How to Become a Successful Online Health Coach in 2022

Advances in health coaching technology, awareness about health and wellness in the wake of the pandemic, and growing comfort with the idea of telehealth make 2022 the perfect year to adopt a strategy to become an online health coach.

The beauty of online health and wellness coaching is that you're exponentially expanding your reach and potential impact on the lives of your clients. Health coaches also add flexibility to their lives as they don't need to be tied to a schedule in a clinic or gym.

Let's explore how to become an online health coach to prepare you and your team for success in the burgeoning health industry this year.

What is an online wellness coach?

Wellness coaches come in different stripes, depending upon their own interests and specialties. Generally, they work with clients one-on-one, though sometimes in group settings, to develop an improved life through nutrition, fitness, motivation, and/or spirituality.

Some coaches might want to focus on mental health, while others prefer a fitness or nutrition emphasis. The most successful health coaches adopt a more holistic approach and combine aspects of wellness to create a permanent change in their clients' lives. Coaches motivate and encourage clients to make incremental changes that lead to improved health and the attainment of health goals, be it weight loss, strength training, improved mobility, or better life balance. 

Coaches might work through a healthcare setting, such as working with a primary care physician, while others might serve through a community organization or a corporation. Others prefer a solo practice or a partnership with one or a few other health coaches. Entrepreneurial types even develop a business where they have staff and facilities to assist clients.

Online health coaches work virtually with clients through such platforms as Zoom or Skype, monitor their health activities through devices such as a Fitbit or Apple watch, and implement health plans to help them advance toward their wellness goals.

Are health coaches in demand?

The demand for health coaches grew even before the pandemic and has accelerated since. The global health coach market was valued at $13.6 billion in 2020 and was projected to rocket to $28 billion by 2030.

The pandemic exposed how at-risk those with pre-existing conditions were to the effects of emerging viruses. Health outcomes were much worse for people with such health issues as obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes, to name a few.

Primary-care doctors are trained to diagnose diseases and treat the symptoms, but they often lean on health coaches to help patients adopt a healthier lifestyle that can address the underlying symptoms.

Health coaching also commands a solid salary. Glassdoor estimates the total pay for health coaches in the United States at $76,833 but with a broad range from $33,000 to $445,000 a year. Health coach partners or teams could push their income toward the higher end of that spectrum, depending upon time committed and where they set their hourly rates, while maintaining the freedom to live their own healthy, well-balanced lifestyle. After all, how helpful can health coaches be with clients if they are overworked and stretched to their limits?

How do I become a health coach online?

The first step toward becoming a health coach online is to ensure your team or company has the proper tools to work with clients virtually. While coaches can do Zoom meetings with a laptop, a tablet, or even a phone, a more permanent setup with a larger monitor could create a more professional setting for working with clients.

While individual coaches within a team or company can work from any location, establishing a consistent look benefits the business and avoids confusing customers. Consider a company logo backdrop or a green screen that can be enhanced with consistent images.

If coaches are working off-site, the Health Coach Institute (HCI) points out the importance of having a dedicated workspace. A rented office, an office in a home, or even a well-equipped spot on a deck would be appropriate, weather permitting. The dedicated workspace not only creates a professional setting, but it also establishes boundaries with family and friends to understand when the coach is working.

Privacy also must be observed as coaches will be discussing clients' health issues and possibly consulting with health care professionals. A crowded coffee shop does not provide a proper privacy setting.

Coaches also will need to be able to access data from clients' fitness tracking devices as more people are using these tools to develop or follow their own wellness programs.

Partnerships and small teams also will also be responsible for creating their marketing efforts. This means a good quality website plus a well-developed social media strategy through Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, or wherever they think their ideal clientele will hang out.

Health coaching software like Profi takes away the headaches of the manual tasks of managing a health coaching business, such as scheduling, billing, etc., plus offers other features that allow the team to scale the business while maintaining the personal contact that allows the coaches to succeed with their clients

Can you be an online health coach without a degree?

Becoming an online health coach does not require a degree, but many certification programs are available. Clients are more likely to contract for online coaching services when they see health coaches have made the commitment to gain certification.

In the United States, the most widely respected certification would come from the National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching (NBHWC), a non-profit agency that has been affiliated with the National Board of Medical Examiners since 2016. NBHWC does require an associate's degree or 4,000 of work experience in any field. It also requires applicants to complete a board-certified training program and conduct 50 health and wellness coaching sessions.

NBCWC lists more than 100 certificate or degree programs that qualify applicants for board certification.

Many online communities also exist for health coaches to interact and learn from each other. For example, Virtual Health Coaches was founded by two health coaches who met online while studying for the NBHWC board exam. These communities also offer a marketing opportunity as people seeking coaches find lists of member coaches.

Can you be an online health coach from home?

The beauty of becoming an online health coach is that it can be done from anywhere. Home certainly would be the most comfortable place to operate as an online wellness coach. As long as the coach has good, dependable internet service and not too many potential distractions, they can potentially work with clients around the globe from home.

The coach must make sure to have an appropriate setting for conducting meetings with clients. Online health coaches might encounter clients from different cultures, so they want to ensure nothing inappropriate could be in the background to offend a potential client.

HCI also recommended that any health coach considering working from home install a landline. In case the internet goes out, clients would still need a way to stay in touch with the coach.

Health coaches must ensure they have a comfortable working environment as health coaching involves more than just meeting with clients. They also spend time drafting and updating health action plans, consulting with other health care providers and health coaches, addressing continuing education requirements, and handling the practices of running a business, such as marketing, accounting, scheduling, etc.

Once a team, company, or network understands the need to grow an online health coaching presence, they will want to determine what practice management service will best meet their needs. Or, better yet, book a demo to learn how Profi can reduce administrative burden in your coaching business with a platform designed for growing your online health coaching business.

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