A Corporate Wellness Coach is a health coach who is brought into a facility or corporate office to help people either improve or maintain their health.
A wellness coach is different from something like a nutritionist who might assign someone a specific eating plan or exercise plan.
A wellness coach focuses more on helping to inspire and advise someone on how they can make better choices in support of their health and wellness goals based on their specific lifestyle.
A corporate wellness coach can help reduce the cost of health care as well as absenteeism, and they can positively contribute to performance and productivity. Assisting employees to be more engaged in support of their health can go a long way to improving their health and wellness.
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The Pros and Cons of Corporate Wellness Coaching
Wellness coaching has come a long way in the past years. It bridges the gap between standard healthcare within organizational systems and behavioral change.
A corporate wellness coach, or employee wellness coach, can make a positive impact on a company’s bottom line, helping to improve things like client/patient outcomes, medical compliance, employee health and productivity, and even lower health care costs.
According to Aldana (2019), there are some pros and cons around health coaching. The biggest obstacle is finding the right balance of people to work with because not everyone is ready, willing, and able to jump on the wellness coaching wagon.
The bottom line is that people don’t want to be forced into working with a health coach or corporate wellness coach, and those who need the service the most, are the least likely to do it.
If you are hoping to hire a wellness coach and expecting the coach to work with every single person in the organization, it’s probably not going to happen, and it’s not realistic.
The most significant key factor in launching a successful coaching program is getting the neediest employees to participate.
The best approach for those with elevated health risks is a soft and gentle approach starting with asking them if they would like some advice or help and whether they would be willing to work with a health coach.
The actual percentage of the workforce that is both at risk and willing to make some changes is fairly low, only around 3-7% of the population. (Aldana, 2019).
This may not seem like a number than can have any impact, but it is a good way to genuinely understand the kinds of populations where the coaching dollars will make the most significant impact.
By sticking with this kind of realistic percentage, employees won’t feel like they are being harassed, and people might even get excited about the possibilities a health coach can offer them.
In the end, everyone wins under this model, because those who are receiving coaching are the ones who genuinely want it.
It is a monumental task helping people adopt a healthier lifestyle and an even bigger task to get them to implement these changes permanently.
The chart above shows that coaching is a small piece of the wellness pie, and it’s important to understand this if you are considering spending money on a wellness coaching program. (Aldana, (2019)
Corporate Wellness Coach Certification Programs
There is a lot of misinformation when it comes to corporate wellness certification. The industry as a whole is not regulated even though there are a few federal and state laws to guide how a program may be conducted.
For the most part, no formal training or certification is needed, but it does go a long way to helping you be better qualified and appear credible.
Getting a wellness certification is a self-regulated activity for the most part. There are three types of wellness certification programs:
- Wellness program certifications.
- Health coach certifications.
- Fitness or personal training certifications.
A wellness program certification is typically open for those who are planning, managing, and directing the day-to-day activities of a specific worksite wellness program. Training might include several layers or levels from a wellness assistant to a wellness program manager.
These types of certification programs are usually organized by benefits specialists or HR departments who may not have any training in corporate wellness.
Most of the higher level wellness positions are being filled by those who have some kind of undergraduate training in the industry.
Health coach certifications are typically required for one-on-one health coaching. The certificates are usually simple to acquire in a short period.
A fitness or personal training certification is available for those who plan on working with someone one-on-one and for those who are interested in providing fitness or exercise training.
7 of the Most Popular Health/Wellness Coaching Certifications
Some of the most popular health coaching certification programs are:
1. National Society of Health Coaches – NSHC
The National Society of Health Coaches offers a Health Coach Certification (Certificated Health Coach CHC). The certification is available only to licensed and credentialed healthcare professionals such as physicians, nurse practitioners, physicians assistants, licensed clinical counselors, etc.
The average time to complete the program is around 70 hours. Once the program is completed, students can then take the online certification exam with 12 months.
