What is wellness coaching?

We likely don’t have a goal to become unhealthy – sedentary most of the day, eating low quality foods that contribute to poor health… but for many of us, it’s a fact. We just aren’t eating or exercising in ways that sustain good health, and instead have a lifestyle that directly contributes to unhealthy outcomes. 

Diabetes is on the rise, along with certain cancers, heart disease and other medical diagnoses directly linked to our daily health and wellbeing habits, all the result of small choices made daily for years or decades.

Maybe we’re busy, tired, overwhelmed by too many choices and information overload, unsure how to make the right changes. Diets are confusing, high-maintenance and constantly changing, and online research is overwhelming and contradictory.

“Lose weight!” the doctor says, sending us home with a mandate but little direction to move forward.

How exactly do we make that happen? Wellness coaching might be the answer. The coach helps a client make permanent, positive changes by working together to create a wellness vision and plan, developing mindful thoughts and actions, and matching proven techniques with conversation, accountability and support.

It’s beneficial for those who want to lose weight, conquer diabetes, improve their health and wellness, or make lifestyle modifications they can stick with long-term.

What is wellness coaching, you might ask?

Wellness coaching is a unique combination of evidence-based lifestyle modifications presented in a customized strategy based on your personal lifestyle, goals and current health, plus clinical intervention where it’s appropriate.

It applies an individualized program with one-on-one support and accountability from the right team of experts trained in behavioral change to ensure your goal happens.

It often combines nutrition/meal planning and fitness with softer skills like stress management, self-care, balancing convenience with healthy choices, and developing a healthful mindset.

For someone struggling with a health goal or wanting guidance, this type of guided self-help can be an ideal solution.

Who benefits from a wellness coach?

Using a wellness coach can be impactful for those who struggle to achieve their health and wellbeing goals, who have tried diets for years with no success, who are overwhelmed with negative inner talk, or might benefit from external motivation.

A wellness coach can also help those who forget to put their own self-care needs first or struggle with life balance, or want changes in their life but have no idea where to start.

How to choose the right wellness coach

Finding the right wellness coach means finding someone with the right education, a proven ability to motivate and talent for building strong relationships with their client. It’s a partnership that can last for years, so finding someone you can connect with is important.

It’s equally important to take a very close look at their certifications and schooling, ongoing continued education, experience, reputation, and testimonials or references that support their ability to achieve results.

Wellness coaches can come in many forms, ranging from a simple counseling approach to detailed, evidence-based programs, and finding the approach you respond to best can make a difference. There are many self-taught coaches, too, so be sure to ask questions, seek referrals and review the curriculum before committing to a long-term program.

Investing in the initial consultation with several wellness coaches nearby can also be tremendously helpful in finding the right program.

Interested in learning how a wellness coach can support your goals to make them become reality, or motivate you with healthy new habits? The Center for Health & Wellbeing offers nutrition, personal fitness planning and wellness coaching services in two West Valley locations (Surprise and Sun City), plus an assortment of free and low-cost resources and classes. Learn more here.


(Originally published July 13, 2018; last updated Jan. 6, 2019.)

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