What is the difference between a WELLNESS and a HEALTH coach?

The majority of people are aware of what they “should” be doing to promote a healthy lifestyle. Avoid processed foods and eat a healthy diet. Prioritize sleep and reduce stress.

This seemingly simple checklist, and the satisfaction it brings to life and overall well-being is something that many people are unable to achieve.

Wellness coaches are in a unique position to help their clients achieve a meaningful and lasting lifestyle change, and a personal transformation toward well-being.

What is a Wellness Coach?

Fitness, wellness and well-being can be confused by the public and fitness industry. NASM defines wellness as “an individual’s journey towards the mental, emotional, social and physical betterment of their life.”

Translation: It’s not just about someone’s healthy habits or behaviors, but also the process of making informed and ongoing choices that make their life healthier, happier, more connected and emotionally fulfilling.

The job of a wellness coach is to help an individual make these choices. It is important to note that wellness coaching does not prescribe, i.e. they do not tell their clients what to choose. They help the client make their own choices, and move along a personalized, iterative journey of wellness.

Wellness coaches are well-versed in the science of holistic wellbeing and wellness. They use their special gifts and expertise to help their clients. This role is unique to health, fitness and wellness professionals.


Coaches work often with other professionals such as a health care provider or personal trainer. Your client can rely on the expertise of a doctor or fitness professional to write a prescription. You tell them exactly what they need to do.

Research in behavior change shows that telling people what to do doesn’t work for long-term positive change.

In coaching, the emphasis is placed on helping clients to guide their own internal processes. They can continue to make sustainable changes long after the coaching has ended.


The skills of wellness coaches are centered on the domains that have been established, such as nutrition and sleep, as well as movement and recovery practices, as well as emotional and mental health, stress management and psychological recovery.

The wellness coach helps clients set subjective and objective goals for their health and explores the obstacles that may hinder them from reaching those goals.
Wellness coaching also emphasizes self-care and compassion.
Instead of pushing their clients too hard, wellness coaches encourage them to prioritise their own needs.

Wellness coaching is an approach that emphasizes self-compassion and individualized care.

Are you interested in becoming a wellness coach? Learn more about our Certified Wellness Coach Course!

What can a WELLNESS COACH do?

Coaches usually meet with clients in small groups or one-on-one sessions. They provide clients with various tools during their sessions to help them examine their behavior, as well as their mental and emotional responses to it.

Together, coach and client will create action plans, brainstorm ideas, and identify potential obstacles that could hinder the client’s long-term success. The coach can provide information and support, but it is up to the client to determine what is best for them.

What is the difference between a Wellness Coach and a therapist?

Coaches do not act as therapists, and they cannot diagnose or treat any mental or physical illness or dysfunction. Sub-clinical issues are more likely to arise.

Certified coaches have been trained to help clients by examining emotional or behavioral issues and teach them mental and emotional skills. These problem-solving techniques not only help clients reach their goals, but they are also tools that continue to propel them forward after the session.

Some of these skills include…

Reframing internal dialogues and self-talk in the moment

How to break goals down

Understand emotional reactions and their causes

How to deal with shame

Strengthening your focus

Find motivation when you feel stuck

Why Wellness Coaches are Important

It can be difficult to change. According to the Boston Medical Center an estimated 45 millions Americans diet every year. Americans spend over $33 million on diet products each year, yet two thirds of Americans are overweight.

In 2018, 55% of smokers tried to quit, but only 7.5% succeeded.

The CDC reports that 31 million Americans aged over 50 do not get enough physical activity, resulting in increased health care costs of $117 billion per year.

Many people know what they should do but are unsure of how to incorporate healthy behaviors into their daily lives.

The Benefits of Coaching

In the past few decades, researchers have developed techniques to support positive change. A coach can provide evidence-based advice, help you reflect on your current behavior and brainstorm solutions.

The client is supported in a non-judgmental manner, and they are able to achieve lasting change.

They are also knowledgeable about lifestyle practices that promote wellness. This unique approach combines a physiological understanding and psychological tools to improve one’s quality of life.


The unique combination of tools allows the coach to assist the client with priming and compounding positive changes.

The transfer effect is a phenomenon whereby a positive change made in one area creates favourable changes in other areas. Or upward spirals whereby the emotional boost that comes from making meaningful changes can lead to more difficult ones.

A wellness coach can help their client by understanding these mechanisms and how they work. This will not only benefit them in the near future, but also in creating lasting changes that create the possibility for a lifestyle change.

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