Life Coach vs Wellness Coach: Understanding the Differences and Which Path Is Right for You

life coach vs wellness coach

The field of health coaching is booming.

According to the latest studies, health coaching is a seven billion dollar industry that continues to grow at a fast pace, thanks to an increasing demand from people looking to achieve better balance in their lives. Now is an excellent time to look into the many career options in the wellness and life coaching fields.

What’s the difference between a life coach and a wellness coach? Read on to learn the similarities and the key differences between the two to help you decide which is right for you.

Similarities of a Life Coach and Wellness Coach

Both life coaching and wellness coaching focus on helping clients reach their full potential and accomplish set goals. Coaches provide their clients with strategies that help them solve their unique problems and issues. They do this with actionable suggestions, guidance, and mentorship.

While there are many differences between a life coach and a wellness coach, there are some areas where the two overlap.

The Role in the Industry

Both life coaches and wellness coaches have an important role to play within the health and wellness coaching field.

Both follow best practices and work with the same values and principles when working with clients. What is important to both wellness coaches and life coaches is that they strive for their client’s happiness and satisfaction. They also wish to be able to provide them with the valuable guidance they need to reach their goals.

The Relationship with the Client

Establishing a relationship with clients is of utmost importance to both a life coach and a wellness coach.

The first step in offering support to a client is earning trust. Once trust is established the coach is better able to get the full picture of a client’s needs and expectations. Clients and coaches develop a unique partnership to bring goals within reach.

An effective coach-client relationship should include trust and clarity. The coach is there to help the client set meaningful goals and also provide excellent support throughout the process. This cannot be achieved without good communication and synergy.

Provide Valuable Strategies

Life coaches and wellness coaches both provide valuable strategies and suggestions to help clients unlock their potential and move towards their goals in meaningful ways.

Both focus on going beyond identifying a problem to uncovering what lies at the root of each issue. Both must also consider the outlying factors that may be impeding client success as well as the best way to help people regain control of their specific life issues.

The Differences: Life Coach vs. Wellness Coach

Despite all of the similarities and the obvious interconnection between life and wellness, there is a clear difference between the role of a life coach vs. a wellness coach.

Coaching roles are unique, depending on the different objectives a client may have. A life coach excels at identifying where you are in life, where you want to go, and how to get there. A wellness coach, on the other hand, offers a more holistic approach related to your overall health and wellbeing.

Let’s take a deeper look at the roles that life coaches and wellness coaches take on.

What Is a Life Coach?

A life coach, as the name would suggest, is someone who can help you with specific life issues.

They focus on identifying life issues–from relationship issues with family, friends, romantic relationships, or coworkers to career, financial or other social issues. Essentially, a life coach factors all of the issues affecting a client’s life through stress or other negative results.

A client may hire a life coach to help them achieve a difficult goal, or they may be striving for a healthier work-life balance and need guidance on how to get there. In some cases, they may want to be more effective or make changes in specific areas of their life.

A life coach identifies each client’s unique strengths and abilities and helps set goals and create actionable plans for success, providing guidance and support to achieve positive changes.

Examples of areas where life coach can help clients:

  • Achieving clarity on their life goals
  • Recognizing challenges impeding them from achieving their goals
  • Improving relationships with family, friends, or coworkers
  • Career planning
  • Financial planning

A career in life coaching would involve creating a plan around the challenges and goals of an individual while taking into consideration their unique life dilemmas.

What Is a Wellness Coach?

A wellness coach is a health coach who covers all of the personal elements that contribute to a person’s wellbeing. They help their clients learn about general health and wellness, but also about setting realistic and actionable health goals and help clients apply the necessary life changes needed to help them get there.

Wellness coaches focus on the overall wellness of an individual instead of one single issue. This approach is a holistic one that covers several different lifestyle pillars: the emotional, spiritual, and mental health issues of a client, as well as healthy eating and exercise.

Because each client has their own specific set of goals and needs, a wellness coach’s responsibilities include the development and implementation of a very individualized plan.

Ultimately, the main goal of a wellness coach is to help motivate clients to achieve overall personal improvement across different areas of their lives. It’s the combination of implementing life and health changes that make a big impact on a person’s life.

