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  • Andrew Kidd

What is a Health Coach? - A Guide to the Occupation

I had never heard the term health coach before becoming a client of one. My health coach was an Optavia Health Coach, but I have come to see that both a health coach and an Optavia Health Coach are practically the same thing.


Could a Health Coach help you? I believe so as my wife and I have helped hundreds of people content for their health.




What is a Health Coach?

A health coach can best be described as a professional health guide and cheerleader and someone who walks alongside you in your health journey.

If a coach determines that your journey requires more help from specific professionals, they may point you to that professional as what you need may be out of the scope of what they can help you with.

Generally speaking, health coaches can help you focus on a variety of areas of your life that you may not realize you need help with.

Some of those areas can include the following:

  • Your Why.

  • Sleep.

  • Healthy Motion.

  • General Nutrition Guidance.

  • Building Healthy Surroundings.

  • Developing a Healthy Mindset.

  • Building Better Habits.

  • Bring Things to Your Attention.



What is Your Why?

Having a strong why is the internal or intrinsic motivation that gets a person to start doing something. Without a strong why, a person is likely to give up very quickly on whatever endeavor they are starting. So if your health coach asks you about your why, I would consider doing an exercise on the 7 layers of why. It will help you thoughtfully consider why what you are doing is important to you.


Building Healthy Surroundings

There have been many studies conducted including the study by Nicholas Christakis at Harvard which basically shows that your social network has an impact on all areas of your life including health, weight, happiness, etc... If friends are overweight, then the chances of you becoming overweight become over 50% greater. If your spouse is overweight, then you are over 30% more likely to become overweight. And the opposite is true if you are around healthier people. Health surroundings (social ties and influence) are incredibly important in our overall health.


Proper Amount of Sleep

If you don't get enough sleep you are undermining all your other health efforts. Sleep is incredibly important to your overall health. Lack of sleep can lead to weight gain, a compromised immune system, impact your learning and memory, and much more.


Healthy Motion

Having healthy motion in your life doesn't mean ya have to hit up the gym, at least not right away. It more applies to being more active and intentional about small habits of motion that add up. Healthy motion has a variety of health benefits.


Having a Healthy Mindset

A health coach isn't a counselor or physiologist however they can ask you great questions and point out things that could be stumbling blocks to a healthier life. Sometimes we view the world in a less than positive way and in turn we look at unhealthy things for comfort. Recognizing these things can be the first step to changing them.


General Nutrition Guidance

Health Coaches are not nutritionists or dietitians. There are fundamentals of nutrition that are beneficial to anyone wanting to eat right and lose weight. Portion control, eating the right things, eating several times a day, etc. A nutrition coach will point you in the right direction depending on what your goals are. If a nutritionist or dietician is required, they will likely point you to one that can help you further.


A health coach can also give general advice as to what to avoid when shopping for yourself and the family and making better healthier food choices.


Building Better Habits

Building habits can be difficult. But with a health coach's help, you can start to learn how to develop new habits and learn how habits are formed. We are our habits.


Bringing Things to Your Attention

Sometimes we just don't know what we don't know. A health coach can guide you in areas that help you to be self-aware in areas you might not have realized needed attention. Everyone comes to a health coach with different habits and different areas that need work.





What does a Health Coach do?

Health Coaches are generalists in many of these areas to provide knowledge or direct you to where you can learn more about it.


With that being said, tackling all these areas at once can be quite a big endeavor so a health coach will help you break down some of these things into smaller attainable goals.

Health Coaches will typically start by asking you questions about you like:

  • What would you like to accomplish in your health?

  • What would accomplishing that be important to you?

  • What are some of the things that have changed from a time when you were healthier in your life?

Health coaches will attempt to determine your starting point and how they can best serve you.


Generally speaking, health coaches will connect with a client weekly by phone, video call, or even in person. Phone calls typically consist of general conversation, asking about weight loss (if the client is trying to lose weight), learning about any scale and non-scale victories, answering questions or pointing a client in the right direction with resources, finding out if there is anything coming up that the client is concerned about in regards to staying on track with their health.


Health Coaches are Guides, Cheerleaders, and your Accountability Partner


Health Coaches are Guides

Health coaches are not the food police but are there to guide and empower you to take control of your health. We point you in the right direction that is needed at depending on what point you are in your health.


Health Coaches Cheerlead You

Health Coaches are your cheerleaders to celebrate you when you are having success in different areas of your health. It's not always the scale that a client will be celebrating, sometimes it's how far someone ran or how their jeans fit better. Those are called nonscale victories.


Health Coaches Keep You Accountable

Health Coaches are your accountability partner. When I say accountability partner I mean for you to be accountable to your goals. It doesn't mean when you connect with your coach that you are going to get scolded for doing something unhealthy. But you may commit to goals and you are going to want your coach to ask you if you are keeping the commitment to yourself with those goals. Accountability is incredibly important on your health journey!


