The field of wellness coaching is growing and more job opportunities are unfolding for people with the right training and expertise. More and more a qualification for those wellness and health coaching positions is a certification in wellness coaching. At the same time there is concern and confusion about just what a wellness coach certification is and means. Licensure, certification, accreditation, credentials…it’s all very confusing in this young profession that is in the midst of forming itself. Let’s help sort things out.
Currently the field of wellness coaching is much like the entire life coaching field was in it’s early years when managers were dubbed “coaches” overnight and consultants jumped on the coaching bandwagon with no training in coaching. Anyone can call himself or herself a coach, and anyone can call themselves a “wellness coach”. Doing so without getting good training in wellness coaching is like knighting yourself with your own sword. There also has been an explosion of wellness coach training programs. The quality of which ranges from very high to the lowest of the low. The consumer and the person who wants to become a wellness coach must examine the offerings very carefully. Here’s an orientation to this confusing territory, and, if you don’t mind, some “shameless self-promotion” of our own quality program.
Licensure means legal authorization, a government or business permit to provide specified services. The government side of it is usually handled on a state by state basis. Whenever people are providing “treatment”, licensure seems to be legally required. Because coaching is not a form of treatment, but technically is considered education/consultation, it is not regulated by licensure. Business licenses give one legal rights to provide a protected service or product under the terms of that license.
Certification means evidence or guarantee of successful completion of specific training or education. Certifications are of two types. Certification by in independent body: such as a certification by the American College of Sports Medicine that a fitness trainer has successfully completed a training program in a particular specialty from a program that ACSM approves. Or, certification can be done by the organization that provides the training, such as a wellness coach certification received by someone successfully completing all requirements from a training program offered by The Wellness Coach Training Institute or any of the many other training programs out there.
Accreditation means an official approval, recognition, authorization or endorsement of one’s training or of an organization’s training program. Accreditation is usually done by in independent accrediting body, such as the ICF (International Coaching Federation). The ICF accredits programs that meet their requirements for a full coach education with the title ACTP (Accredited Coach Training Program). They also accredit partial programs by approving “coach specific training hours” or ACSTH. ACSTH approval for the curriculum of The Wellness Coach Training Institute has been received.
Companies hiring wellness coaches and those seeking training in this field are doing their best to determine the quality of different programs. Currently standards and credentialing for the profession is under development. The National Credentialing Team For Professional Coaches In Healthcare has been formed and I am a member of the Leadership Team of this group and will be keeping you informed of our progress.
In the meantime, here are the top six features to look for in a wellness coaching training program:
• 1. Approval for the training as continuing education credits for high-level professions (especially in healthcare fields). The Wellness Coach Training Institute’s training has the approval of ACSM (Am. College of Sports Medicine), AHNA (Am. Holistic Nurses Assoc.), and NCHEC (The National Commission for Health Education Credentialing) for CHES (Certified Health Education Specialist) credits. Approval of our curriculum for Coach Specific Training Hours by The ICF has been received.
• 2. The training is wellness and health coaching specific and incorporates content from the fields of health promotion and wellness. A program consisting of life/business/executive coaching skills only is insufficient for the work you will be doing as a wellness/health coach. The Wellness Coach Training Institute’s curriculum was developed by Dr. Michael Arloski who has been contributing professionally to the wellness field for over thirty years.
• 3. At the same time, the coaching skills and methodology needs to be rooted in legitimate life coaching training literature and training. The life coach training competencies were developed from theory and research grounded in humanistic principles that have later been recognized as positive psychology. Dr. Arloski’s background includes in-depth training from The Coaches Training Institute, one of the founding organizations of the life coaching field.
• 4. The training provides you with a real methodology of behavioral change, which allows you to help your client move through the process of lifestyle improvement with structure and guidance. The program should not just be a grab-bag of skills and techniques, but rather a way of working with your client that progresses from assessment and exploration through developing a clear wellness plan with accountability and support to clear measurable outcomes. The Wellness Mapping 360°™ Wellness Coaching Methodology does just that.
• 5. The training provides you with tools, forms and support resources that are constantly being updated and developed. The Wellness Coach Training Institute’s CD Digital Tool Kit and other support materials are provided in all trainings and the institute maintains additional support services on a continual basis.
• 6. The training is offered in your choice of live in-person, or live and fully interactive webinar or telephonic formats. Coaching is an interpersonal way of working with people and therefore requires fully interactive training. All of The Wellness Coach Training Institute’s trainings are delivered either live and in-person or via live and fully interactive webinar.
Quality wellness coach training certifications help our clients and help the profession as a whole. Being able to assure your client, or your prospective employer that you are certified in a well-regarded wellness coach training program builds your integrity and credibility and opens doors. Do your research and choose a training program that is a good fit for you.
You can check out The Wellness Coach Training Institute’s offerings at www.realbalance.com