When you earn a new credential, the opportunity to expand and grow your career, or even change careers, can be both exciting and inspiring. It may also feel a bit daunting and overwhelming, but there are steps you can take to secure your new role and establish yourself as a professional in the health coaching field. Now that you’ve done the hard work of passing the exam and getting certified, it’s time to start building a thriving practice.
1. Set goals. There’s a reason you chose to pursue a health coach certification. Think about where you want to take that education and training and how you want to grow in the field. Do you want to work exclusively with clients? Or do you see yourself also writing or presenting and teaching? Sketch out a three- to five-year plan to help you determine your next steps.
2. Define your mission. It’s time to decide what it is you will offer your clientele. To recruit and retain clients, you need a message that resonates with who you intend to serve. Part of this will be determined by where you want to work and if you have a particular niche market, such as women, teens, high-risk populations, etc. Your message should be able to answer this question for your future clients: “What will I gain by working with you?” Take some time to research different mission statements and brainstorm some ideas.
3. Refine the resume. Before applying for jobs, it’s crucial you update and polish your resume. Be sure to list relevant experience and quality references. Read and re-read the final draft and, for safe measure, share your resume with trusted individuals who will provide you with valuable feedback. If you have local colleges or universities in your immediate area, research their workforce development offices and ask a staff member to help you finalize your document.
4. Gain experience. Now that you’re certified, you are employable. You need to start somewhere to gain necessary experience, learn from mistakes and build confidence. Begin applying for a variety of job openings, which will give you the chance to practice application and interview skills. If building your own business is your ultimate goal, securing a position at the onset of your career will provide financial benefits and give you the time you need to get your own practice up and running
5. Take care of business. Like other health and exercise professionals, health coaches have the luxury (and the burden) of deciding how they want to practice their skills. Do you want to be an independent contractor or work for an organization or entity? Perhaps you want to do both. There are pros and cons to both options. Be sure to fully research what it means to be a contractor/sole proprietor of an LLC or an employee.
If becoming an independent contractor or owner of your own LLC is your goal, utilize resources such as the to help you get started on a business plan. This resource also offers information on taxes, marketing, start-up costs, funding, etc. Local assistance also is available through this organization
1. Building a professional network is more than necessary. it’s a fundamental step in establishing yourself as a professional. A quality and varied network not only provides you with business contacts, it also creates a referral basis for future clients. Research what opportunities your local chamber of commerce might offer, attend business after-hours events and consider engaging in humanitarian efforts in your city. Just as you would with your clients, build the necessary rapport with other professionals in your area and prioritize the cultivation of those relationships.
2. Create a website and logo. A digital presence is a requirement in today’s professional world. Even if you do not want to be an independent contractor or work for yourself, you should still capitalize on the opportunity to build a digital presence. Consider hiring a professional to develop a logo and website to consistently market yourself as a professional in the field. Consistency builds credibility.
3. Get social and brand yourself. Social media offers a natural relationship-building superhighway. If you don’t already have an Instagram, LinkedIn or other social media account, start building one (or several). This is an easy way to build an initial network, connect with others, develop a loyal following, learn and support other professionals.
4. Outline a continuing-education plan. Maintaining your certification is critical to your practice. As with any subdiscipline in the health and wellness industry, health coaching is an ever-expanding field. New discoveries and best practices are uncovered on a regular basis and it’s necessary for you to stay abreast of those new developments. Carve out time to research conference events, webinars, home-study courses and other continuing-education offerings to help you maintain your professional edge.
Becoming a certified health coach affords you limitless opportunities to positively impact client lives. Commit to taking active and strategic steps to elevate your career and solidify your impact as a respected and certified health coach.