In 20 weeks of scheduled sessions, you’ll develop a deeper knowledge of theories and techniques for an effective and professional health coaching practice.

Session 1: Intro to Health & Wellness Coaching

We will define the role of a coach, describe the coaching process, and distinguish between the coach approach and the expert approach. We will also introduce the practical skills used by professional health and wellness coaches.

Session 2: Building Trust & Rapport

The coach establishes a positive and safe environment where the client feels accepted and supported. When that occurs, the client is better able to clarify values and access motivation when she or he feels safe to be honest and vulnerable. Rapport is built in every session, but in this session, you'll learn to build trust by attending to the client’s emotions as well as words and behaviors, and acknowledge what is happening with curious interest.

Session 3: Active Listening

Learn to listen to verbal information shared by the client, and be attuned to nonverbal cues, such as expression, tone, emotions, and energy. You'll also notice relevant behaviors (or lack thereof) and use mindful awareness to notice with curiosity and nonjudgment what is happening with and within the client during coaching.

Session 4: Client Assessment & Evaluation

Client assessments are valuable tools that the health coach can use to learn about their client's health, values, preferences, strengths, and more. In this session, you will learn how to use various types of assessments to support your coaching.

Session 5: Designing Visions

Learn to listen to verbal information shared by the client, and be attuned to nonverbal cues, such as expression, tone, emotions, and energy. You'll also notice relevant behaviors (or lack thereof) and use mindful awareness to notice with curiosity and nonjudgment what is happening with and within the client during coaching.

Session 6: Setting Goals

A goal will anchor the entire coaching process. Setting a SMART goal with your client is critical to defining what success looks like, developing a motivating action plan, and measuring progress along the way.

Mentor Session 1: Practical Skills Review

Put the theories in practice by having a tailored, one-on-one session with your mentor. Use this hour to identify skills you are doing well and where you can improve!

Sessions 7-9: Motivational Interviewing

Motivational Interviewing is a core skill used in various ways throughout health coaching. We spend three classroom sessions on this topic to help you sharpen your skills for asking open-ended questions, and engaging affirmations, reflections, and summarizations.

Session 10: Growth Mindset & Decisional Balance

Learn how the mindset of an individual will impact the behavior change process. You'll learn how to help clients develop a belief that the client’s abilities are not fixed and can be improved continuously through experimentation and persistent efforts.

Session 11: Action Steps

Weekly goals enable clients to take small manageable steps toward their longer-term goals. We'll talk about how to develop "flow" in your coaching, in which a client is planning and taking small yet challenging steps toward their goals and building a sense of self-efficacy in the process.

Mentor Session 2: Practical Skills Review

Put the theories in practice by having a tailored, one-on-one session with your mentor. Use this hour to identify skills you are doing well and where you can improve!

Session 12: Client Emotions & Self-Esteem

Emotions can generate insight and impact the brain’s capacity for learning and change. We will cover ways to address client emotions in engagement in an a manner that promotes growth. We will discuss the definition of empathy and the importance of expressing empathy in client engagement!

Session 13: Appreciative Inquiry

Appreciative Inquiry is an intervention that helps to lead and manage change based on strengths. Change happens when we inquire into the true, the good, the better, and the possible. In this session, you'll learn bow to emphasize the best in a person or situation, target strengths and new possibilities and not focus on weaknesses or problems to fix.

Session 14: Problem Solving & Brainstorming

Brainstorming is a great way to help expand the client's perspective on various concepts and potential new behavior changes. Creating an environment for brainstorming will help you get your client to share their ideas and thoughts.

Session 15: Client-Centered Relationship

Learn to facilitate behavior change by empowering the client to self-discover values, resources, and strategies that are individualized and meaningful. Know that the client is the expert in navigating his or her own life, based upon personal preferences and past experiences. The coach provides the structure of the session and serves as a facilitative partner. Learn the coach’s primary role is NOT that of a content expert or educator who diagnoses, advises, or instructs the client on what to do, but how to support.

Mentor Session 3: Final Practical Skills Review

Put the theories in practice by having a tailored, one-on-one session with your mentor. Use this hour to identify skills you are doing well and where you can improve!

Session 16: The Inner Gremlin, Dealing with Self Doubt

Learn about positive reframing—i.e., looking at things in an alternative, more positive way—to shift perspectives, since positive conversations are more likely to inspire motivation and forward progress.

