Health and Wellness Coaching

By Tracy Morris

Health and Wellness Coaching - Margaret MooreYou’ve probably heard of Career Coaches, Relationship Coaches, even Parenting Coaches. The latest in getting healthy now is the Wellness Coach concept.

After reading in the New York Times about one of the leaders in this new, growing branch of the fitness industry, I contacted Margaret Moore (aka Coach Meg) with my own questions:

TM: What are some typical scenarios that bring a client to seek a Wellness coach?

Margaret Moore: The desire and readiness to make lasting changes in one or more areas of well-being – energy, life satisfaction, physical activity, nutrition, mental and emotional fitness, health and weight — are key factors that draw a person to seek a wellness coach. Typically people have been struggling with one or more areas of well-being for some time and want to get beyond their struggles.

While clients arrive ready to work on their priorities, what they get is nothing short of a transformation. Here’s a testimonial that captures what happens:

“I am 41 years old and I live in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. I am a legal secretary and have been at the same firm for almost 20 years (my second family, lol). I currently weigh 320, down from 420 since February 2004.

It is extremely hard for me to discuss my journey with my wellcoach without gushing, but I’ll try to keep it to a bare minimum! In a word, this program has been nothing short of miraculous. When I started with Judy, I literally could not walk more than one block without breathing heavily and having terrible back pain. My exercise consisted of walking from the cab door into the office and then from the cab door into my house. My diet consisted of pizza, burgers, fries and anything else that was available via drive through.

The bedrock of this program is the relationship between the coach and the client. Judy is the perfect coach — intelligent, compassionate, wise and fun. This program is about living life to the fullest; it’s not about deprivation, like a typical “diet.” I am not on a diet, I am on a journey to health. I’m not counting calories, I’m choosing to eat smart, healthy and…. who knew?….. it’s delicious too!

I promised to keep the gushing to a tolerable level and I’m trying my best, but, honestly, I can’t find strong enough words to express how much happier, healthier and hopeful my life is now compared to when I began working this program. And the weight loss is only one small component; every aspect of my life is opening up for me and I feel, for the first time, like the world is truly my oyster. Thanks for listening!”

TM:  Do you think the fact that our culture seems to beg for professional coaches indicates that we’re missing something somewhere, like in our families, or our education system, or elsewhere? Can’t the things that a Wellness coach imparts to clients be obtained through other means by some?

Margaret Moore: An interesting benchmark is what happened in the financial industry when it became clear that pensions were un-economic, leading to 401K accounts and paving the way for tax accountants and financial planners to teach and help us plan our finances, which is a complex challenge.

In this era of consumer-directed health and wellness, we’re asking people to take charge of their health and wellness, but this is not accomplished easily. Fewer than 5% of us engage in the top 5 or so health behaviors.

Mastery of health and wellness requires life skills and knowledge that aren’t taught at school or home and are difficult to learn when the demands of adult life arrive. It’s never been harder to take good care of one’s mind and body. The number of choices is bewildering and guidelines are confusing. Family and work conflicts are tough to resolve. So finding one’s optimal lifestyle isn’t straightforward.

Professional coaches bring skills and experience in specialty areas where we may not personally have experience or mastery – relationships, business, career transitions, retirement, and of course, health and wellness. Even Tiger Woods has a coach to help him perform at his peak.

TM: Wellness coaches come from varying backgrounds of expertise. Do you recommend clients pick and choose their coach based on the type of need they have? How can they tell which expert arena will be what they need?

Margaret Moore: Most coaches are competent to coach across all areas of well-being and their non-coach credentials add to their knowledge base. If you’ve got cancer, you may prefer a coach who understands cancer treatment. If you’re approaching menopause, you may want a coach who has already been through it. If you love exercise, you may want a coach who is an exercise physiologist.

Or you may interview several coaches and let your intuition guide you. The personality chemistry between coach and client is an integral part of a successful partnership. Click here for more information on Health and Wellness Coaching.


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