What is a wellness coach? And what does a health coach do? Is there a difference? With the promising professional opportunities presented by the health and wellness industry, there is no doubt that many people want to enter the coaching business.

If you are interested in this profession, it is imperative that you understand the difference between a health coach vs wellness coach. These two titles are often used interchangeably, especially on various media platforms.

However, there is a clear difference between the two. Understanding this difference will allow you to easily choose the right career path for your goals. Each is considered a crucial cog in the industry and follows best practices for the health and wellness coaching field.

Similarities between a Wellness Coach vs Health Coach

There are a number of ways in which a health coach and a wellness coach are similar.

To start with, they both work in the coaching field. Coaching is a general term and a flourishing field of work. The coaching industry believes in the idea that an individual is capable of solving their own problems with the right guidance and assistance.

A coach provides strategies and perspectives to help unlock the person’s most valuable potential. Coaches do not provide answers to problems directly. Instead, they allow the client to explore the issue and arrive at a viable solution.

Now that we understand the big picture idea behind the coaching industry, let’s dial back into the wellness vs health coach debate. A wellness coach and a health coach share the same concept and principles in conducting coaching sessions.

They help the client to identify the problem, the root cause of the issue, factors that affect their success, and possible actions that could be taken to gain control over the problem. Together, the coach and the client design a plan that will effectively lead to success.

In a nutshell, both a wellness coach and a health coach establish a clear partnership with the client to work on a well-defined goal.

Differences between a Wellness Coach vs Health Coach

Because the titles of both professions, health coach and wellness coach, are so similar, they’re often assumed to serve the same function and purpose. On some level, this may be true, but under better scrutiny, health coaching and wellness coaching have significant differences that could impact the client’s journey towards a particular goal.

In particular, the biggest differences lie in terms of specific scope and objectives, common issues addressed, and employment opportunities.

While it is clear that both wellness coaches and health coaches are working toward a general goal of teaching clients better living, they each target different specific objectives.

What Does a Wellness Coach Do?

A wellness coach covers all personal elements that contribute to healthy living. The main objective of a wellness coach is to counsel the client to effectively come up with strategies that will improve all aspects of their life. A wellness coach focuses their attention on four distinct areas: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.

What Does a Health Coach Do?

On the other hand, a health coach concentrates on helping the client establish exemplary long-term physical fitness and health.
The main objective of a wellness coach is to provide counsel and general assistance for the client to effectively come up with strategies that will improve all aspects of their life.

A health coach could work to address a specific condition, or target a range of issues. For example, a health coach could help a client lose weight, or just build towards a generally robust physical condition.

Health coaches help clients alter unhealthy behaviors and provide them with strategies that will divert them from living an inactive or sedentary life. The number one priority of health coaches is habit change that corresponds to a healthy lifestyle.

What Issues Do Health Coaches and Wellness Coaches Address Differently?

Given the clear scope and objectives of a health vs wellness coach, it is natural that they tend to focus on some similar areas of life. Some issues, however, may appear to be similar only because the wellness coach encompasses physical issues that relate to general wellbeing.

For example, a wellness coach assists clients in resolving issues such as:

  •  Stress management
  •  Lifestyle changes for better wellbeing
  •  Exercise and weight management
  •  Time management
  •  Personal organization
  •  Emotional and mental health

Meanwhile, health coaches help clients fix concerns such as the following:

  • Lifestyle health habits
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Stress management
  • Healthy dietary choices
  • Managing a specific health condition
  • Quitting unhealthy habits such as smoking and excessive drinking

Are There Different Employment Opportunities for a Health Coach than a Wellness Coach?

Health and wellness coaches will find a similar abundance of employment opportunities. Both can be employed in workplaces such as hospitals, community clinics, schools and universities, wellness centers, medical centers, health food stores, and corporations.

However, these institutions may hire either a wellness coach or a health coach depending on the types of programs they wish to adopt.

For example, facilities that help clients to manage a specific medical condition may prefer a health coach over a wellness coach.

Becoming a Wellness Coach or a Health Coach

The first step to establishing your career as a wellness coach or a health coach is to secure proper education and training.

Companies such as Health Coach Institute have programs designed to produce successful health coaches equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to become the crème de la crème in the field.

Know What YOUR Goals are to Decide The Right Coaching Path for You!

Choosing between becoming a wellness coach or a health coach depends on your personal and professional goals. The good news is, the health and wellness industry continues to trend upwards as more people are seeking healthier lifestyle choices.

If you want to help clients resolve problems related to all aspects of their wellbeing, then you ought to choose the wellness coaching track. However, if you are more suited to help out clients with their physical concerns, then becoming a health coach is right for you.

Join Health Coach Institute to Learn to Become a Coach

Health Coach Institute offers a variety of programs that help aspiring coaches reach their goals. Take a look at the options available and schedule your consultation with an HCI member today!


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