February 10, 2021

What Is A Holistic Health Coach?

Seven Things Health Coaches Need To Know

In many traditional societies, ways to stay healthy and cure disease were usually passed down through the family or within social groups. In more recent times such information has been lost and most people look outwards towards doctors and the medical profession to help them regain health. Although at times we need this help it can become disempowering as there is much we can do to improve and maintain health ourselves – with much more sustainable results. Our health is largely in our own hands, much more than we probably realise. Empowered by good information, and with the right support, anyone can find their own way to look after their wellbeing.

This gap in our understanding is why we need Health Coaches, and why this is a rapidly expanding field and career option.

So, What Is A Holistic Health Coach?

As human beings we have four principal aspects. Firstly, we have our physical body which is made up of outer structures, internal organs and a flow of Ki (sometimes known as Prana, Chi or lifeforce) which maintains the function of our body. Then we have our emotions. Sometimes we feel joyful, then fearful, worried, angry or depressed. It changes and we go through many different emotions every day.

Third, we have our mind. We have a conscious mind that can understand things, for example how to lead our lives, how to keep ourselves well. We can learn new things, take in new information and expand our horizons.

Last but not least, we have the spiritual side of who we are. Some would say our soul, or spirit. Something that I believe enlivens the body.

So, a Holistic Health Coach is someone that can help all four levels. Not just diet. Not just physical health. But on every level. Different people need different types of help, so coaches really need to have knowledge and understanding that can meet those needs.

To do this successfully a holistic health coach needs to be able to do five main things:

One: Have a Good Understanding of Nutrition

A good Health Coach needs an extensive understanding of nutrition, within a flexible system that avoids an over-simplistic one-size-fits-all approach. Many diets are ineffective because they are not based on the needs of the individual and don’t include how to actually cook deeply nutritious, delicious food. We prefer an integrated western and eastern understanding for this which gives the best of both worlds.

We need to understand food, but also how cooking it changes its nutritional effect. As well as being a nutritional adviser, good health coaches also need to be great cooks and be able to teach their clients how they can be too.

Two: Demonstrate Knowledge of Physical Exercise and Therapies

Health promoting exercise and physical therapies can form an important, and I would say an essential, part of what a Heath Coach can offer. There are of course, many types of exercise, but it’s important that they have a rebalancing, healing effect on the individual.

Do-In exercise, which is based on the meridian (Ki) system is what we teach as it’s highly effective and very accessible. We also teach our coaches to give Shiatsu. Bodywork like this can really de-stress and relax people, get the Ki flowing and restore wellbeing.

Three: Be Able To Work On An Emotional Level With Clients

People need help on an emotional level, so it’s vital that when supporting others we are able to listen and support them to break unhelpful emotional patterns. Everyone carries emotional baggage throughout their lives, perhaps getting angry habitually, depressed, or not being able to let go. When held in the body for a long time, these stuck patterns are a major cause of illness.

Coaches need to support their clients to talk about their emotions, so learning basic counselling/listening skills will make a huge difference to how effective they are. Shifts on an emotional level also help facilitate clients making changes in their eating and their whole relationship to food – so it can be necessary to create a powerful transformation.

Four: Have Great Information At Your Fingertips To Empower Clients

On a mental level, having a good understanding of how people can make changes is very empowering. Being able to give people good information helps people stand on their own two feet – so at this level coaches can educate others with appropriate and well understood knowledge.

The role of a Health Coach needs to include the ability to pass on vital, and life-sustaining insights that help the client find their own path to resilient health.

Five: Knowing What Spiritual Guidance Means

I believe we all have a soul or spirit. What does this part of us really want? At a deeper level we are on a journey of learning through this lifetime (and many lifetimes) and to grow and mature, this deeper aspect of yourself needs life experiences.

You could say that our soul is our own inner voice that tells us “I need to learn something more about my life” and it may advise us to go to a particular place to develop yourself in a particular way. We need to listen to this inner guidance and the more we do the more we learn. We then feel more in touch with ourselves and our life purpose, and we’ll become more engaged with others and with life and can feel that we are making good use of this lifetime.

A Holistic Health Coach can help people to tune in to this, to get clear about what they deeply want in their life. To me, this is an aspect of health – spiritual health.

Six: Walking The Talk

In essence, capable health coaches are teaching in an embodied way. They are practising what they preach and this means being able to eat, cook, exercise, heal, have emotional insight and truly be on their own soul path. They need to truly walk their talk to be able to support their clients to do the same.

Seven: It Takes A Thorough Training To Do This Well

There are many trainings available for people wanting to become Health Coaches. These vary in duration and scope from simple, quick, online trainings to ones held over several years. To be truly holistic and empower coaches to help their clients, training courses that are very thorough will always come out on top.

If you have a client in front of you, you need to figure out what’s going on with them at every level, the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual, and then work with them on the level or levels that are most in need of attention at this time. There’s no easy formula that will work for everyone – so you need to have a very good understanding of what changes will be most beneficial. It’s a healing journey.


So this is my idea of what a Holistic Health Coach needs to understand and be aware of. Helping people become more empowered and healthy is a very satisfying career path, but also one that needs to be properly prepared for.

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