What makes a great Health Coach?

Expert reviewed on
January 11, 2024

The field of health coaching is rapidly growing as industry and individuals recognize the power of having a behavior change expert in your corner. A health coach can play a pivotal role in guiding you to make positive mindset and health behavior changes, achieving optimal wellbeing and living your best life. While there are several key skills and qualities that contribute to the success of a health coach, it is essential to possess a passion for health and helping others, effective communication skills, emotional intelligence, mindfulness, and a holistic approach to wellbeing.

The Total Approach to Health Coaching

A great health coach understands that health is not limited to just one aspect of an individual's life. Rather, it encompasses a holistic approach that integrates various dimensions of wellbeing, including physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. By valuing health in its entirety, a health coach recognizes the interconnectedness of these dimensions and how they contribute to an individual's overall wellbeing. This holistic perspective allows a health coach to guide you towards achieving optimal health and balance in all areas of your life.

  1. Passion for Empowering Others

    Empathy, compassion, and a genuine desire to empower others are fundamental qualities of a great health coach. A health coach is driven by a passion for helping individuals become the best versions of themselves. By providing guidance, motivation, and support, a health coach can inspire clients to take action and make positive changes in their lives. Health coaches generally have high emotional intelligence and are strong at self-regulating their own emotions to create an environment that is safe and nonjudgmental.
  2. Effective Communication and Active Listening

    Effective communication is a vital skill for a health coach. Being an excellent listener and communicator allows a health coach to establish a strong rapport with their clients and create a supportive environment for open dialogue. Active listening involves not just hearing what clients say but also understanding the meaning behind their words. Often, health coaches accomplish this through advanced skills in motivational interviewing. Through active listening, a health coach can tailor their approach to meet the unique needs of each client and guide them towards achieving their desired outcomes.
  3. A Mindful Approach

    Mindfulness is a core component of health coaching. A great health coach often has a strong integrated and dedicated practice of mindfulness. The skill of being in the present moment without judgment is at the heart of the coaching relationship and any coaching session.
  4. Asking the Right Questions

    Asking the right questions is a skill that enables a health coach to delve deeper into your mindset, motivations, and challenges. By asking open questions, a health coach can encourage you to reflect, gain insights, and develop a deeper understanding of themselves. This process of self-discovery paves the way for meaningful mindset and behavior change and empowers you to take ownership of your health journey.
  5. Continuous Education and Lifelong Learning

    Health coaching is a dynamic field that requires ongoing learning and professional development. A great health coach is committed to continuous education and staying up-to-date with the latest research and innovative techniques in the field. By expanding their knowledge and skill set, health coaches can provide their clients with the most relevant and effective guidance.  In addition, health coaches are committed to their own personal growth in domains such as mindfulness, emotional intelligence, mental health, and cultural humility.  Lifelong learning also allows health coaches to adapt to new challenges, serve diverse individuals and groups, and emerging areas of integrative health and wellbeing.
  6. Understanding of Social Determinants of Health and Health Equity

    Health coaches are strongest when they understand that health and wellbeing doesn’t occur in a vacuum. They understand that health is often determined by economic stability, education and access and quality, health care access and quality, neighborhood and built environments, and social and community contexts. This enables a health coach to create deep trust and safety with all client’s and their complex lives in which they live.
  7. Professionalism and Boundaries

    Maintaining professionalism is crucial for a health coach. This involves respecting client confidentiality, adhering to ethical guidelines, and establishing clear boundaries. Professional conduct ensures that all clients feel safe, respected, and supported throughout their coaching journey. Additionally, understanding the importance of being trauma-informed and when to refer to other allied health professionals when signs and symptoms are present for a variety of conditions is key for any health coach.