Those who are not licensed can still take the course, but they would only receive a certificate of completion.
2. American Council on Exercise – ACE
The American Council on Exercise is another accredited health coach program. It is designed for both healthcare providers and fitness professionals.
This program is suitable for those who want to integrate new health strategies into the lives of their patients or clients.
There are two packages available, standard or premium, which can be purchased for self-study and weekly email courses.
3. Dr. Sears Wellness Institute
Dr. Sears Wellness Institute offers three types of health coach certifications that take around six weeks to complete. The program is based on Dr. Sears L.E.A.N program (Lifestyle, Exercise, Attitude, and Nutrition).
The three certifications include a family coach, a pregnant and nursing moms coach, and an adult and seniors coach, and the prices are around $895.00 per program.
Dr. Sears Wellness Institute also offers a Master health coach certification that takes 24-30 weeks at a cost ranging from $2790.00 – $3440.00. All programs are offered online.
4. Duke Integrative Medicine
The Duke Integrative Medicine program offers a certificate of completion for the foundation course and a certificated integrated health coach certification as a distance learning course. The foundation course takes place on the Duke campus, and it takes around four months to complete.
Duke University is a highly respected university, and its health coach professional training is a very rigorous and formally structured program.
5. Wellcoaches School of Coaching
The Wellcoaches School of Coaching has a certificate program that takes around 18-weeks to complete. This certification is required for those who want to enter the Professional Health Coach training program at Wellcoaches, which consists of a 10-month curriculum.
The program uses distance learning and interactive online workshops.
6. Health Coach Institute
The Health Coach Institute also offers a health coach training program. The prices range from $5,200 – $5,994.00 for a 6-month program. The program is offered online and provides everything one might need to launch a successful coaching business.
The foundational training includes four pillars: nutritional coaching, habit-changing coaching, life coaching, and business and marketing strategies.
7. IAW – Integrated Association of Wellness Professional
IAW also offers wellness coaching training and certification. The program is CCE accredited by the International Coach Federation as well as the AADP (American Association of Drugless Professionals). Additional accreditation includes the Canadian Health Coach Alliance as well as the UK Heath Coach Association.
The program has three pillars of education, including Wellness training, Coach training, and Business training.
Top 7 Corporate Health Coach Companies
There are many corporate wellness companies and programs, and here we will review the top seven.
1. Advanced Wellness Systems
Advanced Wellness Systems integrates motivational design and behavioral science in its wellness program. The company has years of wellness experience and scientific research.
They have developed programs that help lower the cost of healthcare to improve the status of health and deliver results that sustain themselves going forward. Advanced wellness systems have put a lot of research into their wellness programs, with the overall goal being creating healthier and happier employees.
Concentra provides a workplace wellness program that is unique for every company. Their customized programs are designed to deliver the most effective wellness solutions for the employees of each company.
Some of the custom services include biometric screenings, health risk assessments, health promotional activities, corporate wellness activities, occupational health services, wellness interventions, and worksite clinical care.
3. Choose Health
Choose Health is one of the most highly recognized health coaching companies in the wellness industry.
Choose Health was initially designed as an expanse of the risk and loss management services that Sargent & Associates were providing to companies. This expansion served to integrate health coaching programs for companies that were designed to help lower behavioral risks that would typically cause employees to file claims for compensation or absenteeism. The program resulted in increased productivity as well as a reduction of expenses.
4. Interactive Health
Interactive Health offers worksite wellness programs and corporate wellness activities designed to improve employee health.
Some of the benefits include one-on-one health coaching, biometric screening, personal health scoring, and body mass index measurements.
The overall goal is to increase productivity and help employees get motivated and feel better.
5. TotalCare Wellness
TotalCare Wellness is a wellness coaching servicing platform certified by ESI Group. It is considered to be the gold standard of the wellness industry.
Their programs consist of a team of behavioral health counselors as well as wellness coaches who are deemed as experts in physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing.
