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What is a Health Coach?

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By Sofia Health Staff on October, 12 2021
Health Coach


With more Americans looking to take charge of their health but not sure where exactly to begin, the idea of a health coach is gaining in popularity.


Table of Contents 


What Is Health Coaching?

How You Can Benefit From Health Coaching

5 Issues Health Coaches Can Help With

What Kind of Education and Certification Should a Health Coach Have?

What To Ask Potential Health Coaches About

What to Look For in a Health Coach




What Is Health Coaching?


Health coaches enable clients to take charge of their own health and wellness, help them to set goals, and keep them accountable. As they work with clients to identify why changes are necessary, health coaches empower individuals to attain their best health, both physical and psychological. According to the National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching ( NBHWC)



“Health and wellness coach partner with clients seeking to enhance their well-being through self-directed, lasting changes, aligned with their values. In the course of their work, health and wellness coaches display unconditional positive regard for their clients and a belief in their capacity for change, honoring the fact that each client is an expert on their own life, while ensuring that all interactions are respectful and non-judgmental.”



How You Can Benefit From Health Coaching



various benefits of health coaching written in a circle


In the current overwhelmed American healthcare system, it's hard to get personalized attention, let alone a detailed action plan. Health coaches can empower you with the tools, resources, and personalized support you need to make healthy change happen. 

Coaches work with you, acting like your supportive friend, only they have a wealth of knowledge about wellness and the ability to apply it to your personal needs and goals. Health and wellness coaches provide a structure to ensure success and follow-up so as to provide accountability. When you make an appointment with a coach, they will ask you detailed questions about what you’re looking for help with, and about your medical history.

It's not unusual for people to leave their doctors' offices without a clear sense of what they should do next, other than "lower your blood pressure" or "lose weight". The internet offers millions of solutions, but when it comes to health advice, it can be hard to determine what's accurate, let alone applicable to your personal situation. Health coaches can help sift through the advice that’s out there to find you a solution that works for you.

Individuals also often have their own health goals, distinct from any medical advice they may receive. These goals might include wanting to have more energy, wanting to feel less anxious, or wanting to improve their sleep. While there are many ways to tackle issues like these, most people take a trial-and-error approach on their own. However, this can be both time-consuming and wearisome. Having a health coach in your corner who is actively working to get you results and leads with empathy, expertise and enthusiasm will save you time, hassle, and money. 


two women sitting talking during a coaching session.


Health coaches are a great source of trained professional advice. Some common issues you may not have realized they can help with are:

the word IBS is highlighted in blue

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) symptoms can include a wide array of discomforts, among them bloating, cramping, gas, and abdominal pain. IBS can also have a wide array of causes, from nutritional to psychological (such as reactions to early stress) to bacterial. A trained health coach can discover the underlying cause of your IBS and help you find out what is triggering it. They can suggest changes to your diet, and find exercise and stress-relieving behavioral changes that can help alleviate IBS symptoms. Additionally, they can help motivate you and work with you as a partner so you can implement lasting changes.

the word Sleep is highlighted in purple

According to the Center for Disease Control, one in three Americans does not get enough sleep. Not getting enough sleep can have a detrimental effect on cardiac health, and when people who sleep under five hours nightly are compared with people who sleep over seven hours, they have:


  • 42% greater chance of obesity.
  • 69% greater chance of hypertension
  • 40% greater chance of diabetes
  • 152% greater chance of having a heart attack

There are many other negative outcomes, too. Insomnia may be caused by factors ranging from psychological to nutritional. A smart health coach can get to the crux of the problem, help you build healthy behaviors, and help you get better sleep. 

the word Prediabetes is highlighted in orange

Prediabetes is a serious condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than they should be. It is reversible through diet and lifestyle changes, but many people are at a loss as to what steps to take, and how to make lasting change. If left untreated, prediabetes can quickly develop into diabetes, which can be expensive and difficult to manage (not to mention damaging to your body and, sometimes, fatal). A health coach can help you set goals regarding nutrition, exercise, and stress management, and give you the confidence to reach your goals and reverse your prediabetes diagnosis. 

the word Weight Loss is highlighted in green

Over 40% of Americans are obese. Obesity, simply, has a catastrophic impact on Americans' health. Weight gain can be due to any number of factors, but a perceptive health coach can help guide you to lose weight as safely as possible, whether alone or in concert with other professionals. A weight-loss health coach will help you with a nutritional plan, a workout program, and a shift to a more empowered mindset, and most importantly, be in your corner throughout your journey.

the word Stress is highlighted in pink

There are many known and scientifically supported ways to reduce stress and anxiety, but you still need to find one that works for you. If you want to begin a meditation practice or yoga discipline, for example, how will you find one that you'll stick with — or how will you guarantee you will keep going if it doesn't produce immediate results? A good health coach can keep you motivated to stick with your strategy — or shift you to a better one if required. A coach listens to what you want and fosters a climate where change is possible.



What Kind of Education and Certification Should a Health Coach Have?



Health coaches are often personally motivated in the work they do, but are also extensively educated and licensed. Programs are run by universities like Duke and Emory, or through reputable organizations like the National Society of Health Coaches ( These programs may have different focuses, such as nutrition or exercise. Following training, coaches must be certified by bodies like the  National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching, which provides details on their certification program here.  

What To Ask Potential Health Coaches About


When seeking out a health coach to help you reach your goals, it’s important to ask detailed questions in order to determine if they will be a good fit for you. These questions should cover the following:


  • Their general philosophy of coaching;
  • Their prior successes, perhaps including testimonials from past clients;
  • Their education and certification;
  • How they plan to work with you in a way that complements and brings out your strengths;
  • Whether they have particular experience with what's troubling you;
  • How they work with health professionals, how they feel about Western versus alternative medicine, and how they approach problems that require an MD’s input.



a young woman thinking with a laptop on her lap


What does a health coach do? In a nutshell, your health coach should bring out the best in you. Health coaching is a personal enterprise that works best when it fosters a strong relationship between client and coach. Coaches come with different philosophies, styles, and backgrounds. Some doctors and nurses have even begun online health coach practices to counteract the trend toward depersonalized, corporatized medicine that they are witnessing. 

The most important thing to look for in a health coach is that you align with their coaching philosophy and that they instill a sense of mutual respect and trust from the start. On  Sofia Health, you can browse health coaches’ profiles and peruse their bios and backgrounds. You can also book an initial consultation to ensure that you and your coach are a good match. You should feel that your health coach is there to help you make difficult changes, not as an authority but as a partner, working alongside you so that you can make the right choices.




At Sofia Health, you can find outstanding health coaches who can help you find solutions to your health challenges, and achieve a more complete state of wellness. You can instantly see their education, certificates, philosophy, check their availability, and even book and pay — all from the one convenient platform. Take a positive, proactive step to improve your well-being today. Contact a Sofia Health health coach and get a headstart on your most important wellness goals.



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