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Why Corporate Health Coaching Is on the Rise (and How to Break Into This Niche)

by: Jenn Maples
Published: October 1, 2019
Updated: June 23, 2022

As someone who got really sick working in the corporate world (with all the late nights, constant stress, and less-than-healthy snacks that often come with it), I can personally attest to the need for health coaching programs at work. And I’m not alone.

With more and more people battling chronic diseases, and companies paying over $3 trillion in health care costs every year, it’s no surprise that the corporate wellness market is growing like crazy. In fact, it’s expected to reach $15.5 billion by the year 2024. According to this article, 92% of companies with 500+ employees currently offer corporate health coaching and wellness programs. Certain demographics even consider it a must-have when searching for a new job.

Seriously, health coaching is taking the corporate world by storm.

Not only are organizations learning that healthier employees can lead to lower health care costs, they’re realizing that they’re happier, more productive, and have fewer sick days.

What a Corporate Health Coach Does

Our job as health coaches is to drive behavior change. And, just like in any niche, it’s important to focus on the specific challenges our audiences face. For instance, in a corporate environment, you might help employees manage stress by orchestrating lunchtime yoga sessions. Or show them how to lose weight by swapping free sodas in the fridge for fruit- and veggie-infused water. Or lead educational seminars about everything from how certain foods affect mental focus to why limiting screen time (and not checking emails at midnight) can help them get a good night’s sleep.

Having an ally at work, where employees spend up to 3,100 hours a year, helps them stay accountable as they learn what they need to do with their diet, mindset, and lifestyle to get long-term results.

Two Coaches Dominating Their Niche

Erin Foushee started her career in nutrition public policy, hoping to move the needle in health from the top down. But after seeing her co-workers get burned out by their non-stop lifestyles and highly competitive culture, she knew a more grass roots approach was needed. That’s when Erin founded Fortis Wellness, where she now helps businesses—from start-ups to large international companies—adopt a culture of wellness, giving their employees the tools, motivation, and professional guidance to create healthier habits. Not only that, Erin works with other NTPs to get their corporate coaching businesses off the ground.

And then there’s Alison Brehme. The former marketing manager regularly worked up to 60 hours a week, and battled chronic pain and migraines. After two scary wake-up calls, she finally decided to make her health a priority. Now she helps employees do the same though her business, Virtual Corporate Wellness, where she trains HR departments and executives, leads company-wide lectures, and provides resources to keep organizations healthy from the inside out.

What You Need to Know to Get Started

You have two options as a Corporate Health Coach. You can either work for yourself or work for someone else. If you go the entrepreneurial route, here are a few steps to get your foot in the door:

  1. Think about who you know. Got friends or family members who work at local businesses? Or better yet, in HR? Start by asking about their goals and objectives around employee wellness and health care costs.
  2. Position yourself as an expert. That means updating your website and social media pages with your UVP, joining community and professional networking groups, connecting with companies in your area, and sharing related corporate wellness articles on LinkedIn.
  3. Figure out what you’re selling (and have it ready). Get your wellness assessments, educational materials, and workshop topics in order, because you want to be able to hit the ground running when someone says yes. You’ll also want to decide what you’ll be charging. According to this article, a single lunch and learn workshop can bring in up to $750.
  4. Schedule an in-person meeting. Once you’ve identified who you want to work with and their employee (and employer) pain points, schedule a meeting to talk about what you do. Most organizations are ROI-focused, so while an emotionally driven weight loss or stress management angle might seem like the perfect selling point to you, research how that translates to cost savings for the company.
  5. Put an offer on the table. Suggest hosting a free lunchtime workshop. This allows the company and their employees to get to know you—and allows you to get to know them. Obviously, the goal is to create a long-term relationship, but this is an easy and low-obligation way for both parties to see if it’s a good fit.

If self-employment isn’t your thing, there are dozens of established health and wellness companies making a difference in the corporate world, including:

In Review

Corporate health coaching is an extremely fast-growing niche with no signs of slowing down. So, if you love the idea of positivity impacting hundreds of people in your community, or you’re drawn to working with groups, or you’ve spent any time in the corporate world and you’re looking for a career change that keeps you in a familiar setting, keep this niche in mind. Whether you’re interested in working for a company like one of the ones we mentioned above, or following in the footsteps of Erin Foushee and Alison Brehme and starting your own, helping the world’s workforce get healthy is an admirable job. One you might just be perfect for.

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

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