A coach is “one who instructs or trains.” They teach and guide a group or an individual to uplevel the aspect of the trainee’s life being addressed. Health coaches apply this practice as a teacher and guide related to health and wellness. The profession is currently very broad; different coaches will have different areas of expertise.
A health coach is a supportive mentor and wellness authority helping clients feel their best through food & lifestyle changes by tailoring individualized wellness programs to meet their clients’ needs.
~Institute for Integrative Nutrition
Currently, in most states this is not a regulated profession. In other words, there is not a licensing body ensuring certain credentials. There are a handful of certification agencies. Liz Smith is certified through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition which provides students a comprehensive one-year certification process. Their focus is not on one way of teaching, or one way of eating, rather, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition teaches a wide variety of different theories taught through lectures by different experts.
You want to make sure that your coach is a good fit for you. This may have to do with the area of expertise and life experience that your coach has, but even more so, you must be compatible with your coach. This is why Liz Smith, and most other coaches offer a free initial session. It is an important time for both coach and trainee to determine if they will be a good fit.
Doctors are not trained in diet and exercise. Our medical practice in the United States focuses on fixing problems with medication or interventions such as surgery. This is great for certain things, but it is a system designed to fix problems rather than create wellness, and practitioners often are not looking for the cause of the problem. Furthermore, doctors do not have time to work with their patients to help guide them in building healthy habits–whether eating well, starting a movement plan, or finding a satisfying career. Health coaches can spend the time with individuals to truly effect change. More and more doctors are adding health coaches as part of their practices for this reason.
Why not learn through books and videos rather than a coach? Books and videos provide important information. If you can learn and act on the information independently, then you may not benefit from a coach. However, if you feel like you know what to do to be healthy but are not doing it, a health coach can help turn that around by providing accountability, as well as working with you to figure out why you are not following through with the healthy habits you want to adopt, and then to develop a plan to act on them.
If you are still unsure whether health coaching is something you want to try, schedule an initial meeting with Liz, or with another health coach. What do you have to lose?
- Merriam-Webster Dictionary online, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/coach.