This article is a guest post by IIN
Maybe you’ve made some discoveries and changes in your personal health that has everyone asking, “What in the world have you been doing?”
Maybe you’ve contemplated doing a complete career 180° that has you toying with the idea of working in holistic health.
Or maybe you’re already a wellness practitioner and want to incorporate additional or related modalities into your current work that ties everything together.
As a graduate of the Health Coach Training Program and a member of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) team, I have experienced both firsthand and through our students an evolution of sorts in our incentives for pursuing health coaching. When first beginning, students place themselves into one of the above categories, which quickly becomes a summary statement of the allure they saw in the wellness space.
Ask students again at the end of their training (or alumni who are well-immersed in the field), and they’ll probably have a different perspective on the benefits of a health coaching education that goes beyond the framed proof of expertise that hangs on their wall.
Here are four overlooked benefits of a health coaching education that contribute to the long-term success of our students and graduates:
It might seem counterintuitive at first – because IIN’s program is 100% online – that community would be an advantage of the program…but it’s probably one we hear the most. Personally, it’s one of my favorite parts of the training.
When you enroll, you’re given access to a private Facebook group for you and your cohort to connect with one another during the course. Staff moderators connect students by geographical region to allow for in-person meetups. Not surprisingly, students are able to create study groups, seek out accountability partners, collaborate on ideas, form business partnerships, and cultivate long-lasting friendships.
Upon completion of the program, graduates gain access to an Alumni Facebook group, where they get updates on professional opportunities for Health Coaches, continuing education options, live events and meetups, and advancements in the wellness industry.
2. Versatile Application
“Health” is such a nebulous concept as there are so many components within it (physical, mental, emotional, etc.) and so many factors that impact it (food, water, sleep, physical activity, self-care, work-life balance, quality of relationships, etc.). Because of this, the potential for what a Health Coach can do is just as infinite.
Think about that for a moment: What you can do as a Health Coach is infinite.
IIN’s curriculum explores over 100 dietary theories along with lifestyle elements of well-being to provide a strong understanding of how varying nutritional modalities and lifestyle shifts can positively affect health. While this holistic approach facilitates customizing recommendations to clients’ unique needs, it also allows students to discover specific areas of interest within nutrition and wellness and identify their niche market.
More importantly, the inclusion of coaching skills along with business and marketing training encourages students to reflect on their individual strengths and experiment with different strategies to shape their careers in a distinct way.
If you have healed yourself from an autoimmune condition and enjoy working with people one-on-one, you may consider private consultations centering on autoimmune health. If you love innovating in the kitchen, you could consider hosting cooking workshops or launching a health food product.
If your strengths lie in activism and grassroots change, you might consider going into school food policy or community wellness programs. Find the intersection of your talent, passion, and vision, and use that to map out the possibilities for using your health coaching training.
3. Opportunity Launchpad
Health coaching is no longer a “foreign” concept – the global wellness industry crossed the $4.2 trillion mark in 2017, and this is a testament to the rising need for Health Coaches. The profession has evolved from one dominated by private practice to one actively sought out by medical practices, insurance companies, corporations, schools, gyms, yoga studios, restaurants, and spas.
That being said, health coaching may not be as prevalent, depending on where you are in the world. Even if it is prevalent, you might not see that dream position encompassing everything you envision doing as a Health Coach.
And that’s okay because here’s where a simple, yet powerful concept I learned at IIN can help you create your ideal job opportunity: get clear on your message.
It sounds like a no-brainer, but if you don’t know how you want to help others, what you enjoy doing, and what your intended impact is, how can companies you want to work with know what it’ll look like? Devoting ample time to introspective exercises included in the IIN curriculum is an extremely valuable step.
Visualizing techniques, listing your skills and strengths, writing and rewriting your story, condensing that message into three sentences, and crafting your mission statement are some of the many action steps you’ll be guided through to gain clarity and communicate who you are and what you’re all about with confidence. These resources are covered in the Health Coach Training Program at IIN and are prioritized from the start to set students up for success.
4. Personal Gains
One of the themes of IIN’s Health Coach Training Program is bio-individuality, which captures each individual’s unique needs in terms of what feeds their body, mind, and soul. To make sense of that and address personal health goals, students are encouraged to experiment with different nutritional modalities to see what foods and lifestyle shifts allow them to thrive.
When I started at IIN, improving my own health was an advantage I hadn’t actively been thinking about; it was only through the conscious application of different nutritional approaches and wellness practices that I realized how much space there was for an improvement in my health. From dropping 10 pounds to improving my skin, energy, and ability to manage stress, I came away with a deeper understanding of my own body through the program’s structure than I had through years of reading nutrition studies.
While I have figured out what works for me, things like age, environment, and life circumstances can change what we need to optimize our well-being; what’s working now may not hold true a few years from now. Realizing this, I find myself going back to the Reference Library for myself just as much as I do for my clients.
Aside from the potential for personal health discoveries, examining your own health and well-being while studying gives rise to two other advantages to help you hone your health coaching skills: leading by example and cultivating empathy.
Step-by-step application of what you learn demonstrates that you can “walk your talk,” as we at IIN like to say. Clients and others around you can see the impact nutrition and wellness have on overall health and can use that as inspiration to achieve their own breakthroughs. When you’re taking steps toward your own health, you’re basically coaching yourself. You’re playing the role of the client and understanding what it’s like to face challenges and make progress toward your goals. This builds your ability to meet your clients where they are, guide them on a transformative path, and empower them in taking full control of their health and potential.
How to Become a Health Coach
IIN offers an online Health Coach Training Program consisting of 40 modules of holistic nutrition and lifestyle elements of health and well-being, coaching skills, and business and marketing education, taught by leaders like Dr. Andrew Weil, Dr. Deepak Chopra, Marion Nestle, Gabrielle Bernstein, and Dr. Mark Hyman. Students can choose from the standard yearlong track or an accelerated six-month track.
Halfway through the training, students receive a Mid-Certificate badge, acknowledging their ability to start working with clients. Upon successful completion of the course and graduation requirements, students receive an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach certificate. Learn more about IIN.
Stay tuned for Part II of our series, showcasing behaviors of our most successful Health Coaches!
Health Coaching Certification FAQ
How much time is needed to complete the certification program?
Since the courses at the IIN Learning Center are so flexible, you can access the modules anytime you need to. So, you can learn at your own pace, take a break when you need to, and then catch up when you have the time. The courses can be accessed easily from a smartphone, tablet, or desktop through the learning platform.
What can you do with a health coaching certificate?
A health coaching certificate is beneficial for several reasons as you pursue a professional path as a health coach. With this certification, you can be involved in private coaching, group coaching, or wellness workshops, work at wellness centers or doctor’s offices, participate in online programs, and get more involved in education and reform initiatives.
You can also use your certification to help open a healthy restaurant or café, participate in product development, and become a blogger. If you have an existing career in the field, you can use your health coaching certification to elevate your current career.
What does a holistic health coach do?
The Institute for Integrative Nutrition is one of the world’s largest health coaching programs available. They train health coaches for many areas of life, primarily when it comes to diet and eating habits. Holistic health coaches look at the bigger picture outside of just the food. So, they are trained to help their clients with other issues they may have, including their time management skills, anxiety, and stress.
What do you get when you choose continuing education as a health coach?
One of the biggest advantages of a health coach certification is getting real-world business training. Integrative Nutrition, for example, will teach you how to successfully launch your own health coaching practice. They will educate you on the materials you will need from a website to email templates and business cards and show you how you can even start earning an income while you are still in school.
What else do you get with the health coach training program?
In addition to valuable information regarding nutrition, lifestyle, long-term health, and coaching, you will also gain valuable information pertaining to the business and marketing aspects of this career.
Do you have to have this kind of certification or another degree to become a health coach?
You will find that there are many who hold an associate’s degree or master’s degree in the health and wellness industry and the integrative health and wellness industry. Many professionals in the wellness coaching and health management sectors will look for these degrees, a graduate certificate and coaching certification when considering you for employment in lifestyle medicine. Taking the certification exam can make a significant difference in the success of your coaching business.
Do you really need certification for health and wellness coaching?
No. You don’t have to have any kind of certification to become a wellness coach. But again, as mentioned above, many people look for degrees and a wellness coaching certificate in the field of health and well-being. As a certified health coach, you will gain accreditation and credibility in the field of wellness and in the eyes of the health and wellness industry.
Wellness coach education and a coaching program are also imperative for building your skills and taking them to the next level. It allows you to become a much more self-sufficient wellness coach. This is because most wellness coach programs extend beyond traditional coursework online. They also teach you how to get to know and understand your clients and their needs.
With a coach certification, you will also have access to more employment opportunities whether you are looking to start your own wellness business, or you want to be employed in the field as a wellness coach.
How do you acquire a coach certification?
To acquire a coach certification, you need to participate in an approved coach training program. The coaching program offered by IIN allows you to explore more than 100 dietary theories. This means you can gain an education that can help transform your life, lead you to a healthy lifestyle, and launch you into a fulfilling career as an integrative health coach.