The effectiveness of wellness coaching for improving quality of life

Mayo Clin Proc. 2014 Nov;89(11):1537-44. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2014.04.028. Epub 2014 Aug 5.


Objective: To learn more about the potential psychosocial benefits of wellness coaching. Although wellness coaching is increasing in popularity, there are few published outcome studies.

Patients and methods: In a single-cohort study design, 100 employees who completed the 12-week wellness coaching program were of a mean age of 42 years, 90% were women, and most were overweight or obese. Three areas of psychosocial functioning were assessed: quality of life (QOL; 5 domains and overall), depressive symptoms (Patient Health Questionnaire-9), and perceived stress level (Perceived Stress Scale-10). Participants were recruited from January 1, 2011, through December 31, 2011; data were collected up to July 31, 2012, and were analyzed from August 1, 2012, through October 31, 2013.

Results: These 100 wellness coaching completers exhibited significant improvements in all 5 domains of QOL and overall QOL (P<.0001), reduced their level of depressive symptoms (P<.0001), and reduced their perceived stress level (P<.001) after 12 weeks of in-person wellness coaching, and they maintained these improvements at the 24-week follow-up.

Conclusion: In this single-arm cohort study (level 2b evidence), participating in wellness coaching was associated with improvement in 3 key areas of psychosocial functioning: QOL, mood, and perceived stress level. The results from this single prospective cohort study suggest that these areas of functioning improve after participating in wellness coaching; however, randomized clinical trials involving large samples of diverse individuals are needed to establish level 1 evidence for wellness coaching.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • Depression / therapy*
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Health Promotion / methods
  • Health Promotion / organization & administration*
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Marital Status
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Occupational Health Services / methods
  • Occupational Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult