If you're looking to start a career as a wellness coach you'll be glad to know that this is a fast-growing sector in the fitness industry.
Becoming a personal wellness coach can be a fulfilling and rewarding career, as long as you follow the right advice before getting started!
Not to worry, OriGym have created an in-depth guide on how to become a wellness coach in the UK, so you'll have everything you need to know.
Looking to get some fitness qualifications to supplement your learning? Why not check out our Personal Training diploma before you carry on reading!
What is a wellness coach?
Wellness coaching has connections with life coaching, psychology and the healthcare industry.
As said by Wolever et al:
The actual coaching process entails goal-setting determined by the patient, encourages self-discovery in addition to content education, and incorporates mechanisms for developing accountability in health behaviours.
With a clear definition for health and wellness coaching, robust research can more accurately assess the effectiveness of the approach in bringing about changes in health behaviours, health outcomes and associated costs that are targeted to reduce the global burden of chronic disease.
As many of us lead a very busy lifestyle, we often make bad decisions regarding our health. This is where wellness coaching comes in.
Whether it be promoting healthier eating or monitoring stress levels, a wellness coach provides assistance to clients when they need motivation, and will provide them with tools to better their life.
In comparison to nutritionists or even personal trainers, who create specific diet plans or exercise routines, a wellness coach will help you make healthier choices to fit your lifestyle.
Of course, it’s important to note that the coaches act as advocates for their clients to help them stick to their goals, and that this is their main focus.
By implementing changes to their client's diet, fitness routine and sleep patterns, a wellness coach gives holistic advice on how to live a better life rather than being an expert in one specific area.
Health and wellness coaches help their clients to identify and reflect on self-defeating behaviour, however it is down to the client to put what the coach suggests into practice to create long-lasting behavioural changes. It’s a great way for clients to regain confidence in themselves to achieve both short-term and long-term goals.
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Kick-start an exciting new career in fitness & wellness
For many people the gym can be quite an intimidating place, especially for those who are just starting out in their fitness journey.
In fact, only 13% of the population own a gym membership. This could suggest that more people are looking for a holistic approach when it comes to managing their own health and wellness.
This could be likened to when people go for a spa day. More often than not, the feel-good factor wears off quite quickly, especially once the individual returns to their normal routine, be it the workplace or a stressful situation at home.
Therefore, the personal wellness coach as mentioned earlier will bridge that gap by taking a more holistic approach to their clients, and by suggesting different approaches for their clients to lead better lives.
Do you need any qualifications to become a wellness coach?
In short, you don't technically need qualifications to practise as a wellness coach.
However, it’s important to note that without them, it would be extremely difficult for you to generate any sort of income.
It would be better for your career to gain a relevant qualification, and to become part of a professional body or organisation to prove that you are a reputable health and wellness coach.
If you want to be a wellness coach in the UK, there are plenty of American companies that supply something called a ‘Health Coaching’ qualification. It does take a significant amount of time to complete a qualification like this, as they usually take between 6-12 months, but they can be completed on an online platform.
To be a successful and effective health and wellness coach you will need the following set of skills and knowledge:
Individuals who practise as a wellness coach in the UK focus on different elements of lifestyle. The holistic approach means that you should be appropriately qualified to target underlying issues with the client’s lifestyle habits.
If the client has a chronic disease for example, as a wellness coach you should find a functional and adaptable way for the client to change their lifestyle.
This can be supported by Mettler et al in this study on how wellness coaching can improve health:
Participants identified weight management as their top priority and successfully reduced their BMI. Participants also demonstrated significant improvements in motivation and confidence in most health behavior domains.
These results provide further support for the effectiveness of wellness coaching for weight management and for improving motivational readiness for behavior change.
This can be used as supportive evidence to those who ask; what is a wellness coach?, and to those who wonder what their purpose is in terms of physical health as well as overall wellness.
When potential clients first approach a wellness coach, it is quite difficult to change lifestyle habits. Therefore, a successful wellness coach would use specific techniques in order to change their behaviour.
For example, you can use techniques like positive psychology and motivational interviewing. It is important for you to have practical experience before working with clients alone; when you are in training, you should always be supervised.
