An online health coach can help individuals identify and address physical and mental health conditions to improve their overall quality of life. Complementing traditional forms of healthcare, health coaching empowers the client to create goals and strategies to improve their well-being and prevent illness. As a $7 billion service market in the U.S. alone, health coaching is on its way to a bright future.
In the U.S., an estimated 128,000 health coaches and health educators work with clients to help them make improvements in lifestyle habits and manage chronic health conditions.
Wellness Industry Overview
The $1.5 trillion global wellness market has an expected annual growth outlook of 5% to 10%. A McKinsey survey of roughly 7,500 consumers across six countries indicated that 79% of people believe that wellness is important and 42% consider it a top priority.
Modern wellness can be divided into several categories: health, fitness, nutrition, appearance, sleep, and mindfulness.
In the health category, consumers are taking greater control of their own health and utilizing medicine, medical devices, telemedicine, personal health trackers, and remote healthcare services.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult for consumers to maintain pre-pandemic fitness levels, but brands such as Peloton, Mirror, and Tonal have emerged with virtual offerings to meet the shift in demand.
In the nutrition category, consumers want food to taste good and to help them accomplish wellness goals. Categories currently growing in nutrition include nutrition apps, diet programs, juice cleanses, and subscription food services.
In the appearance category, consumers are turning to athleisure, beauty products (such as skincare and collagen supplements), and services (such as microneedling, lasers, and oxygen jets) to portray a healthy image.
Consumers facing higher stress levels are utilizing improved sleep aids, such as traditional sleep medication (such as melatonin), app-enabled sleep trackers, and other sleep-enhancing products (such as blackout curtains and gravity blankets).
Mindfulness has also gained mainstream acceptance for mental distress. Apps such as Calm, Headspace, Travaasa, and Soothe have become especially popular.
Spotlight on Virtual Health Coaching
The rise of services addressing physical and mental health needs has driven the growth of virtual health coaches, who help clients achieve goals across weight loss; stress reduction; chronic illness management; nutrition; exercise; socialization; addictions; financial well-being; and life-altering health events, such as recovering from a heart attack or surgery.
Benefits of Virtual Health Coaching
Virtual health coaching offers a range of benefits, including reduced overall healthcare costs; flexibility; privacy; improved employee health; reduced workers’ compensation claim costs; freedom to choose one’s coach; and removed barriers to care, such as time and distance.
The Promising Future of Virtual Health Coaching
Virtual health coaching is part of the broader prevention and well-being healthcare trend that will see more care delivery take place outside of healthcare facilities — in homes, work environments, schools, and the community.
Trends in Virtual Health Coaching
Motivational interviewing techniques have emerged as an effective approach for effecting change. Coaches have discovered that people who change for their own reasons are more successful than those who just follow orders. Instead of telling a client, “You need to lose weight,” a health coach might ask, “How might your life change if you lost weight?”
Positive psychology is another technique that has rewritten the rules of traditional counseling. Rather than focusing on what is “wrong” with clients and what they need to “fix,” health coaches can serve clients based on what has, can, and will work better for them.
Group health coaching is growing in popularity thanks to its many benefits, which include being more affordable for clients; being more profitable for coaches; creating a supportive environment for clients with weak support networks; fostering and deepening interpersonal connections; and facilitating communication between clients on similar journeys of change, allowing them to support each other.
Modern health coaching apps offer business management features for coaches and personal training for clients. Platforms offer a variety of delivery methods, including face-to-face, hybrid, and online.
Another trend in virtual health coaching is personalization. Clients are empowered to make choices based on what is important to them and their needs. A personalized approach to well-being will prove to be more effective than treating individual diseases.
Health coaches are adopting a team approach and collaborating with other healthcare professionals to deliver integrated health services.
They may also pursue continued education opportunities, which may entail learning how to set up a remote health coaching office, structure a coaching session, and create online courses for clients.
Virtual health coaching is expanding into private corporate sector wellness programs. Health coaches are supporting employees by helping them create a daily routine, adopt healthy lifestyle habits, make positive changes, improve their health, and build resilience.
Comprehensive Tools for Online Health Coaches
Health coaches have access to a range of apps and platforms that will help them streamline their services, increase efficiency, and empower their clients.
7 Apps and Platforms for Virtual Health Coaches
Paperbell is a client management tool that allows customers to schedule appointments, process payments, sign contracts, and access digital downloads.
A helpful meal-planning app called That Clean Life allows coaches to access chef-developed recipes, create meal plans, and use predesigned meal plans.
Moxiee, a customer relationship management (CRM) system, is used by coaches to track leads and opportunities, manage existing clients, message clients between sessions, and help clients track their results through an external app.
Ascend is a complementary component to the Lose It! weight loss app that lets coaches access client metrics and progress on weight loss and activity and message clients between sessions.
Healthie is a management platform that lets coaches maintain client records, schedule appointments, and handle billing.
NutriAdmin is another popular platform that allows coaches to plan meals, process payments, create reports, and send questionnaires.
Meal Garden is a nutrition tool that allows health coaches to access thousands of healthy recipes; add recipes; adjust meal plans according to client goals and needs; provide a customer-facing app to clients; and access meal plan templates with grocery lists, prep guides, and nutritional breakdowns.
The Journey to Wellness
Health-conscious consumers are looking to virtual health coaches to help them take their overall well-being to the next level — whether they’d like to boost fitness, improve nutrition, or address mental health. With the right tools and resources, virtual health coaches will be fully equipped to support and customize the client journey.