Five simple steps to help you get your short list of colleges.
Feeling a bit overwhelmed with the choices of health coaching courses? There are dozens out there, some may sound amazing, but which one will ensure you can be a recognised, insured and confident coach who can change lives? We've got five simple tips to help you get your short list of colleges so you can choose the right course for you, can join the wellness community as a credible, respected and effective coach.
Colleges should have some form of approval for them as a college and for the course you are considering. For example, here in Australia and NZ a minimum standard is recognition through the International Institute of Complementary Therapies (IICT), who are in fact across 26 countries. If you opt for a course that has no recognition of them as a college or of their program you essentially have no way of telling what standard the content is, nor the qualifications of the academic staff, or the long-term security of the college and your qualification, or if you will be able to gain insurance to cover you to practice as a health coach.
This is one of the fastest ways to get your list down to just a few reputable courses that will actually prepare you to do you are spending your money and valuable time on. Rule out all of those 'health coaching courses' that have absolutely no coach training, and don't align with coaching competencies from organisations such as the International Coach Federation (ICF) in the US. If they don't offer you supervised coaching from qualified coaches they're not delivering and are unlikely to meet standards that are beginning to roll out (more on this shortly).
If you are going to coach clients to help them change their lives it is absolutely essential to select a course that offers you training in both the theory of coaching and actual practical supervised coaching. It would be akin to training to be a counsellor without ever being taught how to conduct a counselling session.
We recommend focusing on coaching courses that build your coaching prowess carefully and thoroughly through knowledge and experiential learning. Many short, low-cost courses deliver on the health knowledge but can be totally lacking in the delivery of any kind of coach training. Consider... how you will know how to conduct a session? What tools and techniques will you use to guide and partner with clients? How confident will you be sitting in front of client with nothing more than some notes on nutrition? Knowledge is not enough to be able to confidently and safely work with clients seeking a wellness destination.
You'll likely have seen lots of advertising by colleges stating how the world needs more coaches right now and how much growth the industry is experiencing. All true, but until recently any one could call themselves a 'health coach'. Thankfully more and more countries are beginning to role out industry standards to help the public make informed choices around choosing a health or wellness coach, which is why it matters so much where you train.
In Australia and NZ in order for a course to gain approval and insurance for its graduates the minimum has recently been determined by IICT as 150 hours of total training, which must include supervised and unsupervised coach training. In order to have a valid, trustworthy, credible coaching industry training standards will protect you the health coach and the public. People currently coaching with 'qualifications' that fall short of this standard may potentially be required to undertake further training in the future.
If you've been keeping an eye out on health coaching courses you’ll see new ones pop up every day with all manner of claims around what you can call yourself and do, some even suggesting that with a few hours of study you can be a nutrition advisor (a complete absence of any mention of who would insure you).
The old saying rings true, ‘pay peanuts, get monkeys’. You can find some very cheap 'health coaching' courses out there but most lack any training that will enable you to confidently know how to coach a real person sitting in front of you and trust that you are doing good and not harm. Humans can be frail and fraught with all manner of concerns, invest in quality training for your sake and the sake of others. In respect of, and passion for, well beings we should all want to bring our best when helping others.
Health coaching means you will need to coach and mentor clients around their wellbeing, that is mind, body, spirit; a whole lot more than just how to eat healthy. Today, even nutrition coaching is about far more than just what we eat. It involves understanding how clients relate to food, how they see their nourishment of their whole body and being. For example, at Well College our Women's Health Coaching Program includes training on the non-diet approach because a healthy and positive approach to our bodies and food is essential to women's health and wellness.
You’ll see ‘health coaching’ courses out there with nothing more than a few nutrition subjects, some are created by a person who has training in only one area of health, and none in coaching, health coaching, or wellness coaching. All good colleges will provide you with a free, no obligation, no pester, sample course, that genuinely (not just as a marketing ploy) enables you to see if the college is the best fit for you.
Look for courses that match the promise. If you are going to be a ‘certified nutrition and health coach’ be sure that you are provided with training in nutrition, health, wellness and coaching. And, part of your credibility is having training that enables you to have a clear understanding of your scope of practice as a health coach. Health coaches do not (unless they hold a relevant qualification) diagnose, they don't prescribe (and that includes of diets), nor do they treat. Any 'health coaching' course that suggests that you can do any of this should be considered carefully.
MAKE THE BEST HEALTH & WELLNESS CAREER CHOICE FOR YOU AND YOUR FUTURE CLIENTS
Once you have narrowed your list down, ensure that your choice:
1. Is approved for the college and the course by a recognised authority
2. Includes actual supervised coach training
3. Has a minimum of 150+ hours of training
4. Will deliver you training that you and the public can trust
5. Covers all the areas that are required in order to do and be what you say you are and with
confidence and credibility
WANT TO CHECK OUT A CATCH-FREE, PESTER-FREE SAMPLE COURSE?
Part of our success as a college is that all students who study with us actually feel confident they've made the right choice from the get go because they can sample their training before committing. We offer truly free, no catches, no badgering sampler courses in Human Nutrition, Psychology & Wellness, or Meal & Menu Planning, so you can gain a real feel for what sort of training you will get and we feel it sets the standard for all other colleges that you might compare us with.
And, we have just launched a completely free Personal Wellness Coaching Program that you can use for your own wellbeing, whether you want to pay to become a health coach, or just want to find authentic, trustworthy tools to support your wellbeing, we have you covered. We are 100% committed to community wellbeing, we believe together we can all create a Well World full of Well Beings.
Leanne Cooper is the Founder and Director of Well College Global. Registered nutritionist and mother of two. Mindset and Clarity Coach, Mentor, Author, and Educator.
Bev Whyfon; Bev's Healthy Food