The Role of a Health Coach and Behavior Change Specialist

The demand for individuals with expertise in coaching skills and an understanding of how people change is on the rise. For many health and fitness professionals, this skill can enhance a current career, help transition into a new career, or add a new service to an existing business. While the fields of health coaching and behavior-change coaching are new and evolving, ACE has developed a general consensus and position on what it means to be a certified health coach versus a specialist in behavior change.

ACE Position Statement on Scope of Practice for ACE Certified Health Coaches and ACE-trained Behavioral Change Specialists

Because research has clearly demonstrated the value of coaching in helping people improve health behaviors, and because the United States is currently facing an epidemic of obesity, diabetes and other lifestyle-related diseases resulting from poor nutrition and physical inactivity, it is the position of the American Council on Exercise (ACE) that coaching services should be widely available in communities throughout the country, provided by both lay and professional coaches, and by healthcare providers with specialized training in coaching principles.

ACE believes that all professional coaches, who are primarily compensated in their role as a coach, should attain a nationally accredited professional certification such as the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA)-accredited ACE Health Coach Certification or other health coaching or wellness certification accredited by the NCCA or International Coach Federation (ICF). This is the highest standard of competence for a coaching professional and provides assurance to the general population that the coach has mastered foundational principles in coaching.

ACE recognizes that professional coaches, professionals from other disciplines who aim to integrate coaching into their work, and lay coaches will benefit from practical training and coaching skill development. The ACE Behavior Change Specialist curriculum prepares these individuals to greatly improve their communication skills and effectiveness in helping to coach clients toward effective behavior change. These skills may serve as an adjunct to another professional role, or they may help professionals or aspiring health coaches to improve the quality of their work. The Behavior Change Specialist training is not intended to replace an accredited coaching credential, and an individual who has completed the behavior change specialist training should not represent him- or herself as an ACE Certified Health Coach.

Ultimately, an individual coach's scope of practice is determined by state policies and regulations; credentials, education and experience; and competencies and skills. With that

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Fitnovatives Blog — Courtesy “American Council On Exercise” (ACEfitness.org)

Keep your baby healthy with exercise at My Gym in Bethesda

Keep your baby healthy with exercise at My Gym in Bethesda.

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