The areas are addressed with clients to help them change their behavior towards exercise and nutrition as well as stress management.
6. Wellness Coaches USA
Wellness Coaches USA is another highly rated company and one of the top health coaching companies. The company is a pioneer when it comes to offering onsite health coaching programs for the workplace.
The company also offers practices to help encourage employees to be more engaged in making behavioral and lifestyle changes for a positive outcome.
7. Wellness Corporate Solutions
Wellness Corporate Solutions is also a good company. They offer biometric screenings and comprehensive wellness programming. Their custom program includes high-touch annual programming that emphasizes health education and promotes lasting behavior change.
How to Pitch Corporate Wellness
Employee wellness coaching has taken off over the last few years. If you are looking to pitch a corporate wellness program, it may be challenging to figure out where to start.
According to Hope Health (2016), the best way to pitch corporate wellness is to create an elevator speech.
You have 20-30 seconds to impress someone or to convince someone to participate in worksite wellness. This kind of strategy can be used to motivate employees to participate, gain management support, or to pitch to an organizational leadership group.
When you develop a great elevator pitch, people will be much more responsive to what you are promoting.
When people get excited about the possibility of creating something better together, this acts like a compass or a North Star helping to bring people together in support of a common goal.
5 Steps to Creating an Effective Pitch
The five steps include:
- Identifying your goal.
- Explaining what the program does.
- Communicating your unique selling idea.
- Keeping the 9 C’s in mind.
- Practice, practice, and practice.
Before you start, put your best stuff out there first. You have approximately eight seconds to get someone’s attention.
Start by identifying your goals. Think about what it is you want people to do. How can you get people involved, and why should they get involved? Focus on the coaching tools you can offer to help them live a happier and healthier life.
Next, it’s important to explain what the program does and what it’s all about. Focus on the possibilities the program can provide and how it can help someone achieve those possibilities. If possible, add impactful information or statistics that help to convey the value in what your program does.
Next, it’s important to think about your unique program. Think about what it is that makes your program different and how can it help them achieve their goals.
The 9 C’s are also important to keep in mind when creating your pitch. Make sure what you are selling or pitching is:
Last but certainly not least, it’s important to practice until you feel comfortable selling your idea.
Practice your pitch again and again while you stand in front of the mirror. How you say something is just as important as what you say. Try and be enthusiastic and energetic but not too aggressive. Strive for a smooth, natural, and conversational tone.
Health Coaching Research
As we have seen, health coaching or wellness coaching draws on the ideas and principles of positive psychology as well as the practices of motivational interviewing and goal setting.
The overall goal is to obtain sustained behavioral change, especially for those with chronic diseases or for those looking to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
Having said that, there is some research available that examines health coaching for individuals and groups.
According to Porter (2016), researchers affirm the long-term benefits and the value of health coaching.
Health coaching, provided by a member of a primary care team trained to support patient engagement in chronic disease self-management, is a promising intervention that helps offset the heavy workload placed on primary care providers for chronic disease management.
The researchers also noted that health coaching helped improve outcomes in those patients with cardiovascular risk factors like diabetes and hypertension.
The study surmised that health coaching could be a very effective tool for physicians who have a desire to encourage patients to self-manage their care.
In a 1-year randomized controlled trial of health coaching interventions amongst a safety-net population, the proportion of patients who achieved a secondary outcome of being at their goal for a single clinical measure such as hemoglobin A1c, enjoyed lower numbers, dropping from 53.4% to 36.2%.
The authors of the study concluded that the most improved outcomes continued for one year after the completion of the health coaching intervention, which is a very positive outcome.
The most significant finding from this research was that those who received a year of health coaching within a 12-month time frame maintained positive clinical improvements at the 2-year mark. (Porter, 2016).
These findings aligned with the primary outcome of maintaining control of clinical issues such as diabetes and hypertension a full year after the health coaching intervention was completed.
Another key takeaway, according to the study, is that investing in health coaching may have not only immediate benefits for those who are struggling to meet their health goals, but also long term benefits.
