What is the Job Description of a Wellness Coach?

Job description of a wellness coach title graphic with chalkboard and pencils

Everyone wants to feel healthier and live a long life full of well-being. As more people become aware that they have some control over their wellness and can prevent chronic disease, wellness coaching is gaining popularity as a helpful preventative support option.

Wellness coaches are becoming the go-to professionals when a person wants to improve their overall approach to their health or focus specifically on reducing undesirable health effects.

They’re also becoming highly recommended by doctors and health professionals who would like to see their patients lead healthier lifestyles.

Wellness is bigger than just health though. You might find the differences between a health coach and a wellness coach a little confusing. We’ll break it down for you.

What is a Wellness Coach?

A wellness coach works a little differently than a health coach might. Health coaches are skilled in focusing on physical health, which includes nutrition and exercise. They might also support people with suggestions on how to manage their health in response to specific diseases or chronic illnesses.

Wellness coaches, on the other hand, approach clients from a bigger picture perspective. They see all things in a person’s life as interconnected and therefore important information to help solve any health and well-being issues.

They see a client’s stresses at work, lack of relationship fulfillment, and chronic inflammation as all important pieces of a person’s wellness journey.

A wellness coach works with one of her clients inside of the clients home. The job description of a wellness coach requires coaches to be comfortable working with people in a variety of environments.

What Does a Wellness Coach Do?

Wellness coaches work in a number of different ways. The most common style of coaching is one-on-one coaching with a client.

Wellness coaches will guide their clients through a process of understanding their current picture of health, wellness, and well-being. They’ll carefully listen for significant bits of information that might help to guide the process of solution discovery.

After fully understanding a client’s background, they will then start to better understand the person’s goals and wellness dreams. If they aren’t clearly defined, a wellness coach can help someone dig deeper into their lifestyle and thoughts about wellness to find key clues.

Together, they’ll craft goals that make sense for that individual and draw up a strategy that is sustainable, encompasses improving their whole lives, and leaves them with changes that they can continue to work on for life.

Wellness coaches might go through these processes in group settings as well.

They might host a group coaching program, teach a series of workshops, run a corporate wellness program, or help others through writing and educational content. There are many ways that a wellness coach can help others understand their current wellness status and how to get to a place that makes them feel more well-being in their whole lives.

In addition to being self-employed, wellness coaches might also work for an employer. This might be a wellness center, a company that delivers wellness programs, a private healthcare practice, a fitness center or gym, or other places that focus on health and wellness.

Education Requirements for Wellness Coaches

You can become a wellness coach no matter what your educational background might be. There are many programs that don’t require a specific education experience and offer support for those who are approaching wellness coaching as a new career.

That said, if your goal is to become employed after completing your wellness coaching certification, you will likely be more competitive for jobs if you have more educational experience.

Here are a few things you might like to have in order to become competitive in the field of wellness coaching:

  • A bachelor’s degree in a field related to health and wellness, such as nursing, public health, health education, psychology, nutrition, or similar.
  • Solid knowledge of weight management, stress reduction, nutrition, developmental needs and requirements, dealing with chronic conditions, support for those with diseases, and more.
  • Job experience in a health-related field, such as being a nursing assistant, nutritionist, holistic health practitioner, or other role.
  • A passion for health and wellness, people-oriented skills, and the ability to communicate well.
  • Additional related certifications and educational experiences that can inform and boost your understanding of health and wellness, such as attendance at conferences, workshops, and training focused on holistic health.

For a comprehensive overview of everything you’ll need to consider when choosing a wellness coach training program, check out our deep dive guide here.

Wellness Coach Skill and Experience Requirements

Being a wellness coach requires a lot of commitment to direct client work and a passion for supporting people as they change their lives.

You’ll need to have a large reserve of optimism so you can be a positive motivator for change. This means you’ll have to set up important boundaries in your life and engage in plenty of self-care so you have the ability to be present with your clients.

Having your own wellness practice that’s well-established is essential to being an effective wellness coach. Walking the talk is crucial for being taken seriously and for also having the lived experience that contributes to empathy and effective strategy.

