Does Health and Wellness Coaching Benefit the Client, the Coach or both?

The aim of our training programs is ultimately to produce coaches who can support others in creating lifestyle behaviour change.  Yet we are finding that the process of learning to coach in health and wellness areas is helping the trainees as individuals to optimise their own health and wellbeing!

How does this happen?

Firstly, people choose to attend our training for many reasons. The main ones are:

  • To add to their existing skillset and become more effective in supporting their clients
  • To explore possibilities of a new career, either as a new business enterprise or as an additional offering to their existing profession
  • To learn more about how to improve their own health and wellness using the coaching model. (Think Coach yourself to Wellness book, by the writer!)

The question that intrigues me is whether a coach needs to go on their own journey before they can become an effective coach for others.  Now we do not mean to imply that coaches need to have their wellbeing in perfect order before supporting others, but to be familiar with the process and model we use and be willing to engage in the self-reflection that is part and parcel of creating meaningful and lasting change. Is this a pre-requisite? We are beginning to think that it is. A quote that has stayed with me was one by Tribole (2015) when referring to dietetic students who she believed ‘can’t take a client any further than they have come themselves because they will subconsciously put up blinders’.  I have a sense that this may also have great relevance to our work.

Margaret Moore writes about “primary capacities for human thriving”. (2018). This follows her view that coaches need to be continually looking for new opportunities to “upgrade their own wellbeing”.   

These capacities include the ability to:

  • Regulate our body’s signals  and maintain “body intelligence”
  • Create a life that is aligned with our own values and driven by the need to live by them
  • Have a sense of higher purpose in and around (and above) what we do
  • Relate to others and enjoy close relationships
  • Feel confident and competent in life generally
  • Seek out new experiences and experience curiousity for our world
  • Unleash our creativity whenever we can

Would we doubt that these are desirable qualities and things to strive for?  I don’t think so.  So, when we think of the value of health and wellness coach training, let’s remember that it has a double benefit and even if you never want to coach another person, the benefits from learning the model for change can be personally significant!

Tribole. E.  (2015)  Intuitive Eating: A Revolutionary Program That Works
Moore, M. (2018). Coaching Psychology Manual