How can a wellness coach help?
A health and wellness coach can help in a number of ways. A wellness coach will support and encourage a client when they feel they want to quit. The coach will provide the necessary support and inspiration to continue to the next stage of their personal development.
Of course, depending on the area that the personal wellness coach expertise and education is their priority would be to have a positive impact on their client's mental, emotional and physical health.
Wellness coaches often work closely with one to one basis with them to achieve the personal wellness goals. They are the key motivators in helping their clients to stay on track to make lifestyle changes.
A wellness coach can help for the following goals for potential clients:
- Emotional and mental health
- Lifestyle changes in behaviour to help a client’s overall well being
- Nutrition counselling
Benefits of Working as a Wellness Coach
If you decide to become a wellness coach, you'll be glad to know that there are plenty of benefits to the role.
Long term effects of coaching clients:
When you help a client, you provide a service which has multiple health benefits. There’s a significant impact in behaviour patterns for clients who work with wellness coaches to fight lifestyle problems.
As stated by Mental Health England:
Mental ill health is responsible for 72 million working days lost and costs £34.9 billion each year (4)
Note: Different studies will estimate the cost of mental ill health in different ways. Other reputable research estimates this cost to be as high as £74–£99 billion (5)
When clients take advice from a wellness coach and undergo the gruelling process of trying to change their behaviour, they will eventually be left with behavioural changes that affect their life.
These changes come with successful coaching, and far outweigh the time that it takes to coach the client, making it more than worth it. Therefore if you’re looking on how to become a wellness coach in the UK, we’ll go into further detail on this later on in the article.
The consumer market has now taken a turn to increasing awareness of managing one’s own self personal wellness. As we are now living in a fast-paced environment, especially with certain pressures and uncertainty in the workplace and at home, never before has there been such an importance to look after one’s self.
Therefore, it’s more important than ever for companies and corporations to invest in wellness coaching as it can prevent a decrease in productivity and attendance, that is usually caused due to mental illness.
This idea is supported by Swarbrick et al:
People with serious mental illnesses are at greater risk of living with untreated chronic medical conditions that severely impact their quality of life and result in premature mortality. Wellness coaching represents an intervention that can help individuals persist in the pursuit of individually chosen health and wellness goals.
Advising through emotional support and insight:
During your career, you will develop client-specific integrated plans that aid you in providing guidance through significant transitions in life.
With the training in providing emotional support that you recieve when you train as a wellness coach, you will be able to give a clients an increased chance of success. They will be able to steer away from acting on information from a medical professional alone, which can sometimes be pretty generic.
For instance, if a potential client has been advised from their doctor to quit smoking, a wellness coach will assist to counsel the client through the process to succeed. This will be more of a personal experience for them, and they will be more likely to succeed when given this kind of support.
Beyond the client's goals:
As we mentioned earlier, many clients often take time off work to deal with the issues that arise during their working hours. Companies that invest in a wellness coach directly improve workplace productivity, which in turn improves attendance.
By helping others maintain a healthy work-life balance as well as making their overall wellbeing a priority, you are displaying your ability to go above and beyond what they expect of you.
This is incredbily rewarding, especially when you witness your clients moving forward in their professional environment, which is something they wouldn't have been able to achieve when left with nothing but generic medical advice to guide them.
Where can you work as a wellness coach?
There are many fields that a personal wellness coach can work within.
For example, if you choose to go self-employed (which many coaches prefer), you can open up your own practice. Other than this, there are a number of holistic wellness centres around the UK where a wellness coach may work.
You will need to do a significant amount of research if you are going to apply for jobs as a wellness coach, due to it being a niche career choice. However, places that have been known to employ wellness coahces include:
- Businesses or Corporations
- Resorts, Fitness centres, Health clubs
- Hospital and medical care centres
It’s important to know that if you want to have a successful career in this sector, you need to make your business competitive. You should strive to make your services more appealing than those of other wellness coaches in your area.
You should invest in a high-quality website, make use of social media channels (especially Instagram and Twitter), display PPC ads on search consoles and social media, etc. Putting a lot of effort in your marketing strategy will determine how many clients you get, whether you work for a business or as a freelance coach.
