What Does a Health Coach Do?

Health coaches can be found working across the globe. They work with clients, individually, either in person or over the phone or internet.

Using cognitive-behavioral techniques, health coaching professionals encourage their clients to move past barriers and make gradual behavior change. They validate emotions and share stories (without revealing personal or identifying information) of other people who have overcome similar obstacles to help them feel hopeful about the future.

Getting Started

Unlike nutritionists and dietitians, health coaches are not trained to diagnose or prescribe treatments. They support clients in behavior change through the use of cognitive-behavioral techniques and motivational interviewing strategies. They also help clients process obstacles and set goals that lead to long-term success.

To get started in this career, you will need to complete a coaching program and earn certification. Be sure to choose a program that provides practice sessions to build confidence, coaching skills, and credibility. Also, look for a program with accreditation, expert resources, course materials, and specializations.

Many coaches find their first clients through referrals or a directory. They may then decide to go full-time, continue their current career and supplement it with health coaching, or work part time as they build their business. Whatever you choose, be clear on your niche and how you can best serve your ideal client. Then you will know what type of marketing and business development activities to focus on.

Goal Setting

Health coaches help clients get clear on what they want to achieve and then create a plan for them to make it happen. They use their training in appreciative inquiry and empathetic listening to understand where the client is right now. They also help them set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-Bound).

They encourage their clients to explore their motivation to adopt new behaviors and to assess their readiness to change. They often use a technique called motivational interviewing, which is a strength-based approach that has been shown to be effective in helping people take action on their own.

They also assist their clients in setting low threshold, personally meaningful objectives that are achievable and will boost the client’s sense of self-efficacy. They help them design a timeline to reach their goals, and they provide accountability support along the way. The results of these strategies are impressive: research shows that coaching can help individuals with chronic diseases such as heart disease, hypertension and obesity to better manage their condition and improve their overall quality of life.


Health coaches know that in order for any behavior change to be sustainable, it must be motivated by the client. That’s why they use techniques like motivational interviewing to encourage a client-driven approach to change. For example, if a client is struggling to quit smoking, the coach may ask them to envision their life without cigarettes. The goal is to help them see that the positive changes they’re making are worth the effort.

This is different from nutritionists or personal trainers who are specifically trained to educate their clients on specific diets and workouts. In contrast, health coaches are prepared to get granular and dig in to uncover the root causes of the behaviors they’re trying to support.

This is important because research shows that simply providing information isn’t enough to inspire lasting change (what smoker doesn’t already know about the dangers of smoking?). The Nudge Coach platform was developed to offer actionable client insight at a glance, allowing health professionals to identify those individuals whose momentum has stopped and dig in to find the reason why.


Health coaches don’t just offer advice – they also act as support, motivators and encouragers. Change is hard and sometimes it feels downright impossible, but having a health coach in your corner can help you to stay on track and find success.

Health Coaches work all over the world and in a variety of settings. They can be found working in private practice, running fitness boot-camps or in a corporate setting where they are helping to build wellness programs for employees.

Although they are not specifically trained to diagnose or treat conditions, health coaches are well qualified to help individuals find the right balance of healthy eating and exercise that is right for them. They use a variety of strategies including motivational interviewing, cognitive-behavioral techniques and positive psychology to support behavior change. This includes helping to overcome challenges such as limiting beliefs, cravings and food triggers. Health Coaches are also skilled in recognizing when to refer their clients out for additional support.Hälsocoach

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