Top 5 Reasons Why People Invest in Health Coaches in 2022

Guest blog post written by Michelle Falzone, a Registered Kinesiologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Toronto.  Michelle also runs her own online health and fitness coaching business dedicated to building stronger and more confident women, in and out of the gym.

 

You’ve probably heard the word ‘coach’ ad nauseam over the last couple of years. 

Life coach, business coach, relationship coach. Many people are hopping on the ‘gram calling themselves coaches in a particular subject matter. In case you were unaware, the coaching industry is unregulated, meaning there is no governing body that regulates the coaching profession.

Regulated professions such as dietetics, physiotherapy, and kinesiology to name a few (there are more than 20 in Ontario) are designed to protect the public by regulating the profession. Regulating the profession means that there are rules in place to protect the public’s right to competent, safe and ethical care. 

You can imagine how unregulated professions can affect the quality of the coaching industry, as anyone can call themselves a coach without any formal education, training and/or experience.

This blog article is dedicated to educating you on what a Health Coach is, how people become one, what to look for in a Health Coach and why individuals hire them.

What is a Health Coach?

As the Cleveland Clinic puts it, “A health coach is your personal health cheerleader, guide and partner. They help you implement lifestyle changes to improve your physical health”.

This sounds like a task anyone with an optimistic attitude and passion for health can take on. The truth is, helping someone self-manage their health is a skill and does require a foundation of knowledge in behavioural psychology and a particular specialty. Depending on a Health Coach's specialty, they may have education and experience in diet and nutrition, exercise or mental health. 

In the exercise world, this can further niche into areas of interest such as women's health, chronic disease and pain management and prevention, high performance, etc. 

A Health Coach uses behaviour change techniques such as motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioural therapy and appreciative inquiry to empower their clients to make change in their health behaviours. They help clients get “unstuck” and build confidence in overcoming challenges and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, whatever that may mean for their client. 

They believe their clients are experts in their own lives, and they have all the answers within them. Health Coaches skilfully draw out these answers to help clients reach their self-determined health goals. They take the time to get to know their clients and discover their internal motivation to set them up for success that is personalized.

How does someone become a Health Coach?

One can call themselves a Health Coach if they have no education or training.

One can call themselves a Health Coach if they have an undergraduate degree or diploma in a health-related or non-health related field.

One can call themselves a Health Coach after completing a personal training certification or health coaching certification.

One can call themselves a Health Coach after getting their master's degree, completing a practical and theoretical exam and/or certification that connects them to an association or regulated college.

As you can see, the spectrum is wide.

When a coach is part of a regulated health care profession, such as a Registered Dietitian or Registered Kinesiologist, they are able to work within their scope of practice and refer out when needed. They are also able to acquire certifications in other areas of interest and include it in their practice.

Nonetheless, there are MANY coaches out there that are certified personal trainers, strength and conditioning coaches, etc., that aren’t part of a regulated college that are phenomenal at what they do. 

I want to encourage you to do your own research, and if you can, interview the coach you are thinking of hiring. 

Considerations when hiring a Health Coach

Here are five considerations to consider when hiring a coach, along with some questions I would ask:

  • Understand their experience/practice focus
    • Who do they have experience working with and for how many years (ex. new mothers, older adults, high performance athletes)?
    • What is their focus (ex. pre/post-natal, chronic pain, strength and conditioning)?
    • What is their training/coaching philosophy (calorie/macro counting, intuitive eating, approach to exercise programming)?
  • Review their education/qualifications 
    • What are their credentials - education, qualifications, certifications? 
    • Do they keep up to date with new research and prioritize continuing education?
  • Learn more about their reputation 
    • Are they known to be reliable and professional?
    • Do they practice ethically and with integrity?
    • What evidence do they have of client satisfaction and success?
  • Feel out their personality 
    • Do you connect with them and their energy?
    • Do they practice what they preach?
    • Are you able to book a call with them to see if they are the right fit?
  • Pay attention to their communication skills 
    • Do they listen more than they speak?
    • Do they ask questions that encourage self-exploration?
    • Do they explain concepts in ways you can understand?

Just like buying a car, we all have features that are important to us. Some we can compromise on, and others are non-negotiable. Take the time to tease this out for yourself.

Make sure that who you are looking to hire can truly help you with the goal you want to achieve. You are hiring someone that has the potential to transform your life. Take the time to research your vehicle for lifestyle change!

Why hire a Health Coach in 2022?

While we are approaching the 2-year “panniversary”, many people have had the opportunity to reevaluate their lifestyle over the pandemic. Some people have lost their jobs and took a jump with a career change. Others have had the “pleasure” of supporting their children through virtual school. You may know someone who lost their life to COVID or have had their mental health deeply affected over the last couple of years.

The silver lining from this pandemic is that many people are looking at their health through a different lens. The appreciation for mental and physical health has been heightened.

Here are my top 5 reasons why people are investing in Health Coaches in 2022:

  • Maintain accountability: Have you ever said you’ll do something at the start of the month and when the end of the month rolls around, you forgot about that promise you made to yourself? Health Coaches keep you on track with keeping your priorities in focus through regular touch points. 
  • Increase life fulfillment & build self-confidence: We are here for a short time and want to make it a good time. The pandemic has shifted our thinking on how we can get more out of life, which is deeply influenced by our health. A big reason that people struggle to keep up with their health efforts is because they don’t believe in themselves and/or their abilities. Health Coaches help build your self-belief and self-confidence so that you are able to manage your health effectively and sustainably.
  • Seek professional guidance: Want to move better but have no idea if you’re doing a lunge correctly? People want to know how to take the best approach for their health goals, and seeking professional guidance is the way to go. I’m sure we can all agree it doesn’t make sense to hire a plumber to do our taxes!
  • Make lifestyle change permanent: People are more savvy these days. We are tired of fad diets and another HIIT program that we can’t keep up with in the long run. I’ve noticed that the pandemic has encouraged people to be more open to gradual and sustainable change that becomes permanent.
  • Get the support of a personalized approach: Perhaps you’ve followed a diet or exercise program from the internet and haven’t been getting the results you are looking for. Chances are you’d benefit from a personalized approach. Everyone's situation is unique, so the approach should be too.

Perhaps there is a reason why you want to hire a coach that isn’t in the top five above. Perhaps one or many of these reasons resonate with you. If you are seriously considering hiring a coach, I implore you to do your research.

I hope you have found this article informative and helpful. Remember, take care of your body and mind, you only have one of them!


Michelle has her Bachelor of Arts in Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Ontario, where she concurrently completed the Fitness Assessment and Exercise Counselling Certificate. After a few years in the field, her interest in behavioural psychology grew, and she completed the Wellness Coaching Post-Graduate Certificate program at Humber College in Toronto, Ontario. As a Registered Kinesiologist, Michelle works in the Movement & Performance department at Cleveland Clinic in downtown Toronto. She also runs her own online health and fitness coaching business dedicated to building stronger and more confident women, in and out of the gym. In her spare time, Michelle enjoys woodworking, hiking and exploring new cuisines. You can reach Michelle via email at [email protected] or on Instagram at @pivotyourwellness

References: 

Health coaches: What they do - and how they can help you. Cleveland Clinic. (2021, November 17). Retrieved February 13, 2022, from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-is-a-health-coach/ 

Home. College of Kinesiologists of Ontario. (n.d.). Retrieved February 13, 2022, from https://www.coko.ca/patients-and-clients/understanding-regulation/

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