So, you’ve decided to hire a health coach.
Congratulations on making a move to better your health and wellness. It is a choice that you won’t regret.
But, there’s one catch…
How do you know if you hired a qualified health coach?
While health coaching is a rapidly growing field, it’s still relatively new.
There is still no organization that ensures health coaches have proper training and are qualified. Anyone can say they are a health coach.
And, while someone may be very knowledgeable about health and nutrition, if they haven’t received proper training, they may do more harm than good.
How do you distinguish a qualified coach?
A qualified coach won’t get defensive if questioned about their background
When choosing a health coach, you should ask questions such as, “What made you want to pursue this field?” or “What did you learn in training?” or “How much hands-on experience do you have?”
If they get defensive or refuse to answer, then it’s a red flag.
They will work in collaboration with your doctor
A legitimate health coach will provide the day-to-day support and guidance that most medical doctors have neither the time nor the training to provide.
The reality is that most people know what they need to do to be healthy, but they don’t do it. Health coaches have the time to delve into that while medical doctors don’t, which is why health coaches and doctors working together is so important.
The good news is that many traditional doctor’s offices have now realized the importance of health coaching in keeping patients motivated and accountable and have added them to their staff.
They will have a passion for helping
Just because someone loves to exercise and is knowledgeable about nutrition doesn’t mean they will be able to help you. Good health coaches get to know you at a deeper level and genuinely care about helping motivate you to achieve your goals.
The best health coaches are the ones that understand that your health journey is also theirs. They’re invested in your success and, at the same time, open to being changed themselves as they guide you down that path.
They will customize a plan SPECIFICALLY for you
They understand that everyone is unique, so they will learn everything about you and your current lifestyle and tailor a plan to help you reach your goals. They will NOT offer quick fixes. Good health coaches promote changes that are long-term and achievable.
They will NOT try to sell you diet food or supplements
A health coach’s job is to better your life. If they are trying to sell you anything, they are taking advantage of you for their own monetary gain.
They are willing to be wrong
There’s a lot of trial and error when it comes to this sort of endeavor.
Just on the nutrition front, for example, you might have several different foods that might be triggering adverse reactions in your body. Your health coach might speculate on which one (or more) is the true culprit, but you’re going to have to go through an elimination diet to determine the facts.
If the coach is humble and shows that they’re willing to be wrong, that’s a pretty good indicator that they know what they’re doing. New data is always coming out. What we thought was true yesterday might be shown to be completely false today. A good coach knows this reality—but at the same time isn’t a know-it-all.
They promote lasting change
A good health coach is going to tackle the whole of your wellness. Not all at once, of course. But there needs to be a system in place that deals with diet and exercise, but also addresses cultivating your awareness, reducing your stress, analyzing your relationships, developing your breathing habits, and everything in between.
Health is much more than just losing weight and counting calories.
In a health coach, you’re looking for someone who takes a holistic approach and understands that lasting change is always the goal.
Health coaching is a quickly-growing field, but standards for health coaches are still evolving, and not all receive the same degree of training.
It’s very important to do your research before hiring a health coach to make sure you choose someone who has the necessary qualifications and experience.
The relationship between patient and health coach is an intimate one. You need to make sure you are both on the same page and that you are being heard. These things are the key to a harmonious relationship as a health coach-client team.
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