A few years ago, I was fumbling around in my day job, doing great work, helping people (as much as I could), and making fantastic money.
But I was miserable – I was on the wrong end of healthcare, I wasn’t passionate about my work, and I felt like I was drowning in my day-to-day life. I was helping people rehabilitate after a medical crisis, or help their families cope with the realities of an aging family member. While it might seem like good, solid work, I didn’t feel like I was really helping – at least not in the way I was meant to. I saw that so many of these things, the repeat visits to the hospital, these lifelong “hard times” and “aches and pains” could be prevented with the right knowledge. After a few years of working, I felt broken and I knew that the only thing that could mend me was pursuing what I loved – preventative, holistic health.
This is what led me to start Yoga Teacher training (because it was less expensive and I could train and teach while still working at my job) and eventually into the field of food and nutrition via Health Coaching. I knew I didn’t want to be a dietician – I had worked with many in the healthcare setting, and that was still not my jazz. I was a foodie at heart and wanted to learn more about organic food, holistic nutrition, and the food-mind-body connection, not just how many calories or carbs were needed for a patient that day. I wanted quality nutrition for a quality life.
This is where Health Coaching came in, more specifically, Integrative Health Coaching. I trained for a year in nutrition basics, lifestyle habits, and the plethora of diets that are available (and should mostly be avoided!). I learned that nutrition was more than the quality and make up of what we eat, and how to address the entire picture of a healthy lifestyle, including the stuff that feeds your soul and nourishes your life, and how it looks different for each person. Like an Integrative Physician focuses on the bigger picture of lifestyle and medicine, and Integrative Health Coach does the same.
If you ever check your Facebook feed, or hit up a yoga class or the gym, you are bound to find a coach of some kind. There are health coaches who focus on fitness and nutrition via supplements, shakes, and workout programs; there are life coaches who help you figure out where you can realign your lifestyle to meet your goals, and there are career and business coaches who can help you figure out how to get your dream job or build your dream business. And of course, there are Integrative Health Coaches, who have studied and trained with the best in the biz to look at nutrition, fitness, and all the other factors of your individual healthy lifestyle.
While all of these coaches come from different background, different levels of training, and focus on different things, they all have one thing in common: they are there to coach you to the next level in your life/health/career/fitness.
What exactly does a “coach” do?
1) A coach coaches you, of course.
A coach doesn’t tell you what to do or force you to live their lifestyle. A coach coaches you to meet your need, whatever they may be. If you are seeing a business coach, they’d be coaching you towards your business and career goals, as they fit into your lifestyle needs. If you are seeing a Health Coach, they are coaching you through your health goals, while setting up your individual healthy lifestyle. Think of your coach as a guide that helps you figure out what you already know, you just forgot you knew it.
2) A coach gives options, not “shoulds”
A coach, of any kind, will give you recommendations or advice, but will never tell you what you “should” do, even if they think it would be 100% beneficial. If your thinking, “well that doesn’t make sense”, think about this: When was the last time you actually did the thing someone pushed you to do? Your doctor told you to go on a diet, your Mom told you to clean your house more, your best friend told you to ditch your boyfriend. While all of these things may have been true and needed, you probably did the opposite, simply because you felt forced to do them. A coach doesn’t force you, they simple encourage you with some helpful advice. You get to decide what to do with it.
3) A coach listens more than they talk.
1) Coaching Type:
If you are looking for career advice, a fitness coach might not make sense. Look for a coach that addresses and works with your specific needs. If they don’t, ask them if they know someone who does.
2) Education and Training:
Some coaches coach from experience and some go through certification processes of a week, a month, a year, or more. Not all programs and coaches are equal. Decide what it important to you and do your research, so you know your coach is educated and trained to help fit your needs.
Some coaches offer one-time sessions, others have one-on-one coaching packages, and others offer exclusively through online groups. Decide what fits your budget and needs, and find a coach that fits your needs.
Now that you know what they are for and what to look for, have fun finding your next coach. If you are ready to try out a coach, join me for the upcoming From Dreamer to Doer Workshop this Monday, July 27th at 7:30pm. You’ll get some health and life advice, as well as a sneak peek at what a coaching program looks like. It’s free and will be recorded, so there is nothing to lose even if you can’t attend the live session. Sign up to reserve your spot and your recording.
If you are ready to become one yourself, The Institute for Integrative Nutrition (where I trained) is now enrolling for it’s September session. If you sign up this week, they have some pretty amazing offers. You can check out more here.
Now its your turn, what is your biggest concern when hiring a coach? And if you have hired one, what was your biggest takeaway?