8 Qualities of Successful Health Coaches


Health coaching is more than a job, it’s a commitment to a client’s success. And while many aspiring health coaches are ready to take on that challenge, they hold themselves back with the fear of personal failure.

The good news? Much like you will tell your future clients: success starts with you. We took the time to round up the traits and qualities that many of today’s leading health coaches possess. Chances are if you’re considering the field of health coaching, you already share many of these characteristics.

Start here. (We’ll get to the part about attracting clients, growing your business, and getting your Holistic Health Certification later.)

They have an entrepreneurial spirit.

The goal of a successful health coach should be to help others live their best lives while making money doing it. Going off on your own may feel intimidating, but it also should be exciting and empowering. A health coach will wear many hats: business owner, entrepreneur, marketer, manager, leader, etc. And they have to be able to build credibility for their business. Getting certified as a Holistic Health Coach is a great first step in turning your business vision into a plan.

They practice what they preach.

Yes, it’s pretty much a prerequisite that a health coach leads a well-rounded and healthy lifestyle. (You won’t find them with candy in their office.) However, unlike other professionals in the health and fitness industries, a health coach must take a total approach to health, considering diet, nutrition, fitness, and mental and spiritual wellness. They understand the importance of each facet—from behavioral psychology to prepping meals. By optimizing their personal lifestyle in this way, a successful health coach will feel inspired to share their findings and help others to find a lifelong healthy lifestyle.

They care deeply about helping people feel their best.

Successful health coaches are passionate about feeling their best and helping others to do the same. Many times, coaches can pull from their personal experiences with health and fitness and relate on a deeper level to their client. We’re all human. We all have our temptations and our vices. A successful health coach can use their passion to inspire others to move beyond through motivational and guided discussions. Their passion can help inspire action and help others to live their best lives—especially when a client is starting to doubt the process.

They’re professional.

A successful health coach understands that the client is paying them for their expertise. And that they, as a health professional, are providing a service. Successful coaches are always punctual and prepared. They respect their clients time with 100% focus and they have done the prep work to guide the day’s discussion. Many successful health coaches provide their clients with resources, so they will always have those available and ready. Though they are experts in their field, health coaches should strive to be straightforward and use plain speak so that their clients can easily understand the conversation at hand.

They listen actively.

As a health coach, you will be busy and you will have a lot on your mind. Is your schedule updated? What time is your next meeting? Should you consider speaking at an event? But a successful health coach turns off all of those thoughts the second they walk into a client meeting. They give their client their undivided attention, know that the conversation will establish client comfort—and that the most crucial way to do so is by simply listening. The act of listening may seem passive, but it actually requires a lot of stamina (especially if you’re working with multiple clients on the same day). Successful health coaches use their body language to show active listening by nodding, facing their client, and responding with meaningful answers and questions. If taking notes becomes a distraction, they will try other methods, such as recording their conversation (with the client’s permission).

They respect boundaries.

Understanding that this is a deeply personal process, a successful health coach remains professional throughout the entire process. From the start, they will establish transparent roles and boundaries with their clients. But health coaches should also value their relationships and get to know their clients as an individual as a means to understand how to best work with them and achieve their goals. This is a relationship based on trust. So successful health coaches will respect their client’s confidentiality and show their discretion when exchanging information with another healthcare provider.

They’re goal-oriented.

Successful health coaches are visionaries. They help their client see what they’re working towards and make it feel possible rather than intimidating. However, coaches must be honest. If their client isn’t working hard enough or has a goal that’s too lofty, a successful health coach will guide with realistic and measurable goals. And, health coaches will be there for their clients during the ups and downs. They know that it takes time to see the internal mindsets shift into actions. And sadly, health coaches understand that their clients might fail, but the coaches will be there when their client is ready to try again.

They’re lifelong learners.

Many successful health coaches are involved in continued education in some capacity. Whether it’s taking formal classes, getting their Holistic Health Coach Certification, or simply staying on-the-pulse of emerging industry trends. There’s so much information in these ever-changing fields, so it’s okay for a health coach to admit they don’t know everything. There’s value in seeking out other experts, taking the time to do research, and attending professional advancement events. And, good coaches don’t see other coaches as competition, rather a resource to learn from.