Session 17: Focusing

Learn to facilitate a conversation that balances a client’s exploratory thinking with action-oriented focus. After engaging the client in an exploration process, the techniques (bottom-lining, scaling questions, etc) help narrow the conversation toward decisions, goal-setting, and commitment — all of which support action.

Session 18: Powerful Questions, Expanding the Conversation

Learn how to expand the conversation with a client by utilizing powerful, open-ended questions. By using these techniques with your clients, you can evoke deeper thinking and self-reflection that allows the client to explore possibilities.

Session 19: Generative Moments

Generative moments can propel your client forward by generating new insight or motivations. Becoming an expert in facilitating a generative moment will help you and your client explore their emotions, needs, desires, and values.

CP: Using Imagery & Metaphors in Coaching

Using Imagery and Metaphors in your coaching can be a great way to help your client visualize their goals, communicate their feelings, or brainstorm new ideas. These two coaching tools can help you expand the conversation with your client by exploring! Duration: 70 mins


You’ll have assignments to complete on your own time, in between sessions. These readings and activities will help you prepare for and build on the weekly session.

Coaching Structure: 5 Courses

In this learning path we'll cover the structure of coaching relationships from beginning to end. You will learn how to prepare to coach, how to conduct an initial session, how to conduct ongoing sessions, and how to terminate coaching relationships. Reading Chapter 11 of Coaching Psychology (Moore) will support you on this learning path.

CS: Preparing to Coach

When preparing to coach for the first time, there are several logistics to consider and plan. There are also some things you should do to prepare for every coaching session, such as minimizing distractions and a mindfulness practice. Duration: 20 minutes

CS: First Coaching Session

The coach’s aims for the initial session, or intake session, are to describe the coaching process, review information and assessments provided by the client, and determine if the client is an appropriate candidate for coaching. The coach clarifies roles and expectations; e.g., the coach will not diagnose or prescribe, nor give unsolicited advice; the client will self-determine his/her vision, goals, and action steps; and the client will be actively engaged in trying new behaviors as planned with the coach. Logistics and responsibilities (client vs. coach) are confirmed in a written Coaching Agreement. Duration: 80 minutes

CS: Early Coaching Sessions

In the initial stages of coaching, time is spent exploring the client’s values, vision, purpose, and priorities. The coach refers to these in subsequent sessions to elicit motivation. During early sessions, the coach also spends adequate time exploring the client’s understanding of his/her health and wellness, so goals are not set prematurely. Note that when choosing a focus, the coach is not the “expert” deciding what is most appropriate; instead, the client is empowered to select an area that feels important, motivating, or timely. Duration: 60 minutes

CS: Routine Ongoing Sessions

A coaching program starts with an initial phase, followed by routine (ongoing) coaching sessions for a predetermined period of weeks or months. At the opening of each session, the coach asks about the client’s current state (e.g., energy, mood); throughout the session, the coach refers to shifts in the client’s state. The coach facilitates review of previous action steps, uses other processes as appropriate, and supports the client in defining new action steps. The coach reflects the client’s understanding, perspectives, and learning. At the end of each session, the client articulates new personal discoveries. Duration: 75 mins

CS: Coaching Program Termination

In the final coaching session, the coach’s focus is on recognition of progress, learning, and closure. The client articulates successes and looks back at what s/he has learned. The coach helps the client to establish a plan for how s/he will maintain or continue progressing toward goals, with an emphasis on support and resources. Duration: 75 minutes

Coaching Process: 6 Courses

Coaching is a process. The coach is not a subject expert, but rather is focused on helping the individual to unlock their own potential. The coaching process involves building a relationship, communication, and techniques like Motivational Interviewing and goal setting. We will spend most of our class time learning about and practicing the coaching process.

