What’s the difference between a WELLNESS COACH and a HEALTH COACH?

The words “health”, “wellness”, and “fitness” are used interchangeably. Media, coaches and even doctors use the words “health” and “wellness” interchangeably to describe a person’s physical and mental condition. It can be confusing because there are important differences between wellness and health.

This article aims to assist you in understanding these differences and unlock a holistic approach to your well-being.

Understanding Health

The health of an individual goes beyond the fact that they are ill.

The World Health Organization (WHO), in fact, makes a point of making this distinction. WHO defines health to be “a state that is characterized by complete physical, mental and social well-being, not just the absence of illness or disease.” This approach goes beyond the narrow focus of a disease-centered perspective. By prioritizing well-being over the absence of disease.

Physical well-being is not just about reducing metrics such as blood pressure and cholesterol, but also encouraging healthy lifestyles like physical activity, eating a balanced diet and prioritizing quality sleep. Inclusion of emotional well-being recognizes the importance of mental and emotional factors in overall wellbeing. Social health is what’s called the social determinants, which are the factors that influence our health over time.


The NASM calls the wellness journey a journey, not a state. It is the deliberate choices that you make to improve your mental, physical, emotional and social health. Each of these domains are interconnected in a holistic approach.

As an example…

People with good social connections are more likely to be in a positive emotional state.

Those who are working to improve their mental health and their relationship with themselves will also be more likely take care of physical needs.

The wellness journey takes into account the well-being of the entire person.

Dimensions of Well-Being

Wellness encompasses our emotional, physical and occupational selves, as well as our social, intellectual, spiritual, and environmental selves. Here is a breakdown of the four dimensions.

Physical wellness is not just about doing what’s best for your health, but also how you can use your body to improve your overall well-being. Movement can boost mood up to 24 hours following a workout. It has also been proven to support mental health, limit depression and improve your overall well-being. A person who prioritizes wellness may choose to engage in physical activities that they enjoy, for reasons other than exercise.

When it comes to mental health, Emotional wellness is the understanding that the absence of bad things is not the same as having good ones. When working on emotional wellbeing, you might prioritize positive emotional experiences and find things that you enjoy but aren’t harmful to your health or well-being.

Mental wellness is more than just the absence of mental illness. It can also include productivity, personal organisation, values, goals and the search for meaning and purpose. Mental wellness is a set of practices that helps focus the mind, improve productivity, creativity, mindset and self-talk.

Social Wellness is about our community, relationships, feelings of connection, and contribution. The quality of our social relationships can have a profound impact on other aspects of wellness and health. Humans are highly social creatures. Social wellness strategies can include developing communication skills, establishing good boundaries and inviting others to participate in your wellness activities.


Consider a person with a chronic disease who may not meet the traditional definition of health in the eyes others.

This same person, under the revised WHO perspective can achieve emotional and physical wellbeing while receiving support from their loved ones. The individual can also adopt additional wellness techniques such as meditation, journaling and improved nutrition.

A narrow view of health and wellness can also be problematic.

Consider someone who has a negative view of wellness. They may dismiss health screenings because they are ineffective or opportunistic and focus solely on wellness tactics.

A person who thinks that exercise and protein supplements are sufficient and uses this to justify not getting medical checks could be an example. They are unaware that their excessive training is causing high blood pressure, illness, and harm.

Your Health and Well-Being Journey

You should consider your personal health and wellness when you embark on your journey. This means identifying wellness practices, health monitors, and practitioners who work for you.


Consider some of the questions that a wellness coach might ask during a consultation to help you get started:

Have you or your family had any history of medical conditions? What are your current concerns? What are your plans for the future?

What is your relationship to yourself? What are your priorities in terms of mental, physical and emotional health?

Journal about your ideal day if you made your mental, physical and emotional well-being a priority.

Answering these questions can help you decide where to begin or continue your wellness journey. Consider whether your priorities are based on meeting the foundational needs of hydration and nutrition, sleep quality, and physical activity that you enjoy.

Darlene Marshall is a Practicing Wellness Consultant.



Coaching can be an effective and rewarding career for those who want to help others in their wellness journey.

The main differences between a wellness and health coach are the focus of their work, their clients, and whether or not changes are prescribed.

A wellness coach is concerned with the overall health of their client. Clients will choose outcome-based goals that become the focus for coaching.

A health coach, on the other hand, is more concerned with their client’s health outcome, which is usually related to their current physical health. A health coach is a professional who works with people who have been diagnosed with a condition that requires lifestyle changes.


If you want to become a wellness or health coach, then you should look for a program that will help you achieve your goals.

The certification in wellness coaching typically includes learning more about human motivation, behavior changes, and coaching techniques that will allow you to help others.

Click here to learn more about NASM’s evidence-based Certified Wellness Coach Program and how you can guide your clients toward a lasting improvement of their lives.

How much does it cost to become a health and wellness coach?

According to, the cost to become a certified wellness coach can vary from $650 to $7,000 depending on which course you select. The course should be based on science and cover the field of expertise that you want to work in. It will also include information about coaching techniques like Motivational Interviewing and behavior change.

How much do health and wellness coaches make? reports that the median income of a Health and Wellness coach is $61,000, with a typical salary range between $53,000 and $68,000.

New practitioners will make less money while establishing their practice. Those with more experience and specialized knowledge may be able to charge higher rates per hour or create other sources of income.

Applying Wellness to Your Current Profession

Professionals in other fields can also benefit from wellness coaching.

In addition to corporate settings, healthcare institutions and educational institutions, wellness coaching can also be used in other professional settings.

Professionals can help their clients, co-workers, and students navigate specific challenges by offering tailored guidance on resilience, work-life balance and time management.

They can help others achieve a balanced, fulfilling life by promoting self-discovery and setting meaningful goals.

Final Thoughts

The terms health and wellness are often confused and used interchangeably, but they are different. By understanding and using each term with purpose, you can take a more informed approach to your well-being. By focusing on your mental, emotional, physical and social well-being, you can achieve a complete state of wellness.


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