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Are Health Coaches Legit? Boost Your Credibility as a Health Coach With These 5 Tips

by: Sarah Appleby
Published: June 20, 2023
Updated: March 20, 2024

Have you ever been asked: "Are health coaches legit?"

On face value this may seem like a forward and uninformed question, but it is a valid question to ask.

Are health coaches legit?

Are health coaches legit?

The health and wellness industry has boomed over the last decade - and so has the number of people searching for health, wellness and fitness guidance online and on social media. This interest in health and wellness has come with a surge of so-called health experts pushing their own agendas and flogging a "quick" fix weight loss shake or fitness product. Now more than ever before, it's imperative that you show your audience how "legit" you are.

With the phoneys comes the skeptics too. So how can you prove to your target audience that you are the real deal?

In this post I'll share my top five tips that will guarantee that you will come across as the expert health coach you really are. But first let's rewind and address the question of what exactly is a health coach?

What Is a Health Coach?

A health coach is an expert in healthy living. They help their clients live a healthier lifestyle through the formation of healthy habits, education and the sharing of knowledge and they do so with positive energy. Health coaches often take a holistic health approach with their clients, focusing on all aspects of a person's life, including:

  • Nutrition
  • Sleep
  • Physical activity
  • Stress
  • Play

Whilst the scope of practice of a health coach varies depending on where you live, health coaches never diagnose, prescribe or treat a disease or illness. Instead, they work alongside their clients to achieve sustainable lifestyle change. A health coach is the ultimate cheerleader when it comes to supporting personal growth and healthy living.

Health Coach Jobs

The variety of different jobs held by health coaches has evolved as the industry has evolved. There's no limit to the type of work you can do. Here's a list of health coach career options for you to consider:

  • Be your own boss and run your own private practice (either online or in-person or a combination of both).
  • Set up health and fitness initiatives as part of a corporate wellness program.
  • Run health retreats in exotic destinations.
  • Implement preventative medicine strategies for a health insurance company.
  • Work alongside other allied health care providers including family doctors, chiropractors and functional medicine doctors.

5 Tips That Will Boost Your Credibility as a Health Coach

To best address our original question: "Are health coaches legit?" you need to provide enough evidence that proves that YOU are the real deal, as many so-called health experts may not be. Here are my top five tips that will give you the credibility you deserve and will help you fill your client list and your waitlist too!

1. Become a Board-Certified Health Coach

Health coaching is an unregulated industry. Anyone can use the term "health coach" regardless of their education or experience level. And like other professions, there are amazing health coaches out there, as well as some not-so-great health coaches.

One way to help boost your credibility with future employers and potential new clients, is to become NBHWC-certified. If you're not exactly sure what this means, I'll explain it for you now.

The NBHWC (National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching) in partnership with the National Board of Medical Examiners, created the National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coaching credential (NBC-HWC). The NBC-HWC has become the gold standard in health coaching education with many employers listing this credential as a minimal requirement when advertising health coach jobs.

There are no prerequisites to becoming board certified. But there are four steps to the process and they are:

  1. Graduate from an NBHWC approved training program. Check out Primal Health Coach Institute's comprehensive program, the Master Coach Certification, which is NBHWC-approved and offers a robust science-backed curriculum.
  2. Log 50 coaching sessions (can be video coaching sessions).
  3. Hold an Associate’s degree or Bachelor's degree or complete 4000 hours of work experience.
  4. Pass a National Board Certification Exam.

2. Specialize in a Niche

Another way to assert yourself as an expert health coach, is to narrow your focus to a particular specialization or niche. It may seem crazy to focus on one specific aspect of health and wellness, especially if you're just starting your health coaching business. But, what you're actually doing is becoming a world expert in your chosen niche, and this will make your business irresistible to your ideal client.

Unsure about how to narrow down your coaching niche to a specific area? An easy way to get started is to reflect on your own health journey. What were your pain points and how did you overcome them?

For example, maybe you're a 40-something year old dad juggling work and family life with school aged children. Along the way, you discover a love for healthy cooking and a desire to share your knowledge with other busy parents with school aged kids. Your niche in this scenario could be to provide healthy and simple-to-prepare home-cooked recipes to your target audience, who, in this case would be busy dads with school aged kids.

This is just one example of how your passion and interest can help you identify your coaching niche.

