Lifestyle and Wellness Health Coach Certificate

Program Overview

The Lifestyle and Wellness Health Coach program will provide you with health coaching principles and skills to support the lifestyle and wellness goals of your clients and to promote general population health.



This four-day course focuses on how to use health coaching to promote health and wellness around stress management, nutrition, and physical activity.  Learn how to foster relationships and communicate in a client-centred and motivational way to facilitate behaviour change.

The competency-based curriculum integrates theory and applied skills to help you develop a highly effective health coaching practice. Practice your new skills through live role-play with patient actors using standardized case examples.

At the end of the course, you will earn a certificate of completion.

Optional: You also have the opportunity to earn two digital badges: (1) Health Coaching Therapeutic Intervention - Fundamental Skills badge and (2) Motivational Interviewing - Fundamental Skills badge. This course is also part of the learning pathway for the Health Coach Professional Certificate. To earn a digital badge you’ll need to pass a short, post-course on-line test and pay $20+HST administrative fee. You will receive your digital skills badge (s) via email upon course completion, with instructions on how to collect and display them.

How You Will Benefit:

Upgrade your skills and reinforce new skills through live simulation with patient actors. Upon completion of the course, you will be able to:

  • Communicate with clients and their families/support network about the importance of adherence to healthy diet, physical activity, medications, and a variety of health outcomes (e.g., weight, blood glucose, blood pressure)
  • Apply a foundation of health coaching skills to motivate and guide behaviour changes
  • Support lifestyle and wellness goals of your client population and potentially reduce use of health care resources that result from preventable conditions

What You Will Learn:

  • Relationship-based and client-centered communication as a key to behaviour change around stress management, nutrition and physical activity
  • How to gain buy-in with the team, client, family, and system to support goals
  • Behaviour change methods and tools including motivational interviewing
  • Legal issues and entrepreneurship related to lifestyle and wellness health coaching

Who Should Take This Course:

  • Regulated health professionals
  • Individuals with experience working in related health and/or wellness sector such as health and fitness centres, community care, primary care clinics, hospitals, pharmacies OR counselling role in schools, community/faith-based organizations etc.
  • Professionals or new graduates with a health-related diploma or bachelor’s degree looking to expand their role or start their own health coaching practice


  • Regulated Health Professional OR
  • University or college degree in nursing, medicine, psychology, social work, dentistry, health promotion, kinesiology, physiology, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, and other health-related fields AND 1-2 years of work experience in the health and/or wellness or related counselling field

Contact us at if you are interested in taking the course but are unsure if you meet the pre-requisites.

Please see Frequently Asked Questions for more information about health coaching and our health coaching programs.

Program Content

The Lifestyle and Wellness Health Coach Certificate comprises of four (4) full classroom days and two webinar sessions. The program uses an interactive, competency-based curriculum, which includes a live role-playing simulation session with patient actors.


DAY 1: In-person classroom session (7 hours)

Topics Include:

  • Introduction to health coaching: The role of the health coach
  • Impact of health determinants and social and behavioral factors on health outcomes and how health coaching can be used for health promotion
  • Motivating behavior change through improving communication skills
  • Introduction to Motivational interviewing as a person-centered communication style that can enhance a person’s motivation for healthy change

DAY 2: In-person classroom session (7 hours)

Topics Include:

  • Advancing motivational interviewing skills
  • Building relationships between health coaches, clients and other health professional
    Creating a coordinated care plan to overcome barriers to behavioural change
  • Working with clients on the interplay between stress and health
  • Stress management and self-care strategies

DAY 3: In-person classroom session (7 hours)

Topics Include:

  • Physical activity, exercise, and sedentary behavior
  • Using motivational interviewing skills to overcome barriers to physical activity and exercise
  • Health risks of sedentary behaviours, and the frequency, intensity, and types of physical activities appropriate for specific chronic conditions
  • Using the current Canadian dietary recommendations, and people’s innate interest in food and nutrition, to facilitate cross-discipline collaboration in health coaching

Day 4: In-person classroom session (7 hours)

Professional actors will be used to simulate a series of standardized cases and scenarios that may arise during the health coach process. The goal of this module is to enhance participants’ confidence and readiness to incorporate health coaching into their respective practices. Leading clinical experts will be on hand to provide participants with feedback on the applications of health coaching.

