Integrative Nutrition Blog

How to Overcome 5 Common Health Coach Challenges

March 30, 2017

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At the Institute for Integrative Nutrition we offer a comprehensive and well-rounded education that includes everything from evidence-based nutrition theory, to non-dietary forms of self-care, all the way through guidance on how to actually begin health coaching clients and marketing your business if you choose to pursue health coaching professionally.

Along the way there are also many opportunities to explore bio-individuality, make lasting connections with fellow students, and experience powerful transformation. 

But as with all great endeavors, challenges naturally arise.

Here are the 5 most common challenges of Health Coaches, and how to overcome them.

  1. Feeling that you “don’t know enough”
    This is a common challenge among new Health Coaches, often causing a lack of confidence and slow progress. But any alumni who’s practiced what they learned at IIN for at least 6 months can tell you that overcoming this challenge takes time, practice with real clients, staying open to learning, and trusting yourself. You know more than you think you do, or at least more than the person in need of coaching. And besides, you can always say “I’ll get back to you about that” when you’re not sure about something.

  2. Finding a unique niche
    Your niche is the specific area of wellness that you focus on, or a particular audience that you cater to. For example, you could focus on women with autoimmune disease, corporate executives who are stressed out, parents who want to inspire healthier options in their kids, etc. Some Health Coaches know exactly what they want to focus on, while others don’t. Oftentimes you and your unique experience make the perfect starting point in addressing this challenge. What have you experienced and learned? What have you overcome? Who are you most passionate about helping? Who seems to be most drawn to you? With time the answers will reveal themselves. 

  3. Getting clients
    Most of the time when Health Coaches struggle with getting clients it is through a lack of clear communication. That’s why our curriculum provides detailed outlines for sharing what you do in genuine ways that are also strategic. Having things like a unique niche in wellness, an elevator pitch, a good web presence, and a little creativity can go a long way. The most successful Health Coaches also offer introductory workshops, attend networking events, or align their coaching practice with complimentary offerings such as teaching or writing. Finally, ensuring that existing clients have the best possible experience is crucial. Even if you have just one client, treat that person with exceptional care and they’ll rave about you for a long time to everyone they meet!

  4. Making enough money
    This can have many variables, but the first step is recognizing the real root of the problem. Is it that you’re not charging enough? Don't have enough clients? Aren’t being consistent with your marketing? Not upholding high quality in your work, resulting in less-than-satisfied clients? Once you figure out what the real issue is, then you can begin to address it. While you do, it may help to seek opportunities in the realm of wellness that are aligned with health coaching, in fact this is a very common way that new Health Coaches balance their income when starting out. Maybe you work at a healthy café a few days a week, try to book corporate wellness events in addition to one-on-one coaching, or launch an online program for passive income. As you build up your practice you’ll get to a more secure place, or you might just create unique new avenues of interest for yourself.

  5. Having tech skills
    We may live in a digital world, but health coaching happens through real, human communication. It’s ok if you’re not tech savvy, just take it one step at a time. We make this really clear and simple for students in our curriculum. The most important thing is to avoid getting overwhelmed by thinking you need to set up everything all at once, because you don’t! Starting with something as simple as a basic wellness blog is great, or even just a simple web page that says who you are is also just fine. Ask for help when you need it, Google things, and gradually set up what is really needed.

So what do you think, sounds doable?

Learn more about what health coaching is all about, get our curriculum guide or join an info session.

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