CP: Coaching Psychology

In this course we will review some of the fields of psychology that come together to form coaching psychology. We will take a detailed look at the self determination theory and how it applies to health coaching sessions. We will also cover 4 mechanisms of change so that you can guide clients to finding internal motivation and become self determined. Duration: 60 Minutes

CP: A Coach’s Intuition

Everyone has intuition! Incorporating your coach's intuition during your coaching sessions can be a powerful skill if used correctly! This course will discuss ways to foster and utilize your coach's intuition. Duration: 70 mins

CP: Transtheoretical Model

The transtheoretical model of behavior change (also known as the stages of change) is an integrative theory of therapy that assesses an individual's readiness to act on a new healthier behavior, and provides strategies, or processes of change to guide the individual. A coach should be able to recognize the client’s stage of change based upon what s/he says. The coach should also know which techniques to apply in which stage. Duration: 80 minutes

CP: Self-Efficacy

A coach helps the client develop self-efficacy, which is the client’s belief in his/her ability to initiate change and achieve goals. The coaching process cultivates self-efficacy as the client better understands his/her needs, gains self-awareness and insight that supports behavior change, learns from setbacks, develops new resources, and finds new ways to navigate his/her environment. Duration: 70 minutes

CP: Strengths-Based Coaching

In this strengths-based coaching class, we will review several ways to gauge a client's strengths and discuss activities to help them put them in action. We will also review some of the psychology behind how a focus on using strengths promotes client success. Duration: 45 minutes

Health & Wellness: 17 Courses

By definition, health and wellness coaches are not content experts in health or disease; they do not diagnose or prescribe, unless a coach has credentials in another profession that allow expert advice to be given. However, it is important for coaches to have a solid working familiarity of current evidence-based recommendations provided by public health groups such as the Center for Disease Control and National Institutes of Health. Relevant guidelines and recommendations fall in the areas of health promotion, disease prevention, and lifestyle medicine.

HW: Wellness & Well-being Concepts

Health and wellness involve more than the absence of disease. Wellness, as a concept, includes all aspects of physical, psychological, spiritual and social well-being; it is multi-dimensional and holistic. Wellness also involves a self-directed and evolving process to achieve full potential. Many coach training programs emphasize this whole-person perspective using a “wheel” or other framework that recognizes multiple dimensions of one’s health. Duration: 40 min

HW: Nutrition

Guidelines around healthy weight, nutrition, and hydration are among the most controversial topics in lifestyle medicine. Thus, in this area, it is particularly important for the coach to follow a client-centered approach, beginning with what the client understands, needs, and wants, and engaging in a partnership that allows the client to access new information and ultimately create new habits. Duration: 4.5 - 5 hours

HW: Physical Activity

Regular physical activity reduces the risk of many chronic diseases, including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, and depression. The coach must be familiar with current recommendations for healthy adult exercise according to HHS guidelines. Given the prevalence of mobile devices and wearable technologies that track physical activity, the coach should also be able to support the client with an awareness of evidence-based methods used to track physical activity. Duration: 60-70 minutes

HW: Sleep

According to the CDC, insufficient sleep is a public health epidemic. Like nutrition and physical activity, sleep is a critical determinant of health and well-being. Adequate sleep is necessary for proper immune, endocrine, and neurological functioning. Lack of sleep is also linked to traffic accidents, work errors, and decreased productivity. The coach should have a basic understanding of sleep and the important role it plays in overall health and well-being, as well as familiarity with common recommendations for healthy sleep hygiene. Duration: 25 minutes

HW: Stress & Emotional Wellness

Stress management is an inevitable topic for coaching. Stress can be both positive and negative; the coach recognizes negative stress and leverages positive stress. It is important to understand the basics of the physiology of stress, the relaxation response, and common techniques for stress management. Most importantly, the coach understands the wide variance in coping mechanisms that work for individual clients. Duration: 1.5 - 3 hours

HW: Social Support

Research shows that social support provides important benefits to our physical and emotional health. Stress may be related to a number of health concerns, from mental health problems to chronic health problems like heart disease and migraines. However, social support can help protect people from the harmful effects of stress. When dealing with a stressful situation, people are less likely to report stress-related health problems when they feel like they have support from others. Duration: 20 minutes

HW: Social Determinants of Health

Our health is also determined in part by access to social and economic opportunities; the resources and supports available in our homes, neighborhoods, and communities; the quality of our schooling; the safety of our workplaces; the cleanliness of our water, food, and air; and the nature of our social interactions and relationships. The conditions in which we live explain in part why some Americans are healthier than others and why Americans more generally are not as healthy as they could be. Duration: 75 minutes

