Different Types of Health Coaches

The Growth and Expansion of Coaches

If you are part of the online world, I’m sure you may have noticed the expansion and growth of different types of health coaches in the past few years. From health coaches to wellness coaches, to lifestyle coaches and many more. Whether you are looking for support with weight loss, with diet or whether you are looking for a new career, you have your options. Before I take a deep dive into what each coach provides and why this service can benefit you, let’s talk about WHY the coaching industry is growing so rapidly.

The coaching industry has been on the rise for the past decade. Coaching has become more widely recognised by official bodies such as the ICF (International Coach Federation) and the ANP (Association of Naturopathic Practitioners). More distinctively, there has been a swift development in factors that directly contribute towards the decline of our health and wellbeing which has generated a demand for coaches to guide people back to good health and vitality. From the surge in pollution and mass manufacturing of processed foods (both of which are harmful to the body), to the sedentary lifestyles that up to 60% of us now live, this has a negative effect on our health and our wellbeing. The technology revolution, though it has brought about numerous benefits, has resulted in a world of convenience where people don’t have to leave the home because the internet allows them to administrate their lives from their couch. The constant stream of notifications and instant gratification that social media brings keeps our bodies in a state of stress and has brought about an avalanche of mental health issues. With all this in mind, it is clear to see how our health and wellness could have taken a major hit. This all sounds pretty gloomy but there is always hope and help around the corner. Coaches can deliver a personal service and space for individuals to better themselves, to grow, and to transform.

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Different Types of Health Coaches

Health Coach

Health Coaches are paving the way towards an inevitable health revolution; a time where, as individuals, we choose to actively prioritise our health for happier and longer lives FREE of painful health symptoms. With chronic health conditions constantly escalating and an overstretched, overstrained healthcare system, the need for Health Coaches has never been greater.

What is a health coach? Well, a Health Coach provides a form of personalised care, meaning that the client has a choice and control over the way their care is planned and delivered based on what matters to them and their individual strengths and needs. When we go to the Doctor’s surgery with a health concern we are rarely given the time to discuss our health concerns in depth due to the limited time a Doctor or nurse can dedicate to each patient. We are given a prescription for our ailments, perhaps a minute or two of advice and then we are expected to do the rest ourselves. Sometimes this is all we need, however the lack of time spent with the patient can sometimes lead to issues, the most prominent being a misdiagnosis. Moreover, many of us lack the motivation to change our lifestyle to mitigate health issues at the source. A Health Coach is there to help you make the first steps to change and guide you on the path to vitality. They will inspire, motivate and hold you accountable as you embark on your own health revolution. They provide the time, attention and expertise that you deserve to transform your health and your life.

Often it is when we are in a state of imbalance when we seek a Health Coach. When our health has fallen to a point that the need for help is inescapable. But this type of Coach is required in many different situations. A Health Coach can be utilised in a working environment to improve the performance of employees by helping them understand how the different areas of their health directly impact their ability to work each day. Athletes can also benefit from Health Coaches as they can assist the athlete in their performance and recovery through becoming more aware of the intricacies of how the body works and can also help build a masterful mindset. A Health Coach can help you build the motivation you need to reach your goals, they can assist you to become more disciplined so you do not need to rely solely on motivation and can help you develop healthy habits that will pave the way towards consistent change

There are many layers to the role of a Health Coach and many areas of health that they may explore. I like to refer to these as the pillars of health. These are; nutrition, hydration, sleep, rest, stress management, movement, and mindset. These are the key areas which a Health Coach addresses with their clients all while tailoring the coaching sessions around the health goal of the individual. If you are looking to become a health coach, The College of Naturopathic Medicine (CNM) covers each of these pillars of health in their Health Coach diploma. This diploma explores the intricacies of anatomy and how the body works, takes a deep dive into nutrition and the impact food has on the body and the mind and provides a practical guide for how fitness is crucial for a healthy body. The diploma also offers a basis for understanding how to market your service and even takes you through the particulars of starting a business. Additionally, Health Coaching is formally recognised by Associations and Professional bodies such as the NHS. As a CNM Health Coach myself, this diploma has been invaluable in providing the perfect foundation to grow as an expert in the field of health.

Health Coach

Health & Wellness Coach / Wellness Coach

The boundary between health and wellness is often blurred. To clarify, health refers to the state of the physical body, perfect health would mean being free from disease and illness with the body functioning optimally. Wellness refers to an overall balance of a person’s physical, spiritual and emotional wellbeing. Wellness often centres around our mindset, the people we are surrounded by and the environment we live in. Our health is also often determined by these factors, which is why a wellness coach and a health coach is often combined into a health and wellness coach.