In terms of what your responsibilites will look like, you will complete and manage any Wellness Coaching assignments with your clients by using online platforms, such as emailing (for answering questions or updates with the client), video calling services like Skype or FaceTime, or a client management software.
This is a great way for coaches who are self-employed to work remotely and save money that they would have to spend on renting out an office space. With technology constantly evolving, being a wellness coach could not be easier.
If you would like to meet with your clients face-to-face however, you will organise regular meetups with them, and ensure that you are available over the phone/via your management software between appointments should they need any guidance.
The possibilities are endless with this career choice, and how you work is largely up to you and how you wish to structure your business.
What salary can you expect when you become a wellness coach?
In America, according to Glassdoor, salaries can go up to $40,000 per annum. In the UK however, as it’s an up-and-coming industry, the salary does range from £17,000 - £28,000. This is all dependent on experience and the specific industry it covers.
In this instance, it’s important to note that as this is an up-and-coming sector, it’s a great chance to get involved and have a change in career choice.
As a wellness coach, you are differentiating yourself in the coaching sector as it’s split in to 3 parts: Life coaching, Business and Executive coaching. This ensures that you will be standing out from the rest of the crowd as these other sectors, are becoming more over saturated.
When you do become a personal wellness coach, you will have a unique opportunity to earn a significant amount by referring employees to your services. Whether it be small or large companies, it’s a fantastic opportunity to grow your own portfolio of clients.
If you do go self-employed, there’s an opportunity for those who want to work with potential clients outside of the U.K, it’s a growing industry so you know that the potential will be there.
Can personal trainers be wellness coaches?
Of course! As a qualified personal trainer wellness coach, you will have a solid foundation to help a client who are looking for short term and long term fitness goals. By adding wellness coaching to your services, you will be able to discuss with your client psychological aspects of behaviour and nutritional habits as well.
When you offer this service to your current or even potential clients, this will make you a more attractive personal trainer as you will not just help the clients on a physical aspect of personal training, you will be able to help them on the mental aspect as well. This is a great opportunity for personal trainer and wellness coach to be all combined in to one.
Wellness coaches can guide and assist clients even when they are not in a personal training session. This ensures that the trainer can also provide helpful tools when it comes to tracking nutrition, lifestyle assessments and behavioural performance.
Whilst providing the necessary tools to help the client, a personal trainer wellness coach will be able to give appropriate feedback in the exercise sector and be qualified to give advice and tips.
As a personal trainer and wellness coach, you will be able to go the extra mile with your client and offer the client more topics with the meeting sessions. This can be either in a coffee shop, at a supermarket or even online appointments.
This will mean that as a personal trainer wellness coach, you and the client have a healthy relationship and you can set goals at a friendlier environment rather than the gym.
When you are a personal trainer and wellness coach offering more services, in theory you will be able to earn more income as you have other services ready to use for your clients and potential clients.
You will be able to provide more behavioural feedback to the client and give insight to nutrition, potential weight loss and optimising the client’s health.
It’s important to note, as a wellness coach and personal trainer, you can provide guidance in terms of nutritional guidance. However, it’s important to note that this is just guidance, you cannot provide a nutrition plan unless you are a qualified nutritionist.
Daily task as a wellness coach in the UK?
So you are thinking, what is a wellness coach daily tasks? Down below will be what happens for a wellness coach.
Responsibilities of a Wellness Coach:
- Provide manageable and effective suggestions and solutions on health and fitness issues.
- To have a close relationship and regular meetings with the client and if they have other professionals in the health and wellness team to set achievable goals.
- Even with an online presence, to still off face to face appointments for education and support.
- If you are working in a hospital or elsewhere, to counsel and advise patients and healthy people to improve their overall health and condition.
- If there’s a meeting with the client, identify key health conditions and suggest how to move forward with a diagnosis from a medical doctor.
- One of the key wellness coach jobs would be to suggest the need of a behavioural change to improve health, reduce health risks involved with the client and improve overall quality of life.
- Another of the wellness coach jobs would be to offer possible alternatives and solutions if medication from a doctor is not sufficient.