HW: Tobacco, Alcohol & Substance Abuse

Tobacco use is one of the largest preventable lifestyle habits associated with death and chronic disease. It is linked to multiple cancers, cardiovascular disease, reproductive issues, and chronic illnesses like type 2 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. Substance abuse refers to the consumption of mind- and behavior-altering substances that have negative behavioral and health outcomes. Self-medicating behaviors are common in clients, particularly those with chronic pain, so a coach should recognize red flags. Duration: 75 minutes

HW: Mental Health

In addition to understanding major biological risk factors associated with chronic conditions, the coach should understand the most common psychosocial risk factors for chronic disease, including unmanaged stress, depression, and social isolation. The coach should recognize symptoms of depression and know how to refer for treatment. Duration: 75 minutes

HW: Obesity

Obesity is a complex health issue to address. Obesity results from a combination of causes and contributing factors, including individual factors such as behavior and genetics. Obesity is a serious concern because it is associated with poorer mental health outcomes, reduced quality of life, and the leading causes of death in the U.S. and worldwide, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer. Duration: 1.5 - 2 hours

HW: Blood Pressure

High blood pressure increases the risk for heart disease and stroke, two leading causes of death for Americans.1 High blood pressure is also very common. Tens of millions of adults in the United States have high blood pressure, and many do not have it under control. Duration: 25-35 minutes

HW: Lipid Abnormalities

Cholesterol travels through the blood on proteins called “lipoproteins.” A lipid profile is a blood test that measures cholesterol levels. Having lipid abnormalities puts a person at higher risk of heart disease and stroke. This is a widespread problem that causes no symptoms, but increases the chance of clogged arteries and heart attacks, or other circulatory concerns. A coach should be familiar with normal lipid profile numbers. Duration: 65 - 70 minutes

HW: Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) disease that affects how your body turns food into energy. There are three main types of diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes (diabetes while pregnant). More than 122 million Americans are living with diabetes (34.2 million) or prediabetes (88 million). Duration: 60 - 80 minutes

HW: Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease, or heart disease, can be thought of as one of many types of conditions that affect the heart or blood vessels. This includes coronary heart disease, heart attacks strokes, peripheral artery disease, and congenital heart defects. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. Duration: 60 minutes

HW: Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is the name for a group of risk factors that raises a person's risk for heart disease and other health problems, such as diabetes and stroke. Most of the metabolic risk factors have no signs or symptoms, although a large waistline is a visible sign. Lifestyle changes can help control the risk factors associated with metabolic syndrome. Duration: 60 - 75 minutes

HW: Arthritis

Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints. It can affect one joint or multiple joints. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis, with different causes and treatment methods. Two of the most common types are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Duration: 30 minutes

HW: Inflammation

Chronic inflammation is a common factor in most chronic diseases. Whereas acute inflammation is a healthy response to injury, chronic inflammation causes problems over time. Common and well-studied conditions associated with chronic inflammation include coronary artery disease, diabetes, obesity, arthritis, cancer, and Alzheimer’s Disease. Dietary interventions, moderate exercise, and effective stress management are thought to be central in preventing inflammatory disease. Duration: 30 minutes

Ethics/Legal: 4 Courses

Health and wellness coaches commit to the same level of professionalism as all health care providers. This includes ongoing development of skills, following the NBHWC code of ethics, and being aware of HIPAA requirements. In addition, coaches aim to “walk the talk” and model healthy behavior skills, particularly prioritizing self-care.

EL: Professional Development

In this course we'll talk about the benefits of professional development, how to stay current with research, how to obtain continuing education credits, and the recertification process of National Board Certified Health & Wellness Coaches. Duration: 15 minutes

EL: Self-Care for Helping Professionals

In this course, we'll talk about how to engage in personal health and well-being, including physical and emotional health and potential burnout. Duration: 50 minutes

EL: Health Coaching Ethics

NBHWC is committed to maintaining and promoting excellence in coaching. Therefore, NBHWC expects all credentialed health and wellness coaches (coaches, coach faculty and mentors, and students) to adhere to the elements and principles of ethical conduct: to be competent and integrate NBHWC Health and Wellness Coach Competencies effectively in their work. This course explains what you should and shouldn't do in order to practice your health coaching ethically. Duration: 90 minutes

EL: HIPAA & Health Coaching

In this course we cover how HIPAA applies in health coaching. Who is a covered entity and who is not? Even if you are not legally bound by HIPAA, the practices of privacy and confidentiality are still ethical considerations. Duration: 50 minutes