Do Health Coaches Make Money?

Yes, health coaches do make money. Some health coaches run their businesses independently and some health coaches partner with businesses and medical doctors.

When partnering with a company as an employee you will generally find that the role pays $17 to $20 per hour currently.


Independent business owners have a much higher financial upside however there is no promise of work or clients to work with.




Outlook of Health Coach Career

The outlook for health coaches is good though a relatively new title for this occupation. Coaching, in general, has been on the rise in the last decade. There are many companies like Optavia that has popularized the role of a health coach and other health companies are beginning to model their companies the same way because health coaching is an effective model for helping someone reach their health goals.


Is Health Coaching a Good Career?

Health coaching is a very rewarding career as they get to see changes and shifts happen in the people they are coaching. And many times the changes and shifts ripple into their families and friends.


Since working as an employee for a company may lead to limited income growth, one should consider partnering with a company, starting your own company, franchising, or becoming an Optavia Independent Coach. Start-up costs will vary depending on the route you take.


Health coaching is all about helping people. So many including myself would say its a fantastic career!.


Is an Optavia Health Coach Business a Good Career

Disclaimer: OPTAVIA makes no guarantee of financial success. Success with OPTAVIA results from successful sales efforts, which require hard work, diligence, skill, persistence, competence, and leadership.


My wife and I are Certified Optavia Health Coaches and have been health coaches since 2018. I became a coach just to be able to pay for the Optavia program that was helping me lose weight. My wife and I found that we were pretty good at it and were inspiring others to get healthy. The emotional deposits that came from that were pretty incredible.


I can from the private investigation industry so I had no idea how to health coach coming into the industry by my health coaches walked me through how to serve others as a health coach and essential taught me the fundamentals of building our health coaching business.


My wife and I have worked very hard to build the business and we have been doing it full time since 2019.


If you would like to talk more about this I would love to chat with you about it.


Education to Become a Health Coach

Education may vary depending on what route you take in the career path of a health coach. Some companies require a bachelor's or Associate's degree to work with them as a health coach but the actual training of health coaching will take place within the company.

Some states may require a certain amount of education to sell your services as a health coach.


Some companies like Optavia train new Optavia Independent business owners on how to health coach clients. There is an option also to be certified through Optavia.


With that being said there are many institutions that sell course certifications courses on being a nutrition coach or a health coach.


NASM the National Academy of Sports Medicine has many accredited programs like becoming a Certified Wellness Coach (which is basically a health coach) or becoming a Nutrition Coach. The cost varies and they tend to have large sales once or twice a year. This is a trusted organization that I myself have been a student of.


The Health Coach Institute has a health coach program as well. There is no cost provided on the site and you will have to request more information from them. The introduction interview video does align with what a health coach does and has to become.


Do Health Coaches Need to have a Business License?

For this question, you must refer to your state and possibly city as to what their requirements are for having a business license. There may be certain financial thresholds you must exceed before requiring one. There are many business formations businesses can take like sole proprietorship and LLC and an S Corp. Some companies you may partner with have you on 1099 status.


Regardless of the business formation, check with your state, county, or city to see if they require a professional license or a business license to conduct business in your area.


Keys to Success as a Health Coach

My wife and I have been health coaching for over 4 years and have a successful health coaching business located in Colorado. We have observed many trends of successful health coaches and their businesses which I will share with you.


Love for people

If you don't have a love for people and a love for the clients then your health coaching business will struggle as your clients will sense this. Many successful health coaching businesses I have observed, including my own business have this key to success.


Coaches must be Hard Working

Buiding a health coaching business does take a lot of work. If you are not partnering with a health and wellness business, you may have to create a program within your business for your clients to follow which might be even more work.


Furthermore, the larger the amount of clientele become the more calls you will have with your clients.


Coaches Must Invest in Personal Development

Beyond the formal education or certifications that will help you become a competent health coach, personal development is incredibly important in learning the skills to guide individuals to better health like soft skills.


Coaches Must Meet and Develop Relationships

Health coaching can certainly be marketed through websites and ads, but to build. thriving health coaching business coaches need to meet people and build relationships. Trust is an important asset for a health coach. Health coaches do what they can to put themselves in front of the most people as possible to find the people that are looking to make a change in their health.

Should you become a Health Coach?

Being a health coach is an incredibly rewarding occupation. If you are looking to fill your cup, this is a great occupation for that. The financial side will vary greatly depending on the route you go in this industry. Aside from the emotional deposits and the financial part of it, being a health coach keeps you accountable in your own health which is also incredibly important. If some of these things are important or depending on what it is, not important, you may want to consider this as a way to go.


Here is what you will find about Health Coaching as an occupation or a business. The lines are still being drawn as to what is the definition of a health coach. Coaches are guides and a health coach guides individuals in good health practices which could include weight loss, longevity, or optimization of a person's health. Health coaches will stay in their lane and refer clients to specialists when then needed.

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