Wellness Coaching Program
Mayo Clinic's Wellness Coaching Program includes three components — training, peer coaching practice and certification. The Wellness Coach Training is a 12-week (11-session) graduate-level course provided as a combination of online and on-site learning opportunities. Wellness Coach Certification is an optional process that students may complete once they have successfully completed training.
Wellness coach training prepares students to work as wellness coaches within diverse settings by:
- Combining online and on-site learning that maximizes potential for individual growth
- Providing opportunities for group interaction and practice
- Respecting individual needs via a flexible training schedule
All sessions are offered online with the exception of session 3, which is taught on-site at a 2.5-day workshop at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Weekly classes are provided using the Blackboard Learn System, an online learning platform, and course work is completed on a flexible schedule. The on-site training provides an opportunity to observe, practice and demonstrate practical coaching skills.
The last session is delivered via a prescheduled group teleconference with all class students and an instructor. Upon successful completion of the wellness coach training, students receive a certificate of completion. Students are then eligible to apply for Wellness Coach Certification offered through the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center.
- Bachelor's degree.
- An associate degree in a health-related field with current license to practice also may be considered.
Students learn how to establish relationships and practice core coaching skills that assist individuals in identifying their values and desires, transforming them into action, and maintaining lasting change over time. Students learn to partner in dynamic collaboration with others, respecting the client as the expert in his or her life and using a strength-based focus and strong grounding in best practices.
Wellness coaches work together with others within the interdisciplinary team. They focus on helping clients who are well to stay well and assisting others not only to recover from illness but also to discover their best selves with a new emphasis on wellness. The role of the coach is to help the individual identify personal reasons for pursuing greater wellness and to enhance motivation for behavior change using evidence-based strategies.
Opportunities exist for wellness coaches to work as independent consultants on the staff of sports or fitness facilities or insurance companies or as part of an interdisciplinary team in clinics and hospitals. Wellness coaches can set their own schedules and pay rates, choose their clientele, work from nearly any location, and enjoy creativity and flexibility in their coaching approach.
The National Consortium for Credentialing of Health & Wellness Coaches started as a founding team in September 2009 and has grown to 75 participating organizations and individuals, including Mayo Clinic. The consortium is tasked with developing standards for professional coaches in health care and wellness, a path for health professionals from diverse backgrounds to become health and wellness coaches, and a strategy and mechanism for the national credentialing of such coaches.
Wellness coaching employs a strength-based approach based on the principle "It's not about fixing what is broken, it's nurturing what is best within ourselves." (Seligman, 1999). Strength-based approaches are grounded in contributions from counseling psychology, positive psychology, prevention research, social work, solution-focused therapy and motivational interviewing.
Using a strength-based approach, the wellness coach follows the 5 E's:
- Engage — build a trusting relationship with individuals and groups
- Explore — assist clients in identifying their values and desires
- Envision — facilitate a vision for wellness
- Experiment — employ communication strategies to enhance self-efficacy and to transform values and desires into action
- Evolve — support lasting change
The Mayo Clinic Wellness Coaching Program training is coordinated and taught by clinical, scientific and technical staffs of Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Faculty members are chosen for their commitment to teaching, as well as clinical practice or research.