I'm glad you asked. It really is a thing. I promise.
It used to be that the term "Health Coach" or "Nutritionist" was sort of ambiguous. There weren't really any prerequisites for these designations. As long as you had a passion for health and the guts to put yourself out there, the world was your oyster. And for awhile, this was ok. But as the number of people in this line of work increased and the body of knowledge around health-related science continued to grow and diverge, the credibility of the industry began to wane.
The issue was compounded by online courses. There are hundreds of options available for people who are interested in stepping into this field - each with their own flare. Enter: The International Consortium of Health and Wellness Coaches (ICHWC). The ICHWC has standardized the criteria for Health and Wellness Coaching courses, and, maybe more importantly, they have created a certifying exam (which covers things like coaching structure & process, ethics, legal, and, of course, health and wellness).
After sifting through a LOT of options, I chose the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute. I liked the "show me the science" approach that Dr. Sears has always brought to his books. I also appreciated that there were three different programs of study focused on three different stages of life - Pregnancy & Postpartum, Families, and Adults & Seniors. Each of these demographics represents a very specific set of circumstances and I wanted to be equipped to provide the best support to the largest number of people. After completing all three courses, I took the Advanced Coaching Course. This class was less about health and wellness and more about the psychology of coaching. We spent lots of time digging into the theories of Motivational Interviewing and Appreciative Inquiry and even more time role-playing and practicing these techniques. Who knew that there was a science to asking better questions??!
Let me know what you think! What experiences have you had with Nutritionists and Health Coaches? Were they good or not-so-great? Have you ever be curious about working with someone in this industry? Email me and tell me about it!
But what does a Health and wellness coach really do?