Wellness Coaching Australia's Blog

Personal and Professional Development for Health and Wellness Coaches


When you work as a coach, it’s important that you walk your talk, stay abreast of industry changes, and maintain your currency professional skills.
Your commitment to ongoing personal and professional development shows your commitment to self-improvement, professionalism and professional integrity.Let’s look at some options for personal and professional development.

Personal Development for Coaches

Four main strategies for personal development include:

1. Hiring your own coach
Hiring your own coach means improving your physical or mental habits to further your own personal growth, to deal with change in a healthy way, and/or to achieve new goals.
It also demonstrates that you believe in what you do enough that you’d also buy it yourself.

2. Self-coaching
Self-coaching could include post-session reflections, using thought models, talking to yourself or journaling as part of a pro-active routine. Being proactive with these habits means we are being role models for our clients.

3. Ongoing learning
Coaches are professional communicators, so it makes sense to learn or polish up personal skills that help us to become better communicators.

4. Mentoring
Conversations with mentors can help you to gain wisdom and perspective by learning from someone who has done or is doing what you seek to achieve.

Professional Development for Coaches

Industry bodies are organisations that aim to advance a specific profession by providing guidelines, standards and recognition of a professional’s education and experience. 
While not a formal requirement, Health and Wellness Coaches may choose to be credentialed by either the National Board-Certified Health and Wellness Coaches (NBCHWC) or the International Coaching Federation (ICF).

Whether or not you have membership with an industry body, ongoing education demonstrates your commitment to your profession and your clients.
Coaches who are certified with NBCHWC or ICF must commit to the following professional development requirements; these requirements provide a good guideline around ongoing education needs for non-certified coaches. 

National Board-Certified Health & Wellness Coaches
Coaches who have NBCHWC credentialing are required to re-certify every 3 years by completing 36 hours of continuing education related to health and wellness coaching. 

International Coaching Federation (ICF)
Coaches who have ICF credentialing have specific requirements depending on the level of credentialing they hold. 

For the Associate Certified Coach (ACC) (the basic level), the requirements are:
Receiving 10 hours of Mentor Coaching over a minimum of three months
At least 40 hours of Continuing Coach Education (CCE) completed in the three years since the initial award of your credential or since your last credential renewal
Mentoring involves coaching with feedback in a safe and collaborative way, to identify strengths and areas for improvement. It is highly recommended for coaches who have no means of obtaining feedback on their coaching skills and techniques.

Summary

If you work the field of personal development, then it’s essential that you walk your talk. 

Ongoing personal and professional demonstrate your commitment to your craft, your desire to grow as a person and a coach, and a means of maintaining currency and standards in the industry. 
A weekly personal routine is a mainstay for health and wellness coaches. Professionally, 10 - 15 hours of formal training plus additional mentoring (3 – 5 hours) per year is a valuable for increasing a coach’s capacity and skill. 


Hope and Optimism - a question of degrees of possibility


As health and wellness coaches we are trained to work with principles of positive psychology and understand the role of optimism in a happy and fulfilling life. I have recently started reading the second publication by Mark Manson, which has the bye line of A Book About Hope (the main title has a profanity which may offend some)!  Personally, I really enjoy this author’s work. He certainly tells it like it is, or let’s say how he sees it!

This book has already got me thinking about the notion of “hope” and its role in society today, or perhaps the lack of it in many cases. One of the distinguishing characteristics, or precursors to depression is the inability to believe that “things will turn out ok”, whatever those things might be – in other words, life for these people seems “hopeless”.  

In a world where everyone seems to be seeking happiness as a holy grail, we need to accept that the opposite of happiness is hopelessness and that as Manson so aptly puts it “Hopelessness is the root of anxiety, mental illness and depression – the source of all misery and the cause of addiction”. In order to have hope in our lives, we need three things:
  • A sense of control
  • A believe in the value of something, and
  • A community
I think that health and wellness coaching can go a long way to supporting people in these areas. 

I started to reflect on the difference between optimism and hope – what makes them different and I put it down to a case of degrees. If I am optimistic about the future, I believe “things should turn out well”. If I am hopeful, I believe that “things could turn out well”. There is a subtle difference between those statements that centres on confidence.
We have a tendency to push people towards optimism. “You can do it”, “I believe in you” – affirmative declarations of support. However, when someone has no or little hope, this may be too big a step to take.  And this is where our understanding of where a client sits in their belief in a positive future is crucial and our language perhaps modified accordingly. We might want our clients to be able to say… “Things could turn out ok”, which might be a shift for them. If they can believe it could be possible if not necessarily probable, then the existence of hope is ignited. 
Mental health is a complex area and the incidence of people struggling with it is on the rise. Coaches work with behaviours, cognitions, beliefs and values and it is essential that we monitor where our clients sit on the “possibility” scale! Or perhaps we should call it the continuum between hopeless to hopeful. And work with them accordingly. 



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