Health & nutrition insights.

What Coaching Style is Best for My Health Journey?

What Coaching Style is Best for My Health Journey?


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Coaching is a proven method to help you overcome blocks and reach your full potential. With the right support, you can change your mindset and make your journey towards your goals more enjoyable and successful! 


What do health and well-being coaches do?

Professional health and well-being coaches have long been recognized for their skills in helping athletes and executives perform at their best. Now professional health and well-being coaches are helping people reach their best self.


Old school thoughts on behavior change psychology have focused on what is “wrong” with you and what needs to be “fixed”. The more recent, effective coaching philosophy focuses on what has, can, and will work better for you. The new coaching style is more proactive, positive, and forward thinking of the possibilities, using more “can” or “could” instead of “should” terminology. The result is less guilt, changes in mindset and better results. A coach will work with you to harness your strengths, in order to improve the health behaviors you want to address.


Certified Coaches are trained to help clients develop and implement personal wellness plans by:

  • accepting and meeting you where you are today
  • introducing the mindful thinking and doing work that builds confidence
  • defining a higher purpose for well-being
  • uncovering your natural desire to be well
  • tapping into your innate desires and drives
  • collaborating to address emotional and physical health together
  • drawing a personal wellness blueprint
  • setting realistic and achievable goals
  • harnessing the strengths needed to overcome obstacles
  • seeing obstacles as opportunities to learn and grow
  • building a supportive environment for success

Skillsets of a health and well-being coach: 

  • are great listeners and enjoy your stories
  • foster self-acceptance and self-respect
  • engage, energize, and challenge you to reach higher at the right moment
  • can help you figure out your strengths, values, and desires
  • Help you have fun 
  • take risks and ask courageous questions
  • don’t rescue you from your emotions – sometimes you need to sit in it for a bit to energize your desire to change
  • know how to celebrate your successes


Researched Benefits of Coaching

  • Effective in reducing procrastination and facilitating goal attainment. 
  • Creates a high degree of satisfaction and is superior in helping people attain their goals
  • Better than no coaching for high goal achievement
  • Clinically significant improvements in multiple biomarker risk factors (including systolic and diastolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, fasting glucose, body weight, body mass index, waist circumference, and cardiorespiratory fitness) in diverse populations

What are some coaching styles that are out there?


Autocratic Coaching

  • My way of the highway
  • Victory focused
  • Inflexible training structures
  • Little to no input from the person being coached
  • Better in teams or groups than individuals
  • Fail to develop autonomy and may negatively affect attitude towards behavior change
  • Appropriate when urgent changes are needed, during a crisis, new/inexperienced clients, client prefers strict accountability

Democratic Coaching

  • Facilitate decision making and goal setting with input 
  • Client centered
  • Client shapes their own objectives under a framework outlined by coach
  • Increased autonomy
  • Active collaboration
  • Good for individuals
  • Helps develop a sense of control

Holistic Coaching

  • Look at clients as a whole 
  • Interconnection of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well being
  • Thoughts, feelings, and behaviors
  • Laissez-faire
  • Little structure or positive feedback
  • Works to create an environment where people feel comfortable exploring skills and developing them in their own way and own time
  • Client sets agenda
  • Best for those who have developed the creativity and self-awareness to be self guided
  • Relationship building and rapport building
  • Appropriate when clients have various goals, helping with burnout and stress management, or a person is seeking guidance on their life as a whole


  • Motivational 
  • Encourages positive thinking, increases self-awareness and motivation to achieve what they want in life
  • Help instill self-belief and pushes clients to see their value and strengths
  • Appropriate when client is facing major setbacks, needs a boost in self esteem, you have a personal story, client needs more intrinsic motivation for performance


  • Finding solutions to help predefined problems clients bring in
  • Appropriate when client has clear goals and focused, dealing with complex problems, need help in ongoing stress management, want to build resilience 
  • Focused on results and decision making
  • Empowers to overcome struggles
  • Doesn’t always help with why a person behaves a certain way and may have people feel stressed or overwhelmed with goal oriented nature, neglects the emotional support 


  • Transformational 
  • Uncover limiting beliefs
  • Asking powerful questions to give new perspectives
  • Help find own answers
  • Don’t influence client’s way of thinking-gives them space and freedom to choose own beliefs and helps them get where they want to be
  • Empowering with helping them make their own choices than just giving them solutions
  • Appropriate for when clients struggle with self esteem, clients are held back by limiting beliefs, work in competitive industries or are competitive, want to explore values, purpose, aspirations, stuck with the same problem repeatedly

Coaching Skills to Look for:

  1. Client centered approach
  2. Empathetic
  3. Confidential
  4. Asks questions and listens
  5. Flexible with technique
  6. Doesn’t have all of the answers
  7. No predetermined, one size fits all plan 
  8. Certified Wellness Coach
  9. Education in a health related field


Take Aways

  • Wellness coaching has a strong research-backed ability to improve your outcomes and mindset
  • Knowing what to do is sometimes not enough for behavior change
  • Understanding the different coaching styles can help you decide what will work best for you
  • It is ok to ask for help!


Losch S, Traut-Mattausch E, Mühlberger MD, Jonas E. Comparing the Effectiveness of Individual Coaching, Self-Coaching, and Group Training: How Leadership Makes the Difference. Front Psychol. 2016 May 3;7:629. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00629. PMID: 27199857; PMCID: PMC4853380.


Gordon NF, Salmon RD, Wright BS, Faircloth GC, Reid KS, Gordon TL. Clinical Effectiveness of Lifestyle Health Coaching: Case Study of an Evidence-Based Program. Am J Lifestyle Med. 2016 Jul 7;11(2):153-166. doi: 10.1177/1559827615592351. PMID: 30202328; PMCID: PMC6125027.