Topics Include:

  • How to implement your health coaching process and skills using a variety of simulated cases and scenarios with professional actors
  • Monitoring and self-evaluation of health coaching practice
  • Learning consolidation and application of new skills to current or future practice
Legal Issues for Health and Wellness Coaches

3-hour webinar (Mandatory)

Understand how to protect yourself legally under various challenging scenarios related to being a Lifestyle and Wellness Health Coach. Learn about professional ethics and the law and how they apply to your practice.

Topics include:

  • Ethics and communication in health care
  • Consent, capacity, and substitute decision-making
  • Privacy and confidentiality in health care
Starting Your Health and Wellness Practice

3-hour webinar (Optional)

This workshop will help you develop your health and wellness business idea in a private practice or within your organization. The course will focus on the practical aspects of establishing, maintaining, and growing a health and wellness practice to promote and support support healthier lifestyles, aging, and chronic disease management.

Topics Include:

  • Understand how to gain buy in and position health coaching services so people understand its value and impact.
  • Developing and refining your business idea using a lean start-up model and a business model canvas tool


Dr. Michael J. Coons - PhD, CPsych, CBSM

Program Director, Adjunct Professor-York University

Portrait of Instructor Michael Coons in a Circle Frame

Dr. Coons is a Clinical, Health, and Rehabilitation Psychologist. He is a member of the College of Psychologists of Ontario. He specializes in the development, implementation, and evaluation of interventions for health-related problems. These include: obesity and weight management, psychosocial adjustment to chronic diseases (e.g., Type 1 and 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, pain), adherence to health behaviours for chronic disease prevention and management (e.g., diet, exercise, medications), and insomnia and related behavioural sleep issues (e.g., adherence to sleep apnea treatment). Dr.Coons’ expertise extends across the lifespan including children, adolescents, adults, and older adults. He also provides support to individuals, couples or involved support people,and families.

Dr. Coons is the Program Director of the Health Coaching Institute in the Faculty of Health, York University. In this role, he provides oversite to the development and implementation of continuing education programs related to Motivational Interviewing and Health Coaching. Along with Dr. Carolina Pansera, Dr. Coons co-directs a community based private practice called the Health Collaborative.

Dr. Coons received his PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Waterloo. He completed his predoctoral clinical internship in Medical Psychology at Duke University Medical Centre in Durham, NC, and was formerly on faculty in the Department of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, IL.

Leigh Caplan - RN, MA, CDE

Diabetes Nurse Educator, Sunnybrook Academic Family Health Team

Portrait of Instructor Leigh Caplan in a Circle FrameLeigh Caplan is a Diabetes Nurse Educator in the Sunnybrook Academic Family Health Team.   She has worked in the area of Diabetes Education for over 19 years. She has been the clinical lead on the expansion of the diabetes program at Sunnybrook and responsible for inter-professional diabetes education. Leigh is a faculty member of the Institute of Healthcare Communication: Choices and Change workshop, Choices and changes Mentoring Workshops with simulated patients and Coaching Clinicians for Enhanced Performance. Leigh is a tutor in University of Toronto Medical School’s Community, Population and Public Health (CPPH) -1 course. Leigh has been a tutor and facilitator of Michener Institute for Applied Health Sciences’ Diabetes Educator Graduate Certificate course.

Leigh received the U of T Family and Community Medicine Interprofessional Teaching Award 2011 and the Banting and Best Diabetes Centre University of Toronto Diabetes Educator of the Year 2012. Leigh has been an active member: On three projects by the Centre for Effective Practice, Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto. The Central Toronto LHIN Self Management Group Toronto Central LHIN: Diabetes Steering Committee. Government of Ontario Diabetes Strategy Self Management Working Group. Leigh is presently an active member: TC LHIN RCC New Hires Planning Committee Sunnybrook Academic FHT Education Committee  Banting & Best Diabetes Centre - Continuing Health Education & Professional Development Committee Meeting TC LHIN Self management Advisory Committee  Health Quality Ontario – Ontario Diabetes Evidence committee Expert Panel.