While it’s not necessary to have gone through everything your clients have experienced, by being deep into your own wellness journey you’ll have a lot of understanding necessary to relate to your clients. You’ll also serve as inspiration and demonstrate what living a wellness lifestyle can look like.

For group coaching and education, you’ll need to know how to resolve conflicts, direct group conversations that are impactful, and know how to communicate well at a group level.

You’ll need to know how to meet each person where they’re at in their wellness journey, while also carrying the group forward. You’ll have to figure out how to keep individuals engaged and motivated to participate.

You’ll also need to have a commitment to continuing education and always staying up-to-date on evidence-based practices, new health guidelines, wellness trends, and other key aspects of education to do your job effectively.

Having a background in healthcare or wellness can give you a significant leg up, however just being passionate and showing up for educational opportunities and applying the knowledge to your work can get you pretty far in this field.

Where Do Wellness Coaches Work?

Some wellness coaches' job descriptions require them to work remotely. In this image a wellness coach works with a client over a video call.

Being a wellness coach offers a ton of work flexibility. This is a huge perk of being a wellness coach. You’ll get to design a career path that’s perfect for your interests and goals.

If you decide to become self-employed, you’ll find the most career flexibility. You can work with a mentor to design a business that’s a good fit for you and your family. There are so many ways to set up a business that features your passions, interests, and gifts.

Whether you work for yourself or for an employer, you’ll likely work from home, work from an office, or even visit your clients’ homes directly.

If you’re employed, you might also be required to work in a clinical setting on a part-time or full-time basis. This might include working 40 hours per week, with variable time off for weekends and holidays.

As a self-employed wellness coach you’ll be able to determine your own hours and location of business. However, you’ll also face the need to find and book clients all on your own.

If you collaborate with other health professionals, you might find a hybrid work environment that is partially self-directed and partially dependent on the requirements of those you’re collaborating with.

Wellness Coach Salary

As wellness coaches work in such different ways, it can be hard to get a true estimate on what they are making. For those who are employed by companies to work with clients as wellness coaches, the current average national salary is $40,337 per year.

However, as business owners, wellness coaches are able to charge much higher rates.

Many coaches who have many years of experience with clients, have a specialized niche, or live in areas with a high demand can charge up to $100 per hour (and sometimes more). Group coaching, online courses, and other productized services can command even higher rates.

Get Started On Your Wellness Coaching Journey

A wellness coaching student doing yoga by the ocean at sunset as she prepared to start her wellness journey.

If you know that wellness coaching is the right career path for you, we’d love to invite you to consider our unique, accredited certification program. The IAWP offers a specialized education for those wanting to enter the wellness field from a holistic perspective.

Our program offers comprehensive health and wellness education to ensure that you know as much as possible to be an effective resource for your clients. This includes our innovative Wellness 360 curriculum that is a super effective way to approach whole-person wellness with your clients.

We also offer thorough business and marketing training, including done-for-you templates for all kinds of business situations and coaching styles. We want to make sure you can effectively teach your clients about health and book those dreams clients that are dying to work with you.

The IAWP also wants to make sure you truly understand coaching. Our students get to be supported by a wellness coach during their training so they can thoroughly understand what it’s like to be the client and work on their own wellness goals Then they get lots of hands on training, including a practicum and in-class practice with teachers and students.

After graduation, we don’t leave you hanging. You’ll have access to lifetime support, no matter where you are in your career. We love our students and want to ensure they are successful in their journey as a wellness coach.

Ready to start your own holistic wellness coach journey? Reach out to one of our admissions specialists today!

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About the Author

Suzanne Monroe

Suzanne Monroe is the author of Live Well Dream Big: The Ultimate Guide to Becoming Your Best Self and Living Life on Your Own Terms. She has also written and published The Holistic Cookbook & Lifestyle Guide: 12 Weeks to a Healthier, Happier You, the co-author of 101 Ways to Improve Your Health and the host of the Live Well Dream Big Podcast. Suzanne was inspired to create the IAWP Wellness Coach Training & Certification Program in collaboration with other leading health experts in order to inspire people to create meaningful careers and spread the message of wellness.

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