10 Must-Have Health Coach Skills
In order to become a good health coach, there are certain personal qualities and skills you’ll need to help others create lasting, positive changes in their lives. At Health Coach Institute, it’s our goal to help you find success in your coaching career. In this post, we’ll be sharing 10 essential health coaching skills that we think you need to know.
Becoming a Health Coach: A Trend on the Rise
Do you have the skills to be a health coach? More and more people these days are interested in becoming a health coach. Generally, they want to:
- Help others improve their lives through preventive care and healthy lifestyle design
- Do meaningful work that makes a difference in the world
- Enjoy more career freedom and flexibility
As people around the world are increasingly grappling with one or more chronic diseases, and society as a whole is placing greater emphasis on health and wellness, skilled health coaches have an incredible opportunity to drive important change.
Health coaching is now being viewed as an important part of the healthcare industry, not just a luxury for a select few. Regulations are being put in place and professional standards are being developed, to support their fluid integration into the healthcare system.
So, it comes as no surprise that the industry is forecasted to be worth $7.8 billion by next year. These are truly exciting times, and there is so much opportunity for coaches to help people who are struggling make the changes they need to be healthy.
10 Health Coach Must-Have Skills
So how do you break into this incredible industry and ensure your success for the long haul? Here are 10 essential health coach skills and qualities that will help you succeed!
1. Passion for Health and Helping Others
One of the most important health coach skills is to be passionate about what you’re teaching your clients. Does this mean you need to be 100% healthy and perfect? N-O! Clients don’t actually want a perfect coach; they want a human being who’s relatable. But you should be committed to living a healthy life, and enthusiastically lead by example. When you’re passionate about what you love, your positive energy and excitement will inspire those around you.
2. Formal Training
Passion alone isn’t enough, you need training to refine your health coach skills. Coaches have an important job helping their clients move through challenges and barriers that are keeping them from making—and maintaining—the changes they desire. You’ll need formal training in healthy lifestyle design, how to facilitate habit change, and other important health coach skills for your resume. There are many training programs out there, but be warned—they aren’t created equal. Take the time to thoroughly research and invest in a reputable training program that will adequately prepare you to work with clients. (Heads up: Our Become a Health Coach program provides a solid foundation in health coaching and business skills and is CCE-accredited by the International Coach Federation.)
Empathy is a VITAL health coach requirement. As your client’s right hand on their wellness journey, it’s important to bring your best self to every session. Keep in mind that this isn’t easy for your clients or they wouldn’t have hired you. They may go through sessions where they feel disheartened and like they want to quit. Other times, they may feel proud of their progress and like they can take on the world. Through the best and the worst, your job as a coach is to show up as a supportive, enthusiastic partner. Be personable, be present, be approachable, and –above all else— be compassionate.
4. Solid Communication Skills
Communication is an essential part of a wellness coach’s skillset. In order to coach clients to get results, change their habits for the better, and make better choices for a healthier lifestyle, you’ll need to establish a good rapport with clients and gain their trust. Your communication style plays a huge factor here!
5 qualities of a good health coach are:
- Active, engaged listeners
- Respectfully curious
- Great at asking the right questions at the right times
- Warm and caring in their communication
Adaptability is just one health coach must-have skill. Being a health coach requires flexibility and an ability to roll with the punches. You may find that something isn’t working during a coaching session or you may have a client who needs to cancel their session last-minute. While there are certainly times that will require you to remain firm, being relaxed, flexible, and open will serve you well in this role, where no two days are alike!
Your clients won’t always progress on the schedule you set. Sometimes, they’ll backslide. Everyone’s coaching journey is different, and we all progress at different speeds. What makes a good health coach? The best health coaches are patient and sensitive to their clients’ situations, and switch gears as needed.
7. Business and Marketing Skills
Business and marketing skills are essential for a holistic health coach! While some health coaches choose to find employment in institutions like hospitals, companies, schools, and wellness centers, others are choosing to reap the benefits of working for themselves. Whichever route you’re considering, strong business and marketing skills can help you land ideal clients. As you consider training programs, look for one that also teaches business and marketing basics so you can build the career you desire.
8. Holistic Thinking
Also known as “big picture mentality,” holistic thinking is just one of many vital health coach qualities you’ll need to work effectively with clients—and it’s a major focus of our 6-month training program. An effective holistic health coach understands that there are a multitude of interconnected factors that influence a client’s perspective and behaviors. They examine all facets of a client’s life, from health to relationships to career and beyond, to understand how certain behaviors and beliefs may be undermining their goals and keeping them stuck.
9. Love of Learning
A good health coach is always open to learning. The coaching industry is rapidly evolving and there’s no shortage of new knowledge and skills to be learned. The most successful health coaches constantly seek out opportunities to build on their existing knowledge and evolve their coaching practice. Investing in lifelong learning will help you expand your expertise, build new health coaching skills, broaden your perspective, and always stay ahead of the curve.
Maybe the most important health coach skill is professionalism. Clients should feel respected for their effort, commitment, and time. Arriving late for your sessions, communicating discourteously, or neglecting important actions for your client are a quick way to break trust in a coach-client relationship. Remember the Golden Rule: treat your clients as you wish to be treated. Be punctual, professional, and prompt to follow up on promised action items.
Become a Health Coach With HCI
Interested in learning how you can get the training and skills you need to become the most effective health coach? Health Coach Institute’s revolutionary Become a Health Coach program provides all the tools you need to launch a successful career transforming lives. Click the button below to learn how you can get a cutting-edge coaching education and help clients get results that last.