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Health Coaching: A Healthy Partnership

It's important to have a support system in all aspects of your life, and it's especially helpful to have a coach when conquering fitness goals. Be sure your coach has all of the proper credentials to help you achieve your ideal health. 

We are given one body this lifetime, and to put the longevity and wellness of it in the hands of an individual who is not properly trained can be scary. Further, there is no real regulatory body overseeing the coaching industry. Yes, we have the International Coaching Federation and the International Association of Coaches that most certified coaches register themselves through, but I know that having a niche such as health coaching means there doesn’t seem to be any real criteria around how to discern a true health coach and one who went through a weekend crash course certification. Let’s take a few minutes to at least give you a few guidelines to look for when considering partnering with a health coach.

To truly be a health coach, the individuals needs to have a certain amount of background pertaining to health and physical wellness. Supporting an individual to achieve better overall health requires a solid understanding of nutrition, physical anatomical working (anatomy), and physiology. It is strongly recommended to ask for credentials when hiring a health coach, and a few of these credentials might include the following.

  1. CPR/First Aid Training: Yes, you want to know that if you are doing any type of exercise with them, they can help you in case of an emergency.
  2. Personal Training Certification: Learning they’ve gone through a certification process that designates them as a registered personal trainer gives you a sense of confidence that when they are helping you put together a plan for exercise, they actually know what they are talking about. Even if their certification expired years ago, they will still retain the information be able to apply it.
  3. Nutritional Experience: What type of experience does the individual have with regard to diet, fuel plans, supplements, calories, etc.?
  4. Certified Professional Coach: Do they have certification that is registered through one of the two agencies listed above? Where did they receive their coach training? Get the goods on how they became a coach.
  5. Testimonials: Can they provide you with references from past clients so you can speak to the client directly and ask questions of their experience and success rates, etc.?
  6. Other Certifications: These might include other certifications or designations such as registered nurse, medical licensing, etc.

The approach to supporting individuals during times of change and transition is being embraced by the medical industry as well; these niche coaches are RN Health Coaches. Doing a quick search online with the key phrase “RN Health Coach” provides numerous links. A typical description of an RN Health Coach’s position sounds something like this:

“…provide telephonic support to members through health education, decision support, clinical assessment, and utilization management. The goal is to assist consumers in taking control of their health care by making informed and effective health care decisions, thereby managing their health care costs …”

As an individual who has identified a personal goal (being that to improve your health), partnering with an RN Health Coach may not be what you are in need of. But if you are facing a serious health crisis, then this may be the road for a more successful outcome and investment of your time and finances.

It is important to remember health coaches will never guarantee you will achieve the required or desired level of health by partnering with them, but they will be able to support you through a period of time to stay on track. One of the key benefits behind working with a health coach is she will be your cheerleader to keep you on track as well as brainstorm strategies and actions with you so can potentially meet your health goals. It is this follow through approach that will empower you to get even healthier, which is one of the most important steps in achieving vibrant health. 

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