There are many different routes to take when it comes to a career in coaching. Even amongst the four most popular coaching paths—health, wellness, nutrition and life—there are smaller niches and categories to choose from. That’s why it’s important to have a full understanding of what each type of coaching course entails before deciding which certification to choose from. Head here to learn about all of HCI’s coaching programs in detail or read on for a quick rundown of the basics. 

What Is a Health Coach?

A health coach is somebody whose main area of focus is on the physical well-being of their clients. They play a pivotal role in helping people improve their physical health by implementing diet and lifestyle changes. They also address the underlying mental blocks that contribute to poor habits, and work with clients to overcome them through a variety of tools and teaching methods. 

Health coaches can work to address specific conditions, like diabetes or high blood pressure, or they can help target a range of goals. Some of these include:

  • Creating a sustainable workout habit
  • Gaining muscle (in your overall body or a specific area)
  • Managing stress and anxiety
  • Learning healthy recipes
  • Quitting unhealthy habits

You can become a health coach in as little as six months. Click here for more program info or to enroll now

What Is a Wellness Coach?

A wellness coach covers all personal elements that contribute to healthy living. This includes physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. Wellness coaches work with their clients to develop ways to improve these areas, utilizing goal-setting strategies and other coaching tools. While there are certainly parallels between wellness and health coaching, wellness coaching is less specifically focused on physical fitness and more on holistic wellness.

Wellness coaches provide guidance in many areas of life, including: 

  • Developing a daily spiritual practice
  • Practicing positivity 
  • Improving relationships with others
  • Getting better sleep
  • Stepping outside of your comfort zone

At HCI, wellness coaching is included in the Become a Health Coach program. Read more about the wellness certification process and career path here.

What Is a Life Coach?

A life coach is someone who helps clients hone in on what they want in life, and then works with them to set achievable goals in order to get it. They focus on the emotional and cognitive well-being of their clients, and teach them how to step into the most empowered versions of themselves. The client and coach then work together to implement those changes into the workplace, their relationships and daily habits.  

Life coaches have a broad range of expertise, but are particularly helpful with things like achieving work/life balance, purchasing a home, or learning how to better manage stress. They can also help with the following:

  • Career transition
  • Setting financial goals
  • Launching a business
  • Improving communication skills
  • Pursuing an education 

Want to learn more about life coaching? Download our 10 Paradigms for Life Coaching guide for additional info.

What Is a Nutrition Coach?

As opposed to a general health coach who covers a variety of areas in life, a nutrition coach focuses more on eating habits. They address psychological factors—like limiting beliefs about food, diet or self—in order to support successful behavioral changes. A nutrition coach also teaches clients about calorie intake, macronutrients and smart grocery shopping. For those with pre-existing conditions, a nutrition coach may coordinate with a clinician or dietitian to create healthy, sustainable meal plans. 

While a nutrition coach can help with broad food-related goals, they can also work with clients to tackle more specific issues, such as:

  • Losing weight long-term
  • Reducing inflammation in conditions like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
  • Improving athletic endurance
  • Understanding nutrition labels and portion sizes
  • Calculating a personalized macronutrient profile

You can become a nutrition coach in as little as six months. Click here for more program info or to enroll now

Enroll in the Health Coach Institute

Now that you have a better understanding of the different areas of coaching, it’s time to take the next step! Contact a Clarity Coach at 1-800-303-2399 for answers to any additional questions. You can also head to our HCI training programs page to receive free access to an upcoming live workshop, plus a download of the course catalog and 72 hours to test-drive the program.


Health Coach Institute provides aspiring Health and Life Coaches with the tools, training, and support to make a great living transforming lives.