- Examine and record vital signs like blood pressure, pulse rate, body temperature, weight and height.
- Be involved in motivational interviews and strategise with the client on how to set goals.
- Provide alternatives if medicines do not work, provide methods if qualified about diet and nutrition.
- If you are a personal trainer wellness coach, suggest exercises to help them with their fitness levels, provide alternative holistic methods like meditation to relieve stress.
- Always deal with a client with a smile and a positive attitude to make the client feel comfortable with you.
Traits of a wellness coach
Are you wondering what transferable skills you can use to aid your wellness coach training? Below are the necessary skills that you can use when learning how to become a wellness coach in the UK:
- Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
- Excellent knowledge in health, nutrition and fitness matters.
- Detailed knowledge of health-related ailments and helpful measures.
- To be motivational and convincing.
- To be adaptable to all clients of all ages.
- To be well organised and be welcoming at all times.
- Knowledge of the latest trends in health and self care.
- To be self-confident in your procedures and a personality to match.
What type of insurance do you need as a Wellness Coach?
Once you have taken a wellness coach course, it’s just as important to do your research about insurance.
Your expert field lies in helping clients identify their goals and find them. Like with any other business, if you decide to open your own, it’s important to have insurance to not just cover yourself, but to cover your business.
Below we’ve described the types of insurance that you will need:
Wellness/Life Coach Insurance: If you face any compensation claims from a current or previous client, this insurance can help your business stay on top.
Professional indemnity insurance: This is often known as PI insurance which covers legal costs and expenses incurred in your defence. This will ensure that the damages or costs may be awarded. If a claim has taken against you about inadequate advice or service which has caused your client or previous client to lose money.
Public Liability Insurance: This covers the cost of legal action and compensation claims which has been made against your business. The claim can be made if a third party is injured or their property suffers any type of damage whilst at your business premises or at their own business property, home or office.
It’s important to note that there are plenty of insurance policies online, so always read the small print in the terms and conditions where you will be able to see if a certain scenario will actually have you covered in the insurance policy.
What Type of Working Hours Should You Expect?
Our jobs play an important part in our lives. From paying the bills to help pay for holidays, you would think you need to work tirelessly if you are starting out as a wellness coach.
However, it is key to note that one of the most important lessons that you are teaching to your clients is to relieve stress. Working long hours and having a bad work/life balance will mean that you will be eventually burnt out.
Therefore, once you have completed your wellness coach training in the UK, the working hours can be flexible with this position, especially if you are self-employed, you will be able to choose your working hours to the way it suits you.
It’s important to note that of course, when you do start your own business, you would want to work long hours but you would need to of course see what the routine and your optimum working hours in order to find the best productivity.
A number of people who go into wellness coaching actually decide to do their coaching part time as they can gain qualifications in other fields. This will attract more clients as many people would feel the more qualifications a coach has, the more at ease the client will feel.
Before you go!
Hopefully now you have a good idea of what a wellness coach is, as well as the earning potential that a career in this sector may bring.
If you're interested in finding out more about available careers in fitness, why not check out some more of our articles:
If you feel inspired and want to take the plunge into becoming a Wellness Coach, why not click here to find out about our Level 4 Personal Trainer qualifications, which will definitely attract potential clients to your future business!
If you are already qualified in these areas, you can check out our Advanced Sports Nutrition course to gain a better insight into the nutrition side of wellness.
- The MHFA Centre, Mental Health England. Available at: https://mhfaengland.org/
- Wolever, Ruth Q., et al. "A systematic review of the literature on health and wellness coaching: defining a key behavioral intervention in healthcare." Global advances in health and medicine 2.4 (2013): 38-57.
- Swarbrick, Margaret, et al. "Wellness coaching: A new role for peers." Psychiatric rehabilitation journal 34.4 (2011): 328.
- Mettler, Emily A., et al. "Motivational improvements for health behavior change from wellness coaching." American journal of health behavior 38.1 (2014): 83-91.
Enquire to Become a Personal Trainer Kick-start an exciting new career in fitness & wellness
Enquire to Become a Personal Trainer
Kick-start an exciting new career in fitness & wellness