An Insider’s Look at the Career of Health and Wellness Coaching
What is it really like to be a health and wellness coach? The question can best be answered by those who have successfully turned health and wellness coaching into a profession and can share their valuable perspectives. Catalyst Coaching Institute recently interviewed two seasoned wellness coaches to discuss how they decided to pursue this career, what they love about it, and what they envision for the future of the health and wellness profession.
Cindy Dagg and Jamie Cook both took the important step of getting certified as health and wellness coaches. Since earning those credentials, Cindy has worked as a corporate wellness coach for eight years. Jamie, a nurse of 23 years, has enjoyed a career as a certified wellness coach since 2014.
Those considering a wellness coaching certification may be wondering how extensive the career options actually are. In an age of rising insurance rates, companies are often looking for ways to lower their costs. The nation has seen a growing trend of employee wellness programs, and along with that comes the need for professionals to help guide and facilitate those programs. Says Cindy, “[Companies] are going to be looking to see that their employees are actually taking an active step in their health and lowering absenteeism, and making sure that they’re happy and healthy. That’s where a coach comes in – specifically someone who is board certified.”
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to health and wellness coaching. Cindy went from a corporate desk job to stay-at-home mom to youth sports coach. After friends encouraged her to look into becoming a professional health and wellness wellness coach, she eventually took the plunge to become a Certified Wellness Coach, and has now made a full-time career of it.
Alternately, Jamie has been in the healthcare field for many years, and found that becoming a wellness coach was a good complement to her nursing profession because it helps her to work on a longer-term basis with her patients. “Being a nurse, I really saw the flipside of health and wellness,” says Jamie. “That one-on-one connection is my favorite part of being a nurse and it makes health and wellness coaching the ideal spot for me.”
Health and wellness coaches can work toward a wide variety of goals with their clients. Jamie loves to bring out a “spark” in her clients, whether they’re working toward an ultra marathon or taking the first steps toward losing weight. Through wellness coaching, Cindy has discovered her passion for working with smokers and obese clients. “I love giving both these types the hope and the encouragement that they can make a change,” she says.
These two experts offer advice to someone who may be starting to play with the idea of becoming a certified health and wellness coach. Cindy and Jamie are both lifelong athletes with a passion for nutrition and active lifestyles, and both speak to that foundation as the starting point of their careers. They suggest examining your own personal strengths, your interests, and your passions as a starting point. “I had no idea,” says Cindy about the beginning of her journey into coaching. “I just started to read and take classes and go through webinars and learn more about it. If you have that quality about you…that personality of encouragement, of happiness, of organization, of compassion – love of talk is always a good thing – then health and wellness coaching is your path.”
Jamie adds, “Even if you’re not super chatty, I still think that coaching could be a great path because of that one-on-one relationship. If you’re feeling like you have to be this extrovert who has all of these things to say and promote – that’s one great quality, but another quality could be someone who is more of a quiet listener and great at creating a trustworthy space. Lots of different personalities can make a great wellness coach.”
Not only can wellness coaching allow you to make a meaningful impact on the lives of others, it can also bring personal fulfillment in other areas. Both of our experts mentioned that their home lives improved because of the skills gained through becoming a certified wellness coach. “I’m 54 now, I’ve never been stronger, and I’m eating healthier than I’ve ever eaten in my life,” says Cindy. Additionally, many of the “soft skills” learned in the certification process are influential in any relationship. “I really feel that being a health and wellness coach has increased my empathy and the way I communicate with people,” says Jamie.
Want to hear more? Listen to our full interview with these two certified wellness coaches and gain a better understanding through this dynamic and engaging discussion of what it’s really like to be a health and wellness coach.