There seems to be an app for everything, even health coaching. Coaching via a health app is now being offered more and more by health care providers. These apps are based around medical conditions rather than a broader telehealth service.
According to research, the two most widely used medical conditions for health coaching apps are diabetes and obesity.
According to Jahns (2018), there are six factors for success for digital-enabled health coaching:
- Using the chat feature for communication.
- Having a sophisticated dashboard.
- Having a structured program.
- Having digitally native coaches.
- Adding connected devices such as test strips or fitness trackers.
- Having an integrated health care delivery and business model.
The chat feature is the most widely used method for coaching, behind human coaching at least; however, pure “AI” coaching still lacks in comparison to a real-life human coach.
Having a sophisticated dashboard is also important in terms of success. This enables the coach to manage large numbers of patients or users. Some of the best features offered include group messaging, patient or user life cycle management, and robust reporting features.
Having a structured program is integrally important, as well. Having a program length between 6 and 16 weeks is an excellent timeframe to help retain users and help build a marketable product.
A digitally native coach provides the best in class service and allows coaches to work with their patients or users remotely.
Another tip for success in terms of health coaching apps is utilizing connected devices. Offering devices such as test strips, fitness trackers, or lancets enables the health coach to provide a more comprehensive service.
Having a model that is integrated allows digital health coaching to become a comprehensive part of the patient treatment model.
Having these aspects allows the health coaches to manage daily communications, thereby helping the patient change unhealthy behaviors and keep track of goals as well as monitor risks.
According to Jahns (2018), pilot programs of integrated models have shown significant reductions in cost per patient mainly through reduced health care plans and hospital visits.
A Take-Home Message
Health care coaching and corporate wellness coaching has come a long way over the last few years. A corporate wellness coach can offer a lot of positive benefits, especially for those with chronic conditions like diabetes or obesity.
As we have seen, there are positive and negative aspects of wellness coaching, the most significant negative issue being the difficulty of getting people interested in the service and finding the right balance of people to work with.
The biggest key factor in launching a successful coaching program is getting the neediest employees to participate.
There are many corporate wellness coaching certification programs to choose from and different levels of certification.
If you are interested in starting a corporate wellness program, taking the time to form your pitch may be the best plan of action towards success.
Whether you refer to it as employee wellness coaching, health coaching, or corporate wellness coaching doesn’t matter in the end because the program, in general, has a lot of benefits.
As we have seen, there is a lot of misinformation when it comes to corporate wellness coaching programs and certification.
For the most part, no formal training or certification is needed, but it does go a long way to helping you find better qualified and credible practitioners.
That may change in the future, but for now, it’s something to be aware of when looking at corporate wellness or health coaching programs.
- Aldana, S. (2019, September 7). Health Coach Companies: Here are the Best 7 Health Coaching Groups. Retrieved from https://www.wellsteps.com/blog/2019/01/09/corporate-health-coach-companies/
- Collora, C., & Chris Collora. (2017, June 1). 5 Most Popular Health Coaching Certifications. Retrieved from https://www.exercise-science-guide.com/blog/5-most-popular-health-coaching-certifications/
- Creating Allies for a Healthy World. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://realbalance.com/what-is-wellness-coaching.
- Hope Health. (2016, June 14). What’s Your Wellness Program’s ‘Elevator Pitch’? Retrieved from https://www.hopehealth.com/whats-your-wellness-programs-elevator-pitch/.
- Jahns, R.G. (2018, June 16). Research: 6 Success Factors for Digital-Enabled Health Coaching. Retrieved from https://hitconsultant.net/2018/02/09/success-factors-for-digital-enabled-health-coaching/#.Xd0xOpI3nIE.
- Porter, S. (2016, June 1). Researchers Affirm Long-term Value of Health Coaching. Retrieved from https://www.aafp.org/news/practice-professional-issues/20160601healthcoaching.html.