What is health coaching?

What is health coaching?

Health and wellbeing coaching has become an established area of practice in the Australia, UK and USA. Health coaching has even been offered as a free service within some Primary Care Trusts in the UK. Professional bodies such as the Association for Coaching recognise health coaching as a specialism.

There are a number of definitions of health coaching that have been developed over the past two decades. One of the earliest definitions published in an academic journal was developed by the Co-Director of the Centre for Health Coaching and colleagues:

Health coaching is the practice of health education and health promotion within a coaching context, to enhance the well-being of individuals and to facilitate the achievement of their health-related goals (Palmer et al., 2003: 92)

This definition focuses on wellbeing, facilitation and allowing the client or coachee to proactively develop their personal health-related goals. A health education and coaching framework, underpinned and informed by psychological theories, research and practice.

Health Coaches may undertake a range of duties as part of their work depending upon their training. The chart below highlights some of the key areas.


Palmer, S., Tubbs, I., & Whybrow, W. (2003). Health coaching to facilitate the promotion of healthy behaviour and achievement of health-related goals. International Journal of Health Promotion and Education, 41, 3, 91-93.