As a certified personal trainer, you are undoubtedly interested in improving the overall health and wellbeing of your clients, but the types of services you can provide may be limited. Did you know that being a Health and Wellness Coach is a specific career path you could consider?

Not sure what that is or what they do? No problem! We’ve gathered all the information you need to decide if health and wellness coaching is for you.

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What is the role of a health and wellness coach? 🙌

Let’s start by clearing up the terminology you may find around this. Some like to split the roles out into ‘health coach’ and ‘wellness coach’ or ‘life coach’. Considering that the roles they each perform are very closely linked and overlap, we’ll give a general description of a combined health and wellness coach.

A health and wellness coach works with individuals or groups to support them in achieving and maintaining a healthier lifestyle in all aspects of their physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. 

Here are some key responsibilities and aspects of the health and wellness coach’s role:

Assessment and goal setting

Coaches conduct assessments to understand each client’s current health status, lifestyle, and wellness goals. This can be an in-depth process to really discover the client’s full vision of what they want to achieve and why. They can then collaborate with clients to set realistic and achievable health and wellness objectives. 

Education and information

Based on the client’s goals and needs, a health and wellness coach will provide information about nutrition, exercise, stress management, sleep hygiene, self-care, and other relevant health topics.

An important part is educating clients on the importance of making informed choices that improve their wellbeing.

Behavioral change support

As a personal trainer you’ll know about the many barriers that prevent people from improving themselves. Health and wellness coaches help clients identify and overcome barriers to behavior change and offer strategies to help clients adopt and maintain healthier habits.

Motivation and accountability

Health and wellness coaching is an ongoing role that entails motivating and inspiring clients to stay committed to their wellness goals. By holding clients accountable for their actions and encouraging them to stay on track, coaches help them to achieve better outcomes.

Lifestyle coaching

It is the job of a health and wellness coach to delve into and address various aspects of a client’s lifestyle, including diet, physical activity, sleep, stress management, and relationships.

This holistic approach helps clients develop a balanced and sustainable lifestyle that promotes overall wellbeing.

Support and guidance

Health and wellness coaches provide ongoing support and guidance throughout a client’s wellness journey. They help clients navigate challenges and setbacks, and celebrate their successes. They can also help them to use tracking technology and apps to meet goals.

Collaboration with other professionals

To provide holistic wellness coaching, coaches may collaborate with healthcare providers, nutritionists, fitness trainers, and other professionals to ensure a comprehensive approach to health and wellness.


Tailoring coaching strategies to meet the unique needs and preferences of each individual client means recognizing and respecting cultural, social, and personal factors that may influence health choices. You will get to know your clients extremely well.

Continuous learning

A certified wellness coach must stay updated on the latest research and developments in health and wellness and continuously improve their coaching skills and techniques to better serve clients.

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Wait, how is this different to a personal trainer? 🤔

You may have read through the above and thought, well hang on a minute, I already do most of those things for my clients! Yes, there is definitely a lot of overlap between personal training and health and wellness coaching, especially as many PTs now incorporate elements such as nutrition, sleep, and mindfulness into their programs. However, there are still some differences.

The National Federation of Professional Trainers (NFPT) defines certified personal trainers as fitness professionals who “possess the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to design safe and effective fitness programs. They instruct and assist people in reaching personal health and fitness goals”.

As we mentioned before, many personal trainers do have a more holistic approach, but the wellness coach definition is a bit broader. 

According to the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA), “health, wellness, or life coaching is a more holistic approach. The coach looks at more aspects of a client’s life, from what they eat and how active they are to how they manage stress and how things like work or family contributes to or detracts from health and wellness. Working with a coach is like a collaboration. The health coach and client work together to set goals, identify strengths and weaknesses, and plan strategies to make lifestyle changes for better health.”

Wellness coaches don’t give their clients a set of instructions, rather they help clients to change their behaviors and develop (and sustain) healthier habits. The key here is that health and wellness coaching programs teach the clients to recognise what they need to change and how to do it. This process is generally more intense than a regular personal training program.

