More and more health and fitness professionals are asking themselves this same question: “How do I become a health coach?”
It’s a fair question since becoming a health coach is NOT the same as being a personal trainer.
When health coaching first started to become a popular career option, one of the first things I noticed was that health coaches seem to come from two different “spaces.”
It’s still the same today.
One group comes from the fitness industry with a wealth of knowledge of life sciences and human physiology. The other group comes out of the mental health industry with a wealth of knowledge of psychology and human behavior.
Tip# 1: GET CERTIFIED
If you are a certified personal trainer you should most definitely take the time to earn your health coach certification. I recommend the ACE Health Coach certification as it approaches health coaching from your perspective and experience. It’s not enough to know about exercise and physiology. To be an effective health coach you’ll need to understand human behavior.
If you are a licensed therapist or other mental health professional — or even a non-fitness certified health coach — I recommend you earn any of the numerous life sciences or fitness certifications (ACE, ISSA, NASM, NPTI, etc).
Many certified health coaches certified via IIN or IAWP simply don’t have the training in physical fitness to be as comprehensive as is required. It’s not enough to know behavior. To be an effective health coach, you’ll need to understand physical activity and exercise protocol. (bio-mechanics).
Tip# 2: TOOLS OF YOUR TRADE
If you are to become a successful health coach, you’ll need to answer a few questions.
- Are you going to consult in your own office?
- Are you going to be working out of a studio or club environment?
- Are you going to be servicing your clients online?
- Is it a combination of some of the above?
This is important. For example, if you are going to be working online, then, you are going to require certain tools like like Skype or Hangouts, as well as web-based tools to help your clients with nutrition planning, activity planning and tracking.
And, you will need to not only learn how to use these tools yourself, but will need to teach your clients how to use them, too.
On the other hand, if you are a health coach inside a fitness facility or studio, then you most definitely need to secure a private meeting area or office. Effective health coaching gets very personal regarding a host of topics from family and lifestyle to work and aspirations. Health Coaching requires confidentiality.
How and where you work as well as the tools you’ll need should be determined before you enroll your first client.
Tip# 3: START MARKETING RIGHT NOW!
It’s absolutely amazing how many professionals earn their degrees or certifications from reputable colleges or certification agencies only to say to themselves, “NOW WHAT?”
The one thing they don’t teach you is how to get clients. It happens to lawyers, dentists, accountants and all service-based professionals. So, marketing is “ground zero” from day one. After all, when first starting out, attracting motivated clients is your #1 priority.
Again, much of how you market yourself will depend on how your business is set-up. But, regardless of whether your health coach business is a physical location or online you will absolutely need the following:
- A “responsive” website
- A blog
- An email service
If you plan to focus on local clients, then you will need to consider direct mail, print advertising, local public relations, networking, public speaking and local social media.
If you plan to target online clients, then beyond the technology above, you’ll need to consider online applications like lead capture programs, automated marketing systems (CRM), webinar systems, podcasting, video tutorials and social media.
Think, Commit and Execute
Since we provide products and services for many different types of health coaching businesses, I personally get the opportunity to speak with many successful health coaches.
The common thread among the most successful health coaches is their absolute commitment to their businesses and “take action” attitude toward executing the necessary steps to ensure their own success. In other words, they “pull the trigger” and never look back.
But, before they do anything, they ensure they’ve acquired the skill sets and certifications. They plan and can envision how their businesses look and function. They acquire the tools they need and take the time to become proficient — as well as being able to train clients.
And, most importantly, they commit to marketing themselves… consistently and constantly.