Virtual health coaching is on the rise, so are you ready to hop on the wave? If you have been working in the health and wellness field for the last couple of years and are looking to leap, then keep reading.
85% of chronic illness is a result of poor lifestyle habits and choices that people make. Now, in the midst of a pandemic, healthy lifestyle choices are becoming increasingly more difficult to manage. That’s why, now more than ever, virtual health coaching is on the rise.
People around the world are finding it more and more difficult to stay motivated and manage their health. Rates of mental illness have risen significantly, and that is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to worsening health conditions.
What is a virtual health coach?
To crunch up the definition of health coaching, you can put it like so: mentorship and motivation for a lasting lifestyle change. However, in a much deeper sense, it is understanding the psychology of making a holistic change to improve people’s lives.
These life improvements can be as simple as small changes to get back on track with better eating and activity habits. On the opposite end of the spectrum, they can be as complex as breaking down the poorly ingrained habits that cause health conditions to arise or worsen.
Essentially, it focuses on dissecting the psychology of behavior change. This happens through gaining a deep understanding of the client’s goals and previous shortcomings. Then, carefully creating a program for the client to follow to form better eating, living, and exercise habits. This guidance is matched with consistent motivation to form and ingrain these improved habits.
Before becoming certified in health coaching, though, you must have at least two years of experience in the health and wellness field. Additionally, you must also have some other form of certification in this field.
Income as a Virtual Health Coach
When considering becoming a health coach, I’m sure you’d probably want an idea of the income you would make. Well, the income you generate as a health coach will depend on how many clients you can take on and your experience in the field.
According to ACE, part-time health coaches on average earned $33 per hour. Full-time health coaches, however, earned an average of $51,219 annually. Though, you can make upward of $80k a year when you have more experience under your belt and can value your services at a higher price.
Not to say that you should undervalue yourself off the bat. Your prices can only increase when you have ample testimonials and results to show for your health coaching services.
How do I become certified as a virtual health coach?
You have many avenues available for becoming a health coach. However, be sure to be aware of the thin lines between different types of coaching. Health coaching is not JUST nutrition coaching, wellness coaching, or fitness coaching. Health coaching is a mix of all the aforementioned., however, you will not be able to actually prescribe meal and workout plans.
Dozens of certifications exist, so if health coaching is your goal, then be sure to take the right path.
- ACE Health Coach Certification – The only certification for health coaches that is accredited by the NCCA. This certification is also recognized around the world. For virtual training, this is great as it opens the doors to serving more clients. You can study and complete this certification at your own pace. This certification is priced at $999 for the basic plan and $1,299 for the plus plan.
- Integrative Nutrition Certification – This certification is globally recognized and focuses on coaching the bio-individuality of each client. This certification can be completed either in the course of a year or in a 6 month accelerated program. The exam for this course is administered by the National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching. IIN also offers a business support program to help you learning the business and marketing skills you need to succeed. The appraoch IIN takes to certifying is much like attending a rigorous school course. Therefore, the tuition is priced at $6,795.
- National Society of Health Coaches – This is the cheapest but very well esteemed certification. Priced at $595, you will have access to live webinars and an abundance of study materials. With that purchase you also recieve a year membership to the NSHC. This will aid tremendously in finding a job post-certification.
- AFPA Health Coaches – AFPA is great for its many different programs and course focuses on specific areas of health and wellness coaching. With this, you will also recieve board certification with the American Association of Drugless Practitioners (AADP). This certification is priced at $699.
What makes a good virtual health coach?
Virtual health coaching means that you are very readily available to clients. Granted, everyone needs their personal time, and as a health coach, you should know that better than anyone. However, it’s important to be wholly committed to the times you have blocked out to meet with, assist, and manage clients.
Within the time that you have blocked out for providing your health coaching services, you need to stay organized and well-coordinated between your clients.
Organization and Coordination
You can do this in several ways! One way is using an app like FitSW to better track and manage your client’s progress and compliance. Through an app like this, you can clearly communicate with clients and assign them the programs they need to build a healthier lifestyle.
This also helps you keep using a number of different tools to a minimum. Managing a virtual coaching career can become overwhelming if you do not have an organized set of tools in your box. You could use up to 8 different software on your computer to do your job that the power of an app like FitSW can condense into one.
Managing a whole virtual business without any level of automation for some of your tasks sounds quite stressful. Nobody wants to hire a stressed-out health coach! To go even further, you want to be able to give clients fully, undivided attention to bettering their lifestyle. The less time you spend on management, the more time you can spend building programs and listening to clients’ needs.
Find Your Niche
Focus your niche and target acquiring clients within that niche. The narrower you focus your coaching scope, the better skills you will develop to help clients within that niche.
Think about it in the way that we attend college. You start and spend the majority of your first two years gathering all the knowledge and information you need as a basis to develop your desired scope of study.
You spend the last two years of your undergrad developing the skills you need to find a career in that field. Then, you get a career in that field and continue to learn the specifics of your role until you find your niche.
As a health coach, you continue learning from new research on behavior psychology, nutrition science, and even from your clients. As uncommon as it is to admit, clients teach you a lot about your goals as a coach or trainer. This is comparable to the final semester of college when you are learning what it is that you want to apply your wealth of skills to.
You will undoubtedly work with clients that you find yourself better able to help than others. This might be because of their specific goals and your own personal understanding of their challenges. Whatever the case may be, finding your coaching niche will help you tremendously.
Clear and Consistent Communication
Life does not always take its course as smoothly as we would like it to. Your clients will have harder days than others. Therefore, make sure that your line is always open to provide support when your clients feel like they are falling off the wagon.
Make sure to check in with them consistently every day. Often, all we need is a little motivational message or sign of a support system to remind us of our goals.
Practice What You Preach
This point probably does not come as a surprise, but it’s worth noting. Practicing healthy habits in your life will directly translate into how well you can manage your coaching career. Stress and poor health will make managing being a virtual health coach very difficult.
Virtual health coaching means that you have to maximize your time and energy to form better connections with your clients. You have to bridge the gap of not meeting face to face which requires your fullest attention.
If unable to manage stress and healthy habits, then you will not connect well with your clients. They will feed off of your energy and lack of commitment to helping them reach their goals.
Be flexible with getting in touch
Be open to different methods of connecting. Clients might have a particular discomfort with video chatting with you right off the bat. Give them a choice to initially connect by a phone call or video chat.
Use different mediums to connect. Often, software can be unreliable for video and audio clarity. An array of options for chatting will help you and your clients save time on the age-old conversation:
“What did you say? Can you hear me? I can’t hear you”
This also gives the client and sense of comfort and control over the coach-client relationship. It’s not always an easy task to admit to yourself that you need health coaching. It takes major courage to recognize one’s own downfalls and speak candidly about them to a stranger.
Don’t let them feel like you’re a stranger! Practice icebreakers and striking conversation with people. Your level of comfort with the call will 1000% reflect in their level of comfort with the call.
Some software you can use for meeting with clients:
Reliable Technology in Office Space
As a virtual health coach, your business and income rely on being able to help people anytime anywhere. Make sure that the equipment you are using to achieve that is up for the challenge.
To reduce eye strain and improve organization, you should invest in one or two monitors. If using a laptop, then you need an HDMI cord and possibly an adapter to get set up with another screen.
Also, consider purchasing a video camera to connect to your laptop for consistently good video quality. Sometimes laptop cameras do not quite do the trick for all video chat platforms.
For example, FaceTime looks much more grainy than when I use my laptop camera for Zoom.
Create a professional workspace that you can easily focus on and are comfortable with people seeing on camera. If you’re anything like me, this is the most fun part of being a virtual health coach! Set yourself up for success by creating an environment you are excited to work in.
Just a side note… If you are going to be looking at a computer screen all day, then save your eyes by getting blue light blocking glasses! Your eyes will undoubtedly become tired and strained from countless hours in front of the computer. This will hurt your ability to perform well and stay committed to the job at hand.
Becoming a virtual health coach is an extremely exciting endeavor. Seeing as you will make a significant difference in the lives of your clients, you can hold this career without feeling unfulfilled and dissatisfied.
These days, chronic health conditions are on an extreme rise. To be quite honest, it’s terrifying! With that being said, it’s up to health and wellness professionals like you to be the leading hand in educating people on living healthier lives.