An examination of wellness coaches and their impact on client behavioral outcomes

Reed Jordan Engel, Purdue University


In the early 2000’s, wellness coaching appeared as a relatively novel discipline which addressed the challenge clients had in achieving and sustaining health behavior changes. It has since demonstrated variable efficacy with regard to helping individuals’ lead healthier lifestyles. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect wellness coaches have on the behavioral outcomes of their clients. The investigation explored the relationship of coach’s demographic variables, experience, scope of practice, logistics and delivery method, skills and attributes, client goals and barriers, and other factors to client outcomes. This cross-sectional study was comprised of three parts and involved quantitative research methods in which 673 wellness coaches and 824 clients participated in separate online surveys. A matched-case analysis of 64 coaches and 413 clients was also performed. Results of the wellness coach analysis (Part 1) revealed that the coaches unique personal coaching and demographic factors were significant and accounted for 9.6%, 23.8%, and 9.0% of the variance in Change in Coach Confidence, Coach Career Satisfaction, and Coach Life Satisfaction, respectively. Findings from the client analysis (Part 2) indicated that coach, client, and demographic factors accounted for 17.1%, 11.9%, 13.4%, and 7.8% of the variance in Client Change in Confidence, Change in Client Readiness for Behavior Change, Percentage of Client Wellness Goal Achieved, and Client Willingness to Recommend Coaching, respectively. The results from the matched wellness coach and client analysis (Part 3) failed to demonstrate that either demographic or coach factors were significant or accounted for any variance in the outcome variables. The findings from Parts 1 and 2 indicated that numerous coach and client factors influenced client outcomes. The results offered opportunities for further insight into the effects of wellness coaching on the training of professional coaches, their certifying organizations, current and potential clients, and the potential effects that this emerging profession might have on the nation’s healthcare system.




Hyner, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Public health

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