We all have negative personal habits in our daily lives that affect our overall physical and emotional wellness, whether it’s eating when we are stressed, staying up too late, or bottling up our feelings.
But it can be difficult to know how to alter those habits or find the motivation we need to make positive changes. That’s where a wellness coach can help.
Why work with a wellness coach?
A coach can shine an objective spotlight on factors in your life that are negatively impacting your well-being. “We are here to examine things you do every day and help you fine-tune or troubleshoot them,” says Emily Hudak, MA CDSP, a personal trainer at Whole with Emily in Clinton, New Jersey. For example, Hudak may offer suggestions to her clients about how they can positively tweak their diets or get better sleep.
Depending on their background and certification, a wellness or health coach may be knowledgeable about nutrition, fitness, or other health-related topics and can supplement the medical care given to you by your doctor or mental health professional. In addition to their expertise, coaches can provide the motivational support you may need to lose weight, quit smoking, or be more active. “Most people need someone who can cheer them on and be a mentor,” explains yoga practitioner and coach Marianne Crooch of Nspired Living in Lorton, Virginia. “Even wellness coaches could use coaches.”
As Crooch points out, one way a coach can help you reach your wellness goals is by holding you accountable for the changes you promise to make. For instance, if you pledge to cut back on sugar, you’ll be more likely to stay committed and follow through if your coach is tracking that goal with you than if you were attempting to do it solo.
How to find a wellness coach
Wellness coaches can get certified through various private organizations in numerous fields, such as mental health, nutrition, or fitness, but no state requires a specific license. “There are a wealth of certifications out there,” Crooch says. ”Some people are trained by wellness-coach companies. It’s not regulated, so anybody can call themselves a wellness coach.”
Because of this, it’s important to look for a coach who has certification and background in a field that can address your needs. For example, Crooch is certified in yoga, meditation, and obesity prevention, while Hudak has a master’s degree in mental health counseling and is a certified dietary supplement professional. To find a coach that’s right for you, Crooch suggests asking your physician, friends, or coworkers for recommendations.
You could also do your own research to find a good match. Hudak advises scheduling an informational phone call with any coaches you are considering. “Spend time on the phone together, and ask questions to determine if you’re comfortable with them and whether their approach aligns with your needs,” she says. Also, keep in mind that because not all wellness coaches are licensed health care practitioners, their services may not be covered by insurance.
How it works
Depending on your coach and how they practice, you may meet with them in person, virtually via phone or Zoom calls. The type of meetings you have can also vary; for example, Crooch offers both one-on-one sessions and periodic group sessions with her clients. How long and often you’ll meet with your coach may be contingent on your coach’s approach and your needs. For instance, Hudak typically meets once a week with her clients in a forty-five-minute Zoom session. “A big piece of the puzzle is teaching my clients how to maintain the healthy habits they’ve acquired,” Hudak adds.
In your sessions, your coach might work with you to lay out steps for tackling your goals. “We would develop a customized plan together and work through it,” Crooch says. The guidance she’d then provide to help you complete that plan would be dependent on your needs. “I can help clients lose weight, make better food choices, improve their sleep habits, or improve their mindset with meditation and mindfulness,” she says. However, regardless of who you work with, your dedication to achieving your goals may be the biggest factor in how successful coaching will be for you. “Some people think they want to change, but once they get started, they are not ready for it,” Crooch points out.
“It really is an investment,” Hudak says. “It’s not a quick fix. It’s worth it, though, since there is no better investment than your health.”