A question we hear all the time: “I’m not a doctor or a nurse. Can I still be a Health Coach?” The answer is YES! and our Student Spotlight this month is the perfect example of a coach with a non-traditional background. With over 20 years’ experience in accounting, recent FMCA graduate Andrea Kaapke found her path turning towards health a few years ago when she first earned her certification as a yoga instructor.
“It was a HUGE turning point for me,” Andrea says. Yoga was nothing like accounting, and it didn’t immediately seem to have a financial payoff, which made her question the wisdom of such a step. But she decided to follow her heart, and what started as a leap of faith has turned out to be a stepping-stone to something different, new, and liberating: the world of health and wellness. She has seen this step pay off, with “an ROI I never even knew existed. An ROI on my well-being.” Harder to calculate, but so rewarding. A new direction had started to reveal itself.
Though she was able to use her strengths of collaborating and bringing numbers to life in her role as accountant, Andrea still had the drive to continue her education. When an executive MBA didn’t feel right, she again chose to listen to her heart. “I explored programs where I could learn more about subjects that have always been of interest to me,” she says. “Nutrition, food and its impact on our body, psychology, and exercise/movement have always fascinated me!” That’s how she found her way to Health Coaching and started exploring different training programs.
What set FMCA apart and inspired her to enroll in our program? “Its connection to the IFM (The Institute for Functional Medicine). Having a program rooted in science provided additional integrity.” And the Functional Medicine aspect of FMCA’s program only further strengthened the case for enrolling. “I absolutely LOVED the fact that this program drew upon all of the areas I was interested in and connected the dots between them.” With FMCA, she knew she had found the right fit!
Now a graduate, Andrea is savoring her successful completion of the program, and she’s starting to think about the next step, too. This time, her heart is leading her to establish a health-focused online community of like-minded individuals, which she’s calling “Empowered Health.” She’s working on building out the group’s Facebook page now and is excited to cultivate Empowered Health into a vibrant community. You can join Empowered Health here. She also plans to build out a Health Coaching practice and serve both individuals and groups. “I’m not quite sure what form that will take yet,” she admits, “but I am investing the time and trusting that the path will appear.”
We asked Andrea what advice she had for those considering Health Coaching and enrolling in FMCA—and we weren’t surprised by her answer: “Listen to your heart.” Whether this next step is a no-brainer that makes perfect sense as part of your career trajectory, or whether it’s a total departure from the direction you’ve been going, lean into it. Explore, learn about the program, reach out to those who can help you, and figure out if what you’ll get out of this program is what you want. She’s confident that the heart always lets you know if you’re making the right decision.
And as for current FMCA students, who might be getting back into the groove of being a student again, managing their schedule, and getting their work done? “Hang in there! The fascinating and exciting materials have a natural way of weaving themselves into your life.”