Since wellness coaching is such a new field it is not a standardized field. This means that while some groups like the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) do recognize certain companies and wellness coaches, anyone can hang out their sign and call themselves one. Because it is new, it is open to the dishonesty of those trying to make a quick buck.
For the person who wants to give wellness coaching a try, you can find a reputable person even among the thorns. Here are some traits to look for:
- Energy – a coach should get you motivated to do something just by what they say to you.
- Listening ability – they can get you to talk about yourself and then patiently listen to whatever you have to say.
- Compassion – it is not a cookie cutter kind of profession. One size doesn’t fit all. Their answers will come slowly and thoughtfully from a place of growing knowledge about you.
- Experience – ask for their credentials. Anyone who has them should feel no qualms about sharing them with you. Even if they are not accredited by a body yet, years of experience in the nutrition field, healthcare field, coaching field or therapy can qualify them to work with you. Ask for testimonials as well.
- Professionalism – everything that you say is confidential. They conduct sessions over the phone, in person or online with the utmost respect for you and in a timely manner. They are not distracted when their focus should be on you and your situation.
- Incentive – Most will be willing to offer a free initial consultation to get to know you and also to allow you to ask questions to see if it will be a good fit for you both.
The process begins with an initial consultation. Depending on the wellness coach you are looking at, this is done in one of three ways: in person, online or over the phone.
First, you provide background information about yourself. This can be in the form of a questionnaire, questions asked over the phone or information taken in person. You will also need to have medical information available. If you are uncomfortable asking for your medical records you can just jot down your pertinent facts like illnesses, medications you are taking and anything else you deem relevant.
You will discuss policy and procedure and how sessions are conducted. At this time ask about pricing and how often sessions occur. Most wellness coaching sessions cost between $50 and $150 per session. Some coaches may require a minimum of three months of sessions to satisfactorily perform their job. How often and when you conduct these sessions is decided between both of you.
Goal setting is a primary target. You will learn to set overall goals and also weekly ones to work on that help you achieve your overall goals. A coach’s job in this aspect is to:
- Commit to what you feel are your values and goals
- Help you take charge of your life and progress
- Provide non-judgmental feedback to you
- Throw out ideas that help you to reach your own conclusions and solutions
- Offer encouragement
But, they will not tell you what to think but guide you as to how to think for yourself. You have a part to play in the process as well. Your job in this aspect is to:
- Be open to suggestions
- Be willing to take charge of your progress
- Do your homework as far as goal setting and be prepared for each session
- Be on time for sessions
- Participate in your own success
- Make a commitment to help yourself throughout the process