What Makes a Good Health Coach?
There are of course many qualities that make a person a good health coach. While it certainly makes sense for someone already in the health and wellness industry, it is not necessarily a requirement to become a health coach.
This article discusses some of the basic qualities of what makes a person a good health or wellness coach, regardless of his/her background.
One such quality is the ability to empathetically communicate with people. Empathetic communication will encourage the client to accept you as a trusted health coach. What this means is that the health coach can identify with the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of his client. Using empathy may lead to an improved relationship between the health coach and client.
Another quality that is related to empathetic communication is to really listen, actually to listen effectively. A coach needs to be trained to listen effectively since people vary in their communication skills. Some clients may express themselves clearly while others may not. A coach needs to be aware of the different needs of his/her client base and how the coach/client communication and listening skills affect the interaction.
The wellness coach has to leave his personal opinions out of the coaching session. The coach needs to be completely non-judgmental. The wellness coach absolutely should not judge his/her client based on his personal standards or opinions. Much of a coach’s training will be on how to be aware of this and to have the self control to NOT allow his personal opinions to be communicated.
Another fundamental quality of a health coach is the integrity to keep all information about the client confidential. The coach/client relationship is based on trust and the client must be sure that the coach can be trusted with private matters.
In addition, the coach still must be somewhat of a mentor, guidance counselor and cheerleader all wrapped up in one! The health coach should allow the client some flexibility in the agenda of each session, but the coach should also guide the session conversation so that it is an effective one. The client sets his/her own goals, again with the guidance from the coach. The coach may challenge the client a bit if the goals are too vague or too big. In the latter case, the coach may suggest smaller “bite size” goals so that the client has a better chance of reaching those goals. Of course, all successes are celebrated.
In summary, there are many qualities that a health coach should have and there are also many roles that he/she has. Each coaching relationship will be different and the wellness coach will need to be a bit flexible. A coaching relationship can in some cases grow into a life-long friendship as well.