A holistic health coach is responsible for educating and encouraging individuals in multiple areas of wellness, such as balancing work and life, nutrition and meal planning, exercise, medications and self-esteem. These professionals guide people with this health approach because they believe that all parts of health are connected and that looking at one individual area of wellness is not sufficient. As part of his work, a holistic health coach also engages in other activities related to business and health services, such as coordinating with physicians on behalf of the client and keeping client records.
It is not necessary to have any credentials to pursue a holistic health coach career. That said, although it is possible to do some basic health coaching without certifications or licenses, clients and employers look for a holistic health coach who has expertise or specialized experience in the area in which they need assistance. For instance, if a person desires help with losing weight and eating right, then she might look for a coach with a degree in nutrition or who is a certified personal trainer. Coaches may be advanced medical professionals such as registered nurses and doctors, as well, so the exact tasks a holistic health coach is qualified to perform is not consistent.
Regardless of the certifications and licenses a holistic health coach has, a primary goal is to provide advice and guide the client in developing a reasonable health plan. This means gathering basic information about the client's health history, wellness concerns and motivations for change. The coach talks with the client to understand barriers that could hinder progress and what options might be most feasible or beneficial given the client's circumstances. If the coach discovers through this process that the client needs services for which the coach is not qualified, such as professional mental health counseling or weight loss surgery, the coach communicates with the professionals who can provide those services for the client, assisting in scheduling.
Depending on the client and the coach's credentials, work for a holistic health coach might include setting and monitoring calorie intake and measuring weight, personally preparing meals and teaching how to cook healthily, guiding the client through a physical regimen, talking about emotions, experiences and challenges, overseeing medication intake or providing relationship or spiritual guidance. In this way, holistic health coaching is as much about lifestyle and behavior as it is scientific understanding of body processes. Although holistic techniques can and do alleviate the symptoms of disease already present, holistic health coaches aim to take a proactive approach to medicine through all they do for clients, which is a direct contrast to allopathic medicine.
With advances in technology, it is possible for coaches to do much of their work from home. They may provide guidance through email and phone correspondence, for example. Coaches do meet with clients face to face, however, which sometimes is necessary depending on the exact services the client wants.
A holistic health coach, similar to other practitioners such as fitness trainers, usually is self-employed. Subsequently, they are responsible for handling all areas of their coaching business. For example, they must handle marketing, billing, keeping records and taxes. For this reason, coaches might take classes related to business to increase success. If certified or licensed, the coach might take continuing education courses as required by the certifying or licensing agency, as well.