What Does a Health Coach Do?

October 3, 2018

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If you’ve been exploring the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, you may be asking yourself, “What does a Health Coach actually do?” Well, with an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach certificate, the opportunities are endless!

Before we dive in, let’s start with the basics – what exactly IS a Health Coach?

A Health Coach is a supportive mentor and wellness authority who helps others feel their best through individualized food and lifestyle changes that meet their unique needs and health goals. Often times, Health Coaches provide their services in private coaching practices with one-on-one and group coaching program.

Health coaching isn’t about one diet or one way of living. Instead, Integrative Nutrition Health Coaches focus on bio-individuality – the idea that we’re all different and have unique dietary, lifestyle, emotional, and physical needs. This means that we don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach to health and wellness. Instead, health Coaches work with clients to help them discover how to fuel their bodies and become the healthiest, happiest versions of themselves through a holistic approach.

Health Coaches also emphasize holistic health beyond the plate as they approach wellness through primary food. At the core of the Integrative Nutrition curriculum is the idea that there are areas of your life that impact your long-term health just as much as the food you eat – your relationships, career, spirituality, and physical activity.

In general, Health Coaches use the concepts of bio-individuality and primary food, along with over 100 dietary theories explored during the Health Coach Training Program, to take a proactive and holistic approach to health.

Now, how does a typical health coaching program work? Let’s imagine you’re a Health Coach and you’ve gotten in touch with someone who is seeking guidance and support in the area of personal wellness. They love what you have to say and want to work with you as a client. Great!

Here’s how the coach/client relationship works from this point:
1. Finalize all the details regarding your agreement, including:

  • Specific areas of your client’s health that you are going to focus on (such as reducing cravings, transitioning to a gluten-free diet, or losing weight).
  • Agreeing upon payment, and the means by which payment will be made (you might use PayPal or accept checks in the mail).
  • Best days of the week or times of day when you’ll schedule your sessions over the next 6 months.

2. Once you’re clear on these details, you can begin to organize a wellness plan for each client. Don’t worry, IIN will help you understand this better while you’re a student! You could write down the recommendations that you’re going to make and the sequence in which you’ll share them, perhaps including additional resources for recipes or worksheets you have. You don’t have to plan out the entire 6 months since health coaching is an organic process, but laying out a foundation to get started will help you feel and appear more professional.

3. Speak with your client in person, on the phone or Skype approximately every two weeks, per the schedule you will have already agreed upon.

4. Sessions follow a basic structure, starting with what’s “new and good” in your client’s life, followed by any challenges they’re having in the realm of wellness. You respond accordingly, with thoughtful listening, appropriate questions, and custom guidance. Sessions should last approximately 45 minutes and end with 1-3 specific recommendations for your client to follow.

5. In between sessions, encourage your client to implement the suggestions given. You will choose your policy for handling questions or concerns that may come up between sessions. You could choose to send them additional resources or quick check-in’s to stay in touch along the way. Or offer unlimited email and text message support. Up to you!

6. Repeat the calls every other week for 6 months, gradually adjusting goals and benchmarks as you go along based on the needs of the client, always keeping their original wellness goals in mind to ensure that you stay on track and can show them just how far they’ve come!

As a Health Coach, you continue to work with more clients, learning something new from every person you work with and beginning to adjust your unique coaching style, process, and services as you gain experience. The above is our tried and true framework that’s worked for thousands of coaches and is a great way to get started.

Integrative Nutrition Health Coaches are revolutionizing the healthcare system through the power of nutrition, primary food, active listening, high-mileage questions, goal setting, and other techniques unique to health coaching. While the average visit to the doctor only lasts eight minutes, the average health coaching session is 50 minutes twice a month – an in-depth conversation between Health Coaches and their clients. It’s evident that Health Coaches are filling a vital gap between patients and doctors.

With more doctors and medical practitioners recognizing the value of nutrition, movement, and other lifestyle factors in overall health, more and more have begun to employ Health Coaches as part of their long-term patient care strategy. Integrating Health Coaches into traditional medical care as accessible contacts for patients implementing a healthier lifestyle has created a firm foundation for a better vision of healthcare.

Health coaching is more than just a niche in healthcare; it’s a powerful movement for change that is creating a better world.

Interested in pursuing a career as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach? Click here to learn more about the health coaching program today!

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