A wellness coach specifically enables you to achieve a positive mindset around health and well-being, empowering individuals to become an expert of how they react, interact, and move through life, understanding the factors that may disturb a state of homeostasis.  In the past few years, the meaning behind wellness has expanded from simple acts of self-care such as taking a bath or having a facial, to defining your limiting beliefs, managing stress and creating an expansive mindset. Wellness is about lifestyle, about behaviour and about personal goals.

Throughout each stage of the course and in the online or in person tutorials, the lecturers address the relationship between health and wellness, often highlighting how the quality of our lives affect the quality of our health. The role of mindset, lifestyle and managing stress is interlaced throughout the course content, providing a foundation for prospective health and wellness coaches.

Life Coach & Lifestyle Coach

A life coach & lifestyle coach are two different roles entirely. Lifestyle coaching again falls under the umbrella of health coaching with many similarities to a wellness coach. A life Coach though is all about helping an individual make progress in their lives to attain greater fulfilment. This could be related to career, relationships or the quality of the individual’s day-to-day life.

Similarly to a Health Coach, Lifestyle Coach and Wellness Coach, a Life Coach helps the client clarify their goals, identify the obstacles that are currently holding them back, create strategies and positive action steps to overcome these obstacles and create healthy habits for sustainable change. The only difference being that a Life Coach may take more interest and spend more time focusing on your career goals, your financial goals, or your relationship goals. Throughout CNM’s Coaching module on the Health Coach diploma, students are guided and taught how to address an individual’s health in unison with their day-to-day life, providing the knowledge of how to effectively carry out 1:1 or group sessions. The Health Coach diploma offers a in depth understanding of how to navigate the client’s quality of life in relation to the quality of their health.

Lifestyle Coach

Fitness Coach

A Fitness Coach is often mistaken for a Personal Trainer. A Personal Trainer will focus on tailored workouts for physical gains and is, usually, very encouraging and motivating. You will only ever meet with a personal trainer to exercise. A Fitness Coach will go further by committing time to further understand the client’s goals in greater depth. They will create strategies to help overcome the client’s problems and identify any underlying issues that are preventing the client from achieving their goals. A Fitness Coach will be knowledgeable in the anatomy of the body and be able to positively identify physical issues caused by a person’s posture, movement or even how they perform certain exercises.

The Fitness and Health module on the CNM Health Coach Diploma is entirely dedicated to understanding the impact of movement of health. Students learn how to make a tailored recommendation for clients to help them integrate exercise into their life. This module alongside the How the Body Works module helps clients to be fully prepared with understanding the human body.

Fitness Coach

Nutrition Coach

A Nutrition Coach is another role that falls off the back of a Health Coach. It is often wrongly confused with a Nutritionist. To clarify, a Nutritionist will have a much deeper and much more varied knowledge in nutrition than a Nutrition Coach. A Nutritionist usually will have studied at a higher level and is also able to provide information and advice that a Coach simply cannot. In contrast to a Nutritionist, a Nutrition Coach is able to provide generalised advice according to the client’s goals. They will have a good understanding of nutrition and how certain types of food can affect the body. They can provide guidance, education, and accountability to their clients, like all types of coaches.

On the CNM Health Coach Diploma there is an entire module dedicated to Nutrition. This module helps future coaches understand how to personalise diet and lifestyle to optimise health and provides an in depth understanding of what good nutrition entails. We also have an article detailing the differences between Health Coaches and Nutrition Coaches.


Now I have addressed what these many forms of Coaches can do, I think it is important to mention what they cannot do. There is a scope of practice that Coaches must follow that refers to the boundaries that must be adhered to when working with their clients. The aim of a Coach is to facilitate and empower the client to develop the suitable habits or routines to assist in their journey towards their goals. A Coach is not able to  diagnose conditions; mental or physical, nor are they able to prescribe treatments, supplements or medication. A Coach enables the client to reach their goals by helping them use their own insights and strengths. Coaches are able to assist in growth and expansion but are not a replacement for medical professionals. A Coach is an investment, a support mechanism and a guide towards a better version of the client’s self.

When considering what type of Coach you wish to become, it is important to consider what course provides the best foundation. When we have a solid foundation, we have the tools and mechanisms to grow. The different types of Coaches discussed in this article can all be considered a branch of Health Coaching. This means the areas the different types of Coaches specialise in, whether it is Nutrition, Lifestyle, Fitness or Wellbeing, are all part and parcel of the role of a Health Coach. If you are looking to start a career in Coaching then the Health Coach diploma provided by the College of Naturopathic Medicine is for you. CNM provide one of the most in-depth courses available delivering quality content and employing experienced practitioners that will guide you in your transition into the world of Health Coaching.