Before embarking on any training (whether it is ours or another training school), it is vital to understand what the scope of practice of a Health and Wellness Coach is when working with clients. All professions in the health, fitness and wellness industries have a defined scope of practice and our field is no different. 

Quite often people undertake Health and Wellness Coaching courses thinking they will be qualified to provide “advice” around dietary and lifestyle modifications including providing meal plans on completion of their training however this is not the case unless you have prior qualifications in a health, fitness or wellness field where your scope of practice can extend beyond that of a coach such as Naturopathy or Nutritional Medicine.

Although the list below is by no means comprehensive, this is a great guide to the scope of practice of a Health and Wellness Coach as widely recognised by leading international bodies. 

As you will read, the recurring themes around coaching are all around empowerment of the client, keeping them safe and avoiding stepping outside the boundaries of your profession. Coaches facilitate change, they don’t advocate one way of eating, living or existing. Our job is to support and encourage clients to become masters of their own well-being.

What Health and Wellness Coaches DO:

  • Encourage clients to discover what they want to achieve without telling them what they “should” work towards
  • Let clients define their idea of “optimal” wellness as it applies to their life and support clients in defining a clear vision of where they want to go
  • Help clients identify the changes they need to make in lifestyle habits
  • Help clients build confidence in their ability to make the desired changes
  • Encourage clients to set their own goals that are specific and achievable.
  • Only provide “expert” information in the area in which they hold national recognized credentials
  • Inform their client of what these credentials are
  • Help clients come up with strategies to overcome obstacles that might get in the way of their desired change
  • Inspire by truly believing in their client’s ability to change and imparting this belief
  • Encourage the client to take responsibility and make choices that they have come up with
  • Ask more questions than provides answers
  • Use their “toolkit” of knowledge in the areas of health, fitness and lifestyle to provide options and choices the client to consider, but only when asking their permission in advance
  • Refer clients to appropriately trained health professionals for specific advice or consultation

What Health and Wellness Coaches DO NOT do:

  • Suggest what the client should be doing such as prescribing meal plans or dietary modifications
  • Tell their client what steps are necessary
  • Encourage the client to adopt the coaches own nutritional philosophy, exercise program or other behavioural routine that they may be passionate about and has worked for them
  • Take on the responsibility for the client’s results and disempower them in any way
  • Judge a client by their own standards and beliefs
  • Coerce or control the client in any way
  • Use their own experience to influence the client to adopt any particular regime.
  • Educate the client in an area that they are not suitably qualified to speak on

Does this sound like the profession you want to do? Then the next step is formal training in health or wellness coaching. But be sure that the training program fits the above scope of practice so that you will be insured to provide the right service you plan on delivering.