What are the Real Differences Between a Health Coach and a Life Coach?
If you’re setting out to become a coach, or if you’re a coach trying to decide what area to specialize in, you’ve probably asked yourself this question:
“What is the difference between a health coach and a life coach?”
You’ve heard both terms floating around, and you’ve probably mentally categorized them into health coaching having to do with nutrition, food, weight loss, etc., while life coaching had to do with being happy and successful.
You’re not too far off in regard to how they’re currently defined. But you’re missing one key piece of information that will give you an ‘aha’ moment you’ve maybe never had before.
WHAT ARE THE REAL DIFFERENCES BETWEEN A HEALTH COACH AND A LIFE COACH?
Before we reveal that critical piece of information, let’s define what a coach actually is.
WHAT IS A COACH?
Coaches don’t simply give advice to their clients. They educate them, actively engage them, and help them discover and uncover the root causes and roadblocks that have been keeping them stuck.
Coaching isn’t about having all the answers or knowing it all, it’s about helping your clients feel empowered and able to experience a total transformation.
- Ask their clients what they want to change and allow their clients to help set their own goals.
- Educate their clients on topics related to health, wellness, and transformation.
- Support and motivate their clients in managing their own health with educational resources.
- Empower their clients to become personally accountable for their own health, life and success.
- Ask questions of their clients to help initiate deep thought and clarity.
- Connect and work with healthcare providers in a supportive role for their clients.
But they don’t…
- Tell their clients what changes to make.
- Provide medical advice, diagnose, treat, cure, or heal any disease or condition.
- Make specific recommendations. They always let their clients choose their own course of action.
- Recommend or tell a client to take supplements or to follow a particular diet. Health coaches educate clients on supplements that might be helpful and leave it up to the client to decide if they want to take them.
- Use all or nothing types of statements. Instead of “will”, they use “may”, “can”, or “might”.
- Make health claims without scientific basis.
WHAT EXACTLY IS A HEALTH COACH?
A health coach is traditionally defined as someone who uses evidence-based, skillful conversation and strategies to actively and safely engage clients in health and behavior change relating to their health.
This is usually disease or weight loss focused, and good health and nutrition coaches are trained in the anatomy and nutritional science in regard to the body, disease, trauma, and more in order to better help their clients evoke change with their health coaching skillset.
Health and nutrition coaches, as stated above, are thought to be helpful and important to call on when a client needs to rid the body of disease or unwellness, but the reality is their skillset goes deeper than this.
WHAT IS A LIFE COACH?
A life coach is defined as a person who counsels and encourages clients on matters having to do with career or personal challenges.
There are currently no legal standards required to become a life coach. It’s a career that requires good listening skills, compassion, and problem solving to help clients get out of their own way to achieve success.
But here’s the real problem with this differentiation…
In short, life coaching and health coaching need to be one in the same if health coaches or life coaches are ever going to help their clients become healthy, happy, and successful so they can live the life they truly want to live.
At ITN, we made this connection years ago. That’s why we teach Transformational Nutrition and define it as anything that feeds you – physically, mentally, and spiritually.
It’s the scientific study of health and human wellness in all three areas, focusing on the whole person, not just health versus success.
Certified Transformational Nutrition Coaches (CTNCs) are trained in the art of coaching on this level, so they know how to look for shortcomings in personal achievement and success as well as disease, physical and mental unwellness, past trauma, and failed connections so they can coach their clients to successful, holistic transformations.
Certified Transformational Nutrition Coaches are trained to look at the whole self, help their clients break down barriers they might not know they have, reconnect with themselves, others, and the environment, and discover what’s truly keeping them stuck, unhealthy, and unhappy.
Because only then, when issues of personal underachievement and lack of success as well as physical, mental, and spiritual health concerns have been dealt with, can a person regain their health and their life at the same time.
Life coaches and health coaches will never be successful if they fail to focus on the whole self. We’ll say it again, you can’t be healthy if you don’t love your life and feel successful, and you can’t be successful, living your best life, if you don’t have your health.
You must have both in order to experience a total transformation.
If you want to learn more about how you can experience true fulfillment and success, head here – Passion-Based Learning: Make a Difference While Doing Something You Love.