Looking for inspiration for your own coaching niche? Here's a list of 16 specializations for you to consider:

  1. Weight management
  2. Athletic performance
  3. Mental health coaching
  4. Hormonal balance
  5. Women's health coaching
  6. Fitness coaching for seniors
  7. Fitness coaching for teens
  8. Strength training for women
  9. Body composition coaching
  10. Habit change coaching
  11. Health coaching for 50+ year old men
  12. Primal nutrition coaching
  13. Health coaching for pre- and postpartum moms
  14. Business support for health coaches
  15. Smoking cessation coaching
  16. Health coaching for menopausal women

Still unsure about which niche is best for you? Many health coaches hold qualifications in a complementary field. Do you? If so, have you thought about aligning your two credentials? This will give you massive points when it comes to boosting your credibility. Examples of aligned professions that complement health coaching include:

  • Fitness professionals including fitness coaching, athletic trainers and personal training
  • Nurses
  • Chiropractors
  • Nutrition science
  • Life coach
  • Wellness coach
  • Teaching
  • Business administration
  • Marketing
  • Health education

3. Upskill

"You are always a student, never a master. You have to keep moving forward." - Conrad Hall

Upskilling is a health coach's secret weapon. Investing in your knowledge and skillset as a coach will only benefit your business and increase your profits long term. Whether you choose to enroll in a business course, a marketing workshop, or a speciality health or fitness coaching course, the knowledge, experience and the networking opportunities that may arise from your upskilling will pay off.

Here at the Primal Health Coach Institute we have expanded our range of speciality courses. No matter your niche, you're sure to find a speciality course that will add to your coaching skills. Here are a few of the speciality courses that we offer:

  • Human Intestinal Microbiome in Health and Disease
  • Functional Therapeutic Diets
  • Strength Training for Women
  • Health Coaching in Medical Practices

4. Publish Client Testimonials

One of the best ways to build trust with future clients is to share client testimonials on your business website, your social media accounts and on Google reviews.

Client testimonials make you and your business appear more trustworthy and credible; they're proof that your health coaching is legit.

If you're new to coaching here's a couple of helpful tips to get you started:

  1. Ask family and friends how your health advice and guidance has supported them to reach their health goals.
  2. Use your professional network and reach out to colleagues and/or mentors to write professional testimonials for you. Hint: provide them with swipe copy so you can capture what you're looking for. As a side note, you never know what career opportunities may arise from this.

Manually collecting testimonials is consuming and can become disorganized. Here are three cost-effective (most are free) ways to capture testimonials from your happy clients:

  1. Use free online services such as Google Forms, JotForm, Survey Monkey or TypeForm to send and collect your answers. It will save time and look professional and organized.
  2. Embed a testimonial form on your website. You can do this by checking your website for a form-builder, content block or plugin that can embed your feedback form into a page on your website.
  3. Schedule a testimonial email template to be sent to your clients several weeks after they sign up to your program. This is simple to set up using Gmail business email.

5. Collaborate With Other Allied Health Professionals

Collaborating with other allied health professionals, including fellow health coaches is a fantastic way to boost your reputation as an expert health coach.

Whether you need advice on which platform is best for setting up your online coaching program, or you're seeking advice on how to use motivational interviewing with your clients. Having a community of coaches you can turn to is a major benefit.

It's not only your fellow coaches that you should connect with. Developing strong networking connections with allied health professionals will allow you to create a useful referral network, especially if they provide services that you don't offer. You will find that your allied health collaborators will refer clients to you too and vice versa. An integrative approach to health care that involves collaboration between an array of health professionals will have the best outcome for your clients.

Allied health professionals could include those in the medical profession such as primary care physicians, nurses and occupational therapists.

Chiropractors, functional medicine doctors, life coaches and wellness coaches also make great allied health partners.

And then there are the exercise physiologists, the physical therapists, the online nutritionists and the certified personal trainers that also make brilliant allied health professionals.


Health coaches play a vital role in the development of health behaviors in the general population.

So, are health coaches legit?

The answer is - yes they are! Follow my top five tips to boost your credibility as a health coach and you're guaranteed to get the credit you deserve:

  1. Become a board-certified health coach through an accredited institution
  2. Specialize in a niche
  3. Upskill
  4. Publish client testimonials
  5. Collaborate with other allied health professionals

Now tell us what you think! Leave a comment below to start or join the discussion...

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