Choosing a Coaching Niche or Specialisation

If you are thinking of becoming a health and wellness coach, you would understand the need to gain a qualification that is recognised by a national and/or international accrediting body. All accredited and approved HCANZA (Australia) and NBHWC (US) – including our accredited courses – incorporate health and lifestyle studies around key areas of wellness to give you a broad and comprehensive knowledge base to support your clients (not designed to allow prescription or diagnosis of any kind).

However, we frequently receive enquiries from people who want to coach in a niche area and therefore, need a deeper level of knowledge in that field. This could be anything from peri-menopause, cancer survivorship, mental wellbeing, specific chronic conditions, or compassion fatigue (that is so common for healthcare workers). And this is when the specialised learning is recommended.

How deep does the specialisation go?

There is no need for a distinct qualification in the health area you are choosing if you have completed your formal Health and Wellness Coach training and wish to stay working within our scope of practice, however knowledge of that field is vital. We recommend you undertake short course or self guided research style learning in the niche health areas you wish to specialise in to increase your ‘health literacy’. Focus on research and science backed sources so you have a comprehensive understanding of the theory.

Having a robust knowledge base in your chosen niche will help to build a unique coaching program that speaks to a specific group of population seeking the support of a health coach that understands their needs. But remember… a higher level of knowledge of your key health area doesn’t increase your scope of practice as a Health and Wellness Coach. It will however enable you to support your clients at a level they often cannot receive from a health provider.

Remember to draw from Foundational health coach training – Pillars of Health and Wellness

While studying in a specialisation brings enormous benefits, we do need to always see the bigger picture and rely on the foundational health training within your Health and Wellness Certification course that covers a broad range of topics to safely work with a population of choice. While your clients may face unique challenges specific to the health area of choice, the way of supporting their struggle might be to draw from one of the pillars of health and wellness in your foundation training, modifying it to fit the circumstances and obstacles they face.

Wellness, or wellbeing, is a vast and complex area and we must remember that the various dimensions of wellness stretch into the following areas:

  • Intellectual Dimension
  • Emotional Dimension
  • Social Dimension
  • Spiritual Dimension
  • Vocational Dimension
  • Financial Dimension
  • Environmental Dimension
  • Cultural Wellbeing
  • Mental wellbeing

At times, these may well appear as areas in which a client needs support at any time we may need to focus in on any of these. Some may also require a greater understanding of the client’s experience and suggest further training for the coach, particularly if they are working with a specific population. If this applies to you, it is highly recommended to seek out short course learning on that subject matter – not for the purpose of prescription, but for understanding – which is what our work relies on.