Some of the ways in which a wellness coach might help a client:

  • Encourage healthy eating and exercise
  • Quitting smoking or other habits with a negative impact
  • Stress management
  • Improve mental health
  • Develop time management skills

In short, a wellness coach approach considers a wider, more holistic look at the overall health and wellbeing of the client than a life coach’s approach, which focuses on specific elements of a person’s life.

A Career as a Life Coach or Wellness Coach

As we’ve said, the life and wellness coach profession is taking off in the health and lifestyle industry. More and more people are understanding the value of wellness coaches and life coaches to help them build a balanced, healthy lifestyle.

Where Will I Find Work?

Many individuals turn to life coaches when there is an area of life that is not as optimal as they wish it to be. Often, they turn to life coaches with a specific area of expertise to help them. If you build a life coaching career in a specific niche, there will be a lot of demand for your services.

Wellness coaching is here to stay. There is strong evidence that wellness coaching improves the health, wellbeing and happiness of individuals and, as a result, makes the entire community better for it. With that in mind, opportunities in this field will only grow over time.

Opportunities in both life coaching and wellness coaching can be found in healthcare, wellness and lifestyle centers, gyms, and other health-related industries as well as within corporations. The importance of wellness and the importance of health, stress management, and work-life balance is becoming the global norm.

Is Life Coaching or Wellness Coaching a Good Career Choice?

If you understand the importance of a well-rounded healthy lifestyle and you love the idea of helping others make improvements in their lives, then you are on the right path. However, there are other qualities that may determine if a career as a wellness coach is for you.

For both types of coaching, there are certain qualities that are important to possess. Some of those qualities include:

  • Problem-solving skills
  • Communication skills
  • Time management and organizational skills
  • Interpersonal skills

If you enjoy giving people helpful guidance, mentoring, and finding solutions to many of life’s problems and also enjoy managing various life goals and transitions, life coaching or wellness coaching could be a good fit for you.

Why Does Wellness Coaching Appeal to So Many?

Many professionals already in the health field are deciding that becoming certified wellness coaches will enhance and enrich their careers. Physiotherapists, nutritionists, and personal trainers realize the value that a holistic approach, as in wellness coaching, has for their clients’ needs. This is in contrast to life-coaching, which offers more of a micro perspective.

These professionals are choosing wellness coaching to supplement their knowledge and understand the all-encompassing needs of their clients and not just the care of an acute problem.

Your Own Business

Whether as a life coach or a wellness coach, you have the opportunity to either work for an employer or be self-employed.

If you choose to be self-employed, there are challenges but there are benefits as well. You can set your own schedule, set your own business goals and you can contribute to your community in a meaningful way.

If you are determined and have a love of helping others, being either a life coach or a wellness coach gives you the chance to build a career and a business you love.

Getting the Right Certification

Depending on what you want to do, there are different requirements for life coaching vs. wellness coaching.

Do I Need Certification to Be a Life Coach?

Life coaching is a non-regulated industry, which is to say, there is no license required to practice as a life coach.

There are programs that offer training but life coaches typically need to choose a niche they wish to practice in. Depending on their backgrounds and strengths, they might choose to take more tailored courses. For example, someone in finance might choose to focus on financial management and guidance. Or someone with a background in therapy might choose training in a life-coaching niche in relationship support.

Wellness Coach Certification

Wellness coaching is a field that is not a niche field. People who choose the path of wellness coaching enjoy the macro nature of the field. It’s about the holistic approach applied in many different areas, which requires additional expertise.

Once you have determined that a career in wellness coaching is the path for you, the next step is to choose a high-quality certified wellness training program. Here are some things you can do to make sure you find the right program:

  • Look for the CWC (Certified Wellness Coach) designation. While not required to work as a wellness coach, it is important to be competitive in the industry
  • Choose a program that offers a comprehensive approach that includes traditional lectures as well as practical application and mentorship
  • Research the program structure and instructors. Who is teaching and what is the format of the course?
  • Make sure they provide the necessary information and tools you need to get started in the field, as an employee or to build your own business
  • Check what other resources, events, coaching retreats and learning opportunities they offer

There are many options to pursuing a career in wellness coaching.  Make sure that you get the right education that will make your transition into your career a successful one.

A Rewarding Career

There is no doubt that a wellness career is a fulfilling and rewarding one.

When comparing the role of a life coach vs wellness coach, there are some similarities but many differences, as this guide shows.

Contact us for more information about this rewarding career and the many opportunities in the health coaching industry!

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