Should You Become a Health Coach? 4 Things to Consider
Before you become a health coach, there are a few things to consider. I’ve highlighted several reasons why you should (and shouldn’t) become a health coach. Hopefully these tips will help you along your health coaching journey.
Since becoming a health coach two years ago, I’ve been asked this question numerous times by friends, family and readers of this website. So I wanted to address my thoughts to the larger group – all of you! And have a resource for others on the interwebs who may be wondering the same thing.
It seems many are intrigued by the fact that I ditched the corporate world and have struck out on my own, as an online entrepreneur. And more importantly as a health coach…who happens to make some darn good healthy food!
Am I a health coach? Yes. Am I a food blogger? Yes. Have I now become a food photographer? Yes. And depending on which day of the week it is, I may give myself a handful of other titles. Welcome to the world of entrepreneurship.
There are many things to consider before becoming a health coach and the simple fact of the matter is, it may not be for everyone. Sure, it sounds glamorous from the outside (“work from your laptop, anywhere, anytime”) – but I’m not gonna lie, tons of work has to happen behind the scenes in order to become a successful health coach. So much so, that the topic of becoming successful in your health coaching practice is a conversation for another day.
Three reasons why you SHOULD become a health coach
1. You want to improve your own health and that of your family
Did you know that many who enroll in health coaching programs have zero desire to create a business? It’s true. They simply want to learn more about nutrition and holistic health to benefit their own wellness and help those around them. And if you think about it that way, it may just be the best investment in preventative medicine possible.
Trust me, there are things I wish I knew 10 years ago about nutrition, wellness and self-care that may have mitigated my numerous doctor appointments as I was diagnosed with four autoimmune diseases. I’m super thankful that I’m healthy today, but an education in wellness can’t be underscored. It’s an investment in ourselves, which personally, I feel is far more valuable than any investment in creating a business.
So if you’re interesting in health coaching for your own wellness, you’re not alone. But if you are interested in creating a business, read on…
2. You want to positively impact the lives of others and create a career out of it
The thing I love most about being a health coach is positively impacting clients and helping them reach their goals. It’s almost a bonus that I get paid for doing so. But just to clarify (as it does get confusing) health and wellness coaches are NOT dietitians or clinical nutritionists. We don’t prescribe medicine, order lab tests and doll out medical advice.
Think of it this way – health coaches are similar to life coaches, with a wellness bent. We inspire, motivate and provide a level of accountability that is currently absent in the healthcare continuum. It’s a “missing link” that can provide enormous benefit. My own clients will attest to it.
But getting to the root of the question – can you make a career out of it? Yes. Absolutely. Media outlets for the last couple of years have mentioned health coaching as an emerging occupational trend, simply based on the needs of society (which I talk more about here). WebMD and the CDC highlight it as well. In short, the field of health coaching is gaining in popularity, with doctor’s offices even employing health coaches on staff.
So if you’re interested in providing health coaching services, as part of an integrated healthcare delivery system or through your own business or website, health coaching may be right for you.
3. You want to create a wellness-focused business, but not provide coaching services
Seems like an oxymoron to obtain a health coaching certification to not coach, right? But this may in fact be the largest trend. Many people pursue health coaching to have a solid, well-rounded background in nutrition and holistic health – as the basis for other endeavors.
Next time you go to the bookstore, peruse the cookbook aisle. Then, flip to the back and see how many cookbook authors are certified health coaches – heaps! Many health coaches pursue other revenue generation streams like writing books, holding wellness retreats and creating physical or digital products.
Again, using myself as an example, very soon I’ll launching my first ebook. Sarah Wilson, from the enormously successful I Quit Sugar franchise has also mentioned that she didn’t pursue health coaching to provide coaching services. And that’s totally okay! Pursuing health coaching can be the jumping off point for numerous wellness-focused businesses – even bricks and mortar businesses like yoga studios and healthy cafes.
And one reason why you SHOULDN’T pursue health coaching
You’re driven by making tons of money, as soon as you graduate
I’m not gonna lie, I’ve talked to numerous folks who’ve pursued health coaching with visions of massive wealth dancing through their heads. They do the math: $100/hr x 2080 work hours in a year equals $208K! Unfortunately, those individuals were let down and re-joined the 9-5 game after deciding that health coaching really wasn’t for them after all.
Yes, you can make good income as a health coach, but it won’t happen overnight and it will take quite a bit of effort. When you finish your health coaching certification, clients will not automatically fall into your lap. You’ll have to find them, market to them and work to gain their business. This requires confidence, business skills and marketing savvy.
The health coaching program I attended, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, does provide courses to address this. But even still, it takes time to really find your groove, develop your niche and grow your business. In other words – don’t quit your day job (just yet!).
My recommendation is to build your health coaching career while you still have a steady income stream. Then, once you’ve gained enough momentum in your coaching career, you can choose your future path – whichever path that may be.
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If you’d like to learn more about the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN), the health coaching program I attended, click here to get a copy of the curriculum guide.
Other health coaching posts you might be interested in:
Are you thinking of becoming a health coach? I’d love to hear your thoughts and what’s motivating you! Share in the comments below.
This post was originally published Jan 2016, but recently updated.