Another difference between the two is where coaches can work. Where personal trainers may be limited to gyms or their own chosen training locations, health and wellness coaches could be employed by any individuals, companies, or organizations. More on that in the next section. 

What jobs can you get as a wellness coach? 🦸‍♀️

Just like with personal training, health and wellness coaches can run their own business and gather their own clients (both individual or companies/organisations). Here are some potential job opportunities for health and wellness coaches:

Independent wellness coach

You could work as a personal wellness coach by establishing your own coaching practice. Offer one-on-one coaching sessions, group workshops, or online wellness coaching to individuals seeking personalized wellness guidance.

Corporate wellness coach

A potentially lucrative and in-demand role is to work with businesses to implement workplace wellness programs. The scope of duties is wide, from conducting workshops, seminars, and individual coaching sessions to helping employees improve their health and wellbeing. A coach may assist individuals with managing stress, improving work-life balance, quitting smoking, drinking or other substance use, and addressing personal challenges.

For more on becoming a corporate wellness coach check out this blog post .

Health and fitness centers

An option is to join fitness centers, gyms, or wellness studios as a coach or consultant.

You would provide individual or group coaching sessions focused on exercise, nutrition, and overall wellbeing.

Healthcare settings

Health and wellness coaches can collaborate with healthcare providers, clinics, or hospitals to support patients in making lifestyle changes. Working alongside healthcare professionals, coaches can help to address preventive care and chronic disease management.

Community health organizations

Partner with community organizations to deliver wellness programs and health coaching services to diverse populations. Focus on community outreach, education, and engagement to improve public health.

Educational institutions

Health coaches can work in schools, colleges, or universities to promote student wellbeing.

Coaches can utilize their wellness coaching skills to develop and implement wellness programs for students and staff.

Nutrition and weight management coach

By specializing in nutrition and weight management, coaches work with clients to create personalized nutrition plans, address emotional eating, and promote healthy lifestyle habits.

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How can you become a health and wellness coach? 👀

Unfortunately, the industry isn’t regulated, and anyone can call themselves a health and wellness coach. This is why getting the right certifications and training is crucial to ensure you stand out and deliver the very best results. Health coach certification demonstrates your skill level and gives clients confidence that you can help them reach their goals.

The International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA) has a detailed blog post about finding the best health coaching certification program for your needs: What’s the Best Health Coach Certification Program?

 In a nutshell you want to look for:

  • An established, reputable program
  • Access to support as you learn
  • A variety of learning materials
  • A provider with accreditations and affiliations
  • Access to a course overview before you begin
  • Teaching approaches and programs backed by research and science.

ISSA also offers a Health Coach Certification course. This online course covers fitness and nutrition for optimal health and chronic disease management.

Once you’ve gained your initial health coaching certification you can start to get your name out there in the same way you would for personal training. Network your butt off, use social media to provide informative content and raise awareness of your services, approach companies (HR managers are a good start) and offer free sessions or trials, and gather testimonials from clients as you gain them.

If joining an existing coaching company or a health club or spa is your aim, keep abreast of industry news to find out who’s hiring – or just go in and introduce yourself to any places you’d love to work at!

Once established, you can continue to build your skills with further training and certification. You may even like to combine your personal training and wellness coaching qualifications and techniques together to provide a truly holistic program for your clients.

How TrueCoach can help 👇

Becoming a health and wellness coach is a fantastic career step that allows a trainer to have a meaningful, lasting impact on people’s lives. 

If you love the sound of health and wellness coaching, a great starting point is to join us at our upcoming webinar to learn more about wellness and preventing burnout. A must-attend event for every personal trainer and future health and wellness coach!

Fitness For Flourishing: Positive Psychology and the Future of Fitness

Date: February 28, 2024

Time: 1:00pm EST

Register now!

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Article by TrueCoach

First published: February 17 2024

Last updated: February 20 2024