Novice Health and Wellness Coaches: Implication for Professional Preparation

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Higher education programs are increasingly involved in the preparation of health and wellness coaches. The preparation of entry-level coaches in undergraduate programs presents unique challenges and opportunities as students are simultaneously novice learners in higher education, health professions, and coaching. Therefore, faculty need to consider the unique skills needed by health and wellness coaches and the characteristics of undergraduate learners when designing undergraduate coaching education programs. As students move into the evidence-based profession of health and wellness coaching, they must acquire essential knowledge and skills while going through a period of significant personal development. The journey from novice to competent entry-level coach takes commitment and focused effort by students and faculty alike, supported by a thoughtful design of undergraduate programs. Design elements include a coach-the-coach approach, an emphasis on self-development, explicitly teaching the thinking skills inherent to coaching, and the progressive immersion of experiential learning. These approaches could maximize the success of novices in becoming competent, entry-level health and wellness coaches.

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