Kathryn Walker - PhD

Clinical and Health Psychologist - SickKids Hospital and University of Toronto

Portrait of Instructor Kathryn Walker in a Circle FrameDr. Kathryn (Katie) Walker is a registered Clinical and Health Psychologist at the Hospital for Sick Children.  She completed her graduate training at the State University of New York at Buffalo, where much of her research and clinical work centered on the treatment of ADHD and school-wide prevention of aggression and disruptive behaviour disorders.   Katie has been working at The Hospital for Sick Children for the past 6 years. Clinically, she has trained at SickKids in eating disorders, obesity, diabetes, adolescent medicine, the burns team, oncology, and now works with the chronic pain team. The clinical frameworks she formulates from include cognitive behavioural therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, mindfulness based stress reduction, motivational interviewing and emotion focused therapy, all in the context of patient- and family-centered care.

She also maintains a private practice where she sees clients with clinical and health psychology presentations (children, adolescents, adults and families). Her policy-related research has focused on prevention and public health practice, bringing a mental health promotion lens to the promotion of healthy weights. Her experience in school, community and hospital settings informs her thinking about health promotion and medical treatment messaging that children, families and adults receive, and how to empower individuals to feel good about themselves, navigate stressors in their life, and adopt healthy lifestyles.

Certificate/Digital Badge

At the end of the course, you will earn a certificate of completion.

Failure to attend the course dates and/or achieve the learning objectives as determined by the instructor can result in you not earning the certificate of completion. Refunds are not applicable in this case.

At the end of the course, you will earn a certificate of completion.

Optional: You also have the opportunity to earn two digital badges: (1) Health Coaching Therapeutic Intervention - Fundamental Skills badge and (2) Motivational Interviewing - Fundamental Skills badge. This course is also part of the learning pathway for the Health Coach Professional Certificate. To earn a digital badge you’ll need to pass a short, post-course on-line test and pay $20+HST administrative fee. You will receive your digital skills badge (s) via email upon course completion, with instructions on how to collect and display them.


Schulich Executive Hotel on Campus

The Executive Learning Centre features:
• 60 executive style guest rooms on 12 floors each with a queen size bed
• Complimentary high speed internet access
• In room coffee/tea maker
• Wheelchair accessible

Call Reservations (416)-650-8300 book on-line: or


Funding Sources

Please note that these funding sources below are listed here for your information only. York University or HLLN does not directly provide this funding or apply for grants.

Nursing Education Initiative

Nurses taking this program may be eligible to receive reimbursement of up to $1500 from the Education Initiative offered through the RNAO. You do NOT have to be an RNAO member to apply for the funding. Please visit the RNAO website, Education Funding, for more details

The Allied Health Professional Development Fund

Allied Health professionals taking this Workshop may be eligible to receive reimbursement of up to $1500 from the Allied Health Professional Development Fund offered through HealthForce Ontario. Please visit the HealthForce Ontario website for more details

The Canada-Ontario Job Grant

Through the Canada-Ontario Job Grant you may be eligible to receive up to $10,000 in government support per person for training costs.
The Canada-Ontario Job Grant can be used to purchase training for your employees. York University/The Health Leadership & Learning Network is an eligible training provider and the grant can be applied to all of our offerings and for in-house training.
You can apply at any time. Employers can apply for one employee or for a large group of employees
If you are an employee or employer and would like more information visit:

Please note: Not all employers are eligible to apply, please consult the Canada-Ontario Job Grant website for more details.

Second Career

The Second Career program through Employment Ontario provides financial support for skills training needed for jobs in demand. You can apply for up to $28,000 for costs including tuition, books, transportation, basic living expenses and child care.
You qualify for Second Career when:
• you have been laid off and have not been working
• you have been laid off and are working a temporary job just to cover costs
• you are receiving Employment Insurance (EI), or have in the past, you can still apply
To apply to Second Career, you have to work with an employment services agency. Training occupations must demonstrate evidence of good employment prospects in your local labour market. For more information, visit: