It’s a minefield. My wish is to help people find their own way and the ‘one thing’ they can start with, while being listened to and supported.”
Ree George is a PREKURE Certified Health Coach specialising in burnout, anxiety and addictive behaviours.
“I work with clients who are experiencing disordered eating, have been diagnosed with anxiety or depression, or have a curiosity about the role alcohol plays in their lives. I also work with friends and family who have loved ones in the throes of an addiction.”
Ree’s background is in Physiotherapy and Pilates (manual and movement therapy).
“As a Health Coach, I now combine a hands-on approach of myofascial release/massage with stretching and flexibility to work with the body. I also use coaching techniques to stretch and release the mind, and peel away behaviour patterns, old beliefs and practices that are no longer serving my clients.”
More benefits of becoming a Health Coach
You’ll be making a difference in peoples’ lives, supporting them to better health, and working with something you are passionate about. But there are more upsides to a career in health coaching.
As a Health Coach, you have the freedom to create your own schedule. You can combine working for yourself, doing some employed work or collaborations with other health and wellbeing professionals.
While you can of course continue to meet people in person, the option to work from home and consult virtually is now a big bonus in our ever changing world.
Positive impact on your personal life
Training as a Health Coach will have a significant positive impact on your personal development and your own relationships with family, friends and colleagues. As part of your training, you’ll discover important parts of yourself. Learning the art and skill of coaching can be life-changing for the coach too, not just for your future clients.
Useful skills for the future
Whether you are working purely as a Health Coach or combining your coaching qualification with other skills, such as personal training, nursing, nutrition or physiotherapy – or something completely different – the core coaching skills you’ve learnt in your training are useful for any kind of behaviour change. These powerful skills will give you an advantage wherever your future career takes you.
How to become a Health Coach
PREKURE is leading the charge to change the face of healthcare and put prevention at the heart of medicine in New Zealand and Australia through their accredited Health Coach training.
PREKURE is a recognised training provider for Health Coaches Australia and New Zealand Association (HCANZA),the Canadian Health Coach Alliance, and the United Kingdom Health Coaches Association (UKHCA). Our university level courses are also endorsed by The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners (RNZCGP).
Learn more about PREKURE’s university level Certified Health Coach training here.
1. $7 Billion U.S. Health Coaching Market Gains Favor Among Consumers, Insurers & Employers, marketresearch.com
2. Health Coach Market Size to Worth Around US$ 27.8 Bn by 2030, Globenewswire.com
3. The U.S. Health Coaching Market, researchandmarkets.com
4. The TTW model – Te Tumu Waiora – Te Reo for to head towards wellness – is a new way of delivering wellbeing, mental health and addictions support through general practice.