If you’ve been thinking of becoming a health coach lately, but you’re not sure how to go about it, this post is for you. Keep reading to find out how I became a Certified Health Coach (and you can, too).
WHAT IS A HEALTH COACH?
Health coaching is more popular than ever right now. In these unprecedented times when an improved immune system and lifestyle are the most precious currency, being a health coach can be very valuable. Despite its popularity, though, there is still some confusion as to what exactly a Health Coach is, does, and does not do.
A HEALTH COACH IS…
A mentor and wellness expert that supports and guides others to address their individual needs and achieve their health goals. The approach of an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach like myself is always holistic, addressing body, mind, and spirit.
A HEALTH COACH DOES…
- listen without prejudice
- hold you accountable
- help you connect the dots
A HEALTH COACH DOES NOT…
- prescribe medication
- diagnose diseases
- impose dietary and lifestyle changes
- use a one-size-fits-all approach
- replace a medical doctor and other medical professionals
HOW TO BECOME A CERTIFIED HEALTH COACH IN 3 STEPS
Acquiring the certification is relatively simple, but before signing up for just any course out there, I recommend taking these 3 important steps:
1) UNDERSTAND YOUR WHY
Identify your motivation and expectations. Do you want to open your own coaching practice? Are you hoping to find employment at a medical facility? Or maybe you just want to gain more knowledge to improve your own health and that of your loved ones. Whatever your reasons, it is important that you are clear about your path before you invest time, energy, and money.
2) RESEARCH COURSES AND FACILITIES
Before I chose the Institute for Integrative Nutrition for my certification, I researched other facilities extensively and even held interviews with some of them. I am very conservative when it comes to spending and investing, so I really wanted to make sure that I was choosing the right path. It turns out I made the right choice, and after graduating I even took another course at the same institute to specialize in Gut Health. But you need to do your own due diligence before taking this very important step. A few points to keep in mind while you research facilities are:
- The reputation of the certification program. I strongly recommend a program that has been operating for a certain number of years with a proven track record, reputable instructors and guest teachers. The health coach certification program I opted for at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) has been in operation since 1992, and it boasts a long list of brilliant lectures from the most respected nutrition and wellness experts out there. When Dr. Mark Hyman, one of my most trusted functional medicine doctors, lectured on the very first day, I knew I was in the right place. His endorsement of IIN meant a lot to me.
- The duration. The IIN course is 1 year, but it can also be done in 6 months if one chooses the accelerated option (it’s up to you, depending on the amount of time you have at your disposal). Any course that promises a valid nutritional education and serious coaching skills in just a few short weeks should not be considered. It is simply impossible.
- The level of commitment. There was one other contender I really considered before choosing IIN. However, it required some in-person attendance, and the facility was located in a different state. Therefore, not an option for me. IIN only requires attendance online, which makes it very convenient. All the consultation practice sessions are done remotely, using conference apps. I did not miss the in-person factor, which I don’t believe is necessary for the purpose of this certification.
- The level of transparency. When I was still in doubt about joining IIN, I had access to some alumni. One of them assisted me through my final choice and enrollment. That put me at ease. If the institute had not been forthcoming with putting me in touch with graduates, I would have felt they had something to hide, and that would have been a red flag.
- Success stories. This was a big selling point for me. IIN doesn’t just have highly regarded instructors and teachers, it also has a long list of successful graduates. That is truly inspiring and a testament to the program’s ability to provide students with solid business tools.
Among IIN’s success stories, we find: paleo chef and best-selling author, Pete Evans; celebrity health coach and best-selling author, Kelly Leveque; founder of Purely Elizabeth, Elizabeth Stein.
3) PARTICIPATE ACTIVELY IN THE PROGRAM
Most people have a lot on their plates: a job, a family, children, loads of obligations… It’s easy to get lost and underestimate the type of commitment required. Becoming a Health Coach goes well beyond learning the nuts and bolts of the program, amassing health and wellness data, and studying dietary trends. It’s mostly about learning how to listen without prejudice while effectively guiding toward better choices. It is paramount to resist the urge to “fix” people; telling clients what to do is not what coaching is about. For this very reason, students are encouraged to practice consultations ad nauseam with each other and with as many willing individuals as possible outside of the institute.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE PROGRAM
If you are interested in learning more about the program and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN), click here and get a copy of their current Curriculum Guide. You can also click here for a free sample class or, if you are ready to take the plunge, go directly to the application page.
Disclaimer: Although this is not a sponsored post, Absolutely Flavorful is a participant in the IIN Ambassador Program, an affiliate advertising program. Some of the links on this site are affiliate links. Should you click and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you. Thank you for your support, and enjoy the experience!