In 2016, Melinda Huffman wrote an article titled “Advancing the Practice of Health Coaching: Differentiation from Wellness Coaching” that provides the basics of how these two practices are different. In that article, she referenced a specific differentiating role definition of sorts by Kreisberg (2015):
“Health coaches work with persons who are struggling with health issues that are often chronic. Wellness coaches orient more to prevention and continued wellness. In the medical marketplace, it’s health, not wellness, coaches who are being hired.”
To further differentiate, definitions of each practice are also included in Huffman’s article:
Health coaching is the use of evidence-based skillful conversation, clinical strategies, and interventions to actively and safely engage clients in health behavior change to better self-manage their health, health risk(s), and acute or chronic health conditions resulting in optimal wellness, improved health outcomes, lowered health risk, and decreased health care costs (Huffman & Miller, 2015).
“It can therefore be reasoned that wellness coaching is guidance and inspiration provided to otherwise “healthy” individuals who desire to maintain or improve their overall general health status, which often includes smoking cessation, increased physical activity, eating well, and general weight management (Huffman, 2016).
These definitions and the role definition provided by Kreisberg (2015) provide a general overview of the differences between the two, but to dig further, here is a visual included in Huffman’s 2016 article:
|Evidence-based Health Coaching. Qualifications/Eligibility||Health Coach||Wellness Coach|
|Pre-requisite: A professional or clinical license or credential from either a State or National licensing/ credentialing body||X|
|Prerequisite: Licensed/credentialed to assess, plan, treat and/or evaluate treatment/care plans or provide care based on the health and/or behavioral health diagnosis or condition, and safely provide health teaching accordingly.||X|
|Provides interventions according to the clinical practice standards and ethics for one’s healthcare discipline||X|
|Prerequisite: an academic degree with a major in a health and/or wellness related field||X|
|Clinically trained to teach individuals with active disease and/or chronic conditions, acute illness or medical conditions, and/or moderate to high health risk(s).||X|
|Clinically trained to identify behavioral health issues requiring referral to behavioral health specialist||X|
|Provides coaching within the boundaries of one’s State or National Practice Act or National Certification||X||X|
|Generally requires coach training beyond formal education||X||X|
|Provides health teaching||X||X|
|Coaching Core Competencies||Health Coaching||Wellness Coaching|
|Certification testing to demonstrate coaching competence||X||X|
|Maintaining health and wellness:|
Tobacco cessation, weight management, stress management, physical activity, eating well
|Guides agenda/goal setting/coaching interventions based on health risk(s)/condition(s)/co-morbidities/ safety/and/or prescribed treatment plan||X|
|Motivational Interviewing and/or Positive Psychology||X||X|
|Health outcomes measurement||X|
|Evidence-based Clinical Practice Guidelines||X|
Tomorrow we will look at Life Coaching!
To learn more about how Health Coaching differentiates from Wellness Coaching, click here to read Advancing the Practice of Health Coaching: Differentiation from Wellness Coaching by Melinda Huffman, MSN, CCNS
Huffman, M., & Miller, C. (2015). Evidence-based health coaching for healthcare providers (3rd ed.). Winchester, TN: Miller & Huffman Outcome Architects, LLC.
Kreisberg, J. (2015, September). Health coaching in a clinical setting. Retrieved from http://www.teleosis.org/health-coaching-in-a-clinical- setting-thoughts-on-an-emerging-field/