What Is a Wellness Coach & Why Should You Work With One?

What Is a Wellness Coach & Why Should You Work With One?

So, what is a wellness coach and why should you work with one?

Wellness coaches collaborate with their clients to help them strive for a variety of goals. Goals like reducing inflammation, managing a chronic illness, improving fitness, or improving diet are all fair game. One of the defining aspects of health coaching is that the goals are entirely client driven, as is the type of support the health coach supplies. Whether you prefer accountability check-ins a few times a week, a nightly email, or a morning text message, a good health coach will always do what is most effective for their client.

One of the things that make health coaches especially valuable is that they work backwards from the symptoms and play the long game of uncovering what is at the source of the symptoms. A wellness coach will come at the root issue from all sides - emotional, mental, physiological, habitual, and so on. This holistic approach ensures that together, coach and client can find what is at the root of the struggle and address it for what it is, rather than simply treating the symptoms and hoping the root cause is handled in the process. The root cause is often unexpected. For example, an unhealthy gut microbiome could be the source of inflammation or chronic pain, or unprocessed emotional trauma could be the source of a struggle to lose weight. A health coach’s training enables them to connect seemingly unrelated dots and produce a complete picture. 

It’s a long, thorough process, but the body will always supply the answer eventually as long as we know how to look and listen for it. Helping you do that deep, intimate looking and listening is one of the most priceless attributes of a health coach.

What can you expect when you enroll with a health coach? 

First of all, you can expect an extremely detailed intake process. It’s really important that your coach has a comprehensive understanding of your medical history (courses of antibiotics, surgeries, injuries, chronic issues, etc), your current health statistics, and the lifestyle circumstances that comprise your daily life. Additionally, they will inquire about emotional trauma and losses. Believe it or not, bodies tends to physiologically catalog these types of events, meaning they have a huge amount of potential for being linked with a diverse set of health issues later in life. 

Second, you can expect the unyielding support that comes with having someone staunchly in your corner. With my clients, I always focus on the positives and make sure to encourage them in the behaviors that work for them and enrich their lives. I ask them how they are best supported and what kind of feedback and coaching they are looking for. Meeting people exactly where they are is extremely important to me. When we turn our attention to everything that is working well and focus energy there, the more challenging facets tend to fall into place along the way. 

Third, you can expect flexibility and focus. With a health coach, you get to set up a routine and agreement that work perfectly for you and fit snugly into your life. Often the collaboration happens online or over the phone, making it easily assimilated into your schedule. Also, anticipate significant depth and breadth to be covered. Because uncovering the sources behind symptoms is a long term goal, there will be a lot of background information covered, as well  as a lot of trial and error in order to whittle down to the core of the issues. Ideally, your health coach will work in tandem with your doctors and any other health or wellbeing practitioners that you already work with. 

Is it worth it? 

Yes! The research is still emerging, but as the field of health coaching expands and is popularized, more and more studies are being done. The current research shows that there are many benefits to health coaching, but here there are three significant ones that arise over and over in the research.

Most of the research currently out there regards the management of chronic illnesses (like heart disease or diabetes). It shows that health coaching is consistent in improving the management of a variety of chronic illnesses and diseases.

Health coaching has also been shown to be effective in decreasing non-heritable risk factors that stem from behaviors such as smoking, dietary choices, excessive alcohol consumption, or lack of exercise.

Last but not least, these effects have been shown to last. Due to the approach taken during a health coaching collaboration, the “coachee” walks away demystified, informed, and empowered to take their health into their own hands, which they do! This impact has led to self-reporting of increased overall life satisfaction. 

So, in short, it is totally worth it!


Gordon, N. F., Salmon, R. D., Wright, B. S., Faircloth, G. C., Reid, K. S., & Gordon, T. L. (2016). Clinical Effectiveness of Lifestyle Health Coaching: Case Study of an Evidence-Based Program. American journal of lifestyle medicine, 11(2), 153–166. https://doi.org/10.1177/1559827615592351

Kivelä, K., Elo, S., Kyngäs, H., & Kääriäinen, M. (2014). The effects of health coaching on adult patients with chronic diseases: a systematic review. Patient education and counseling, 97(2), 147–157. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pec.2014.07.026 

Grinspoon, P. (2020, April 8). Health coaching is effective. Should you try it? Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/health-coaching-is-effective-should-you-try-it-2020040819444

Schultz, K. (2018, February 18). We have to talk about childhood trauma and chronic illness. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/chronic-illness/childhood-trauma-connected-chronic-illness#What-the-research-says