Health Coach Feature: A Conversation with CIP Grad, Nancy Weiser
The Coaching Intensive Practicum has become one of IIN’s most sought-after advanced courses. Since December’s class sold out in just three weeks, we decided to sit down with alum Nancy Weiser, MBA, NBC-HWC, to learn more about her experience in the course and see what she’s been up to in the health coaching space.
Q: Can you briefly share what led you to IIN and what you’ve been working on in the health coaching space?
A: I learned about IIN in a graduate’s New York Times wedding announcement in the fall of 2004. I called the school and skeptically asked, “What are you training your students to do?” The admissions representative said, “Well, it’s nutrition, but there’s also a life coach element.” I responded that I already do that – in conversations I have every day. She said, “Then this will allow you to solidify what you do, gain a credential to do it, and be paid for it.” So, it was a fit!
Q: What inspired you to pursue the Coaching Intensive Practicum and what was the most valuable lesson learned?
A: I wanted to deepen my coaching skills and have the letters after my name that really formalize both my IIN education and the 15 years I’ve invested in myself so that clients and professionals know that I have the highest level of expertise that exists in the health coaching world.
Most valuable lesson learned? There are so many things that rocked about this course, including:
I loved being back in the IIN community – but this time it was very different because there were people with all kinds of different health coaching and other health modality experiences, including a Memorial Sloan Kettering nurse practitioner, a Health Coach mom building a referral network in the Midwest, and a registered dietitian with the department of public health. Someone else worked for a digital health app where the company required board certification. Another person had been in an intuitive healing practice for many years. I think we had two Taoist priests and one herbalist.
As a 2005 graduate of what was then called the Professional Training Program [now called the Health Coach Training Program], I was the old lady of the group; most students had completed IIN in the last five years.
I liked the soup-to-nuts framework: that nothing was assumed, starting out pre-session with a grounding session for the coach – we are assessed and tested on the exam on what it means to be present. All great to hear again and see demonstrated.
I liked putting labels on things that are intuitive. I always assess a client’s coachability in the initial consult. We learned about different models for discerning a client’s readiness for coaching, assessing their stage of change.
I really liked a tool we used in our buddy coaching called the Job Task Analysis, which essentially required us to identify, using a code, which specific skills were demonstrated during different parts of the coaching session. These were like formalized benchmarks for our work that are very clear-cut now. Each job task was a label for a different area in coaching: establishing the relationship, moving toward actions and goals, exploring and clarifying, tracking progress, and evaluating.
The demo coaching was magic – listening to my classmates and the gentle yet probing feedback from our instructor, Megan, was amazing and a big growth step.
Q: How has becoming an NBC-HWC shaped your career?
A: It’s allowed me to feel I’ve attained the highest-level certification currently available in the profession I’ve been pursuing for 15 years. I feel on par with any Health Coach from any other program, including Duke and the Mayo Clinic and all the others on the list of approved courses, of which there are several dozen.
Q: Any advice for IIN grads interested in taking the Coaching Intensive Practicum?
A: Be ready to commit to the course – to go in-depth with your coaching and allocate the time necessary to be at the twice-weekly classes and meet with your coaching partners by phone between classes. The course will finish well ahead of the exam, so you also need to leave time to study and prepare for the test.
Q: What do you love about your work?
A: There are so many facets of this work that are a perfect fit for me. In the 15 years I’ve been in practice, I have been able to help people improve their biometrics, including blood sugar, triglycerides, and cholesterol and improve how they feel in body, energy, and mood. I helped one client clear up a chronic cough she had for 15 years, for which she had endured invasive biopsies on her lungs and not gotten any relief from her conventional doctors. I’ve had clients clear up constipation, insomnia, and headaches. And many have lost weight without focusing on it.
By working with fellow Health Coaches, I have helped them build businesses and improve their own health.
Most unexpectedly, I have been featured in many media outlets, including the New York Times, MindBodyGreen, Martha Stewart Living Radio, AM1490 WGCH, FIOS 1 News, and LMCTV in Westchester County. I was a featured speaker in the documentary Bought.
In addition to health coaching, I have a volunteer role I am passionate about. I am delighted to serve as board vice chair for Sharp Again Naturally, whose mission is to educate the public and medical community about preventing and reversing multiple causes of memory loss, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Representing Sharp Again, I addressed an audience of physicians and dentists at the Collaboration Cures conference in Nashville, Tennessee, in October 2019. My talk was entitled “Health Coaches Are the Future of Healthcare.” I have also served as a member of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s Healthy Children Working Group.
What I love most about my work is that I get to know, on a very deep level, so many absolutely fascinating people. The secret of health coaching is how much we get to powerfully move our own lives forward, including feeling better and enjoying more fulfilling connections with everyone who crosses our path.
Q: What does a typical day look like for you now?
A: A typical day for me varies throughout the week. I see or speak to clients usually two days a week. I always like to start the day with two cups of filtered water in a Pyrex with a half-squeezed lemon. I will brew loose tea in a pot for my clients who are in person and may do a cooking demo with them depending on what session they are on. For my phone clients, I will email them any handouts and recipes and be ready with my headset for their calls. I leave enough time between sessions for my own meals and to be able to be fully present for each one of them. Later in the day, I’ll send any email recommendations and write up my client progress and client summary reports. I will get in a visit with my parents, who live nearby, and get a simple dinner ready and maybe get to an evening yoga class.
On days when I don’t see clients, I will spend time working out, going to yoga, and maybe lunch with a friend. Once a week, I do comprehensive food planning, shopping, unpacking, and prepping. I’ll also spend some time catching up on client reporting, including readying client folders for the client’s next session.
Q: What's your tip for balancing your family, work, and personal wellness?
A: Calendarize it! Plan everything, not just places where you have to physically show up, on your calendar. Marry your to-do list with your calendar. Write tasks you want to get done – those bite-size steps that move you to accomplishing your Big Rocks and your goals – onto the calendar. Self-care, too! Make sure that yoga class that makes your week, along with when you’ll plan your meals, shop, chop, and sauté, all go on the calendar. Set an alarm for that dry brushing and Epsom salt bath at night so that you get to bed on time. I say we all need to “yang our yin.” Brute force taking care of yourself as a priority by making an appointment with yourself the same way you would have a doctor’s appointment on the calendar. You would never show up at the doctor “sometime Friday afternoon” or “after I finish cleaning up,” right? Same for your sacred reading time, that massage, or a walk around the neighborhood with a friend.
Understanding your personal mission and what fits and what doesn’t fit under that umbrella is key. This makes setting boundaries really easy, when you know where you’re headed and what can distract you or take you off your path.
Flexibility and no self-judgment are very helpful, too. Something happens and you don’t exercise for two weeks? Just start again – your body will remember how to do it.
Q: Tell us your favorite way to wake up each day!
A: Without an alarm! Since I became an empty nester last year, this is my gift and my forgiveness to myself. I’m not a great morning person, although it remains a goal. This means, unless I have a board meeting, I don’t generally schedule clients before 9:30 –leftover from when I had to take my kids to school. Once I’m up, it’s lemon water and either clients or yoga class, depending on the day.
Looking to become board certified? The Coaching Intensive Practicum is one of the few pre-approved training programs needed to sit for the National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching certifying exam. This six-week course provides 18 hours of live support led by an experienced Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, where you’ll up your coaching game, refine your method, and gain valuable experience by practicing in front of your instructor and a few classmates!