As the demand for health coaches continues to expand in the market, more and more health coach trainings are becoming available to meet the need. If you do a search online under health coach trainings, you’ll find both virtual programs and brick and mortar schools that promise to prepare you to help people improve and transform their health.
With the cost of investment and the desire to get the best possible training available, you’ll certainly want to do your homework to consider all of your options. You might have a list of things in mind that are important to you in a program – and for sure that’s a good place to start. But while you’re checking off that list you may want to consider some potential pitfalls in the various offerings.
Here are 5 things to avoid in a Health Coach Training:
1. Avoid programs that promise you’ll be a skilled health coach in a short amount of time with limited hours of training.
Learning the basics of health coaching is one thing. But becoming an adept and highly skilled coach is another.
Be wary of any program that promises to turn you into a skilled coach in a few months with limited hours of training. There are some important areas of study that need to be covered before you can call yourself a health coach and this takes time. The basics of nutrition science can take several months alone to digest and understand.
The best programs are at least 6 months long and go beyond nutrition. Health Coaches need to cover a host of pertinent topics, including the psychology of motivation and how best to structure a coaching approach based on how a client presents their needs.
Some clients will be ready to adopt new eating and exercise habits while others will say they want to change, but cannot. It’s important to understand how to read your client’s readiness to change. The best trainings will devote time to covering coaching topics such as this – and this requires time and focus.
2. Avoid programs that do not teach you business development.
You may possess the greatest skills as a coach but if you lack business skills it may be difficult to get your coaching business off the ground.
You may be someone attempting to change careers. Or you may be someone who has always worked for others. Running your own business is a skill unto itself and requires its own education. For this reason, be skeptical of any health coach training that does not cover business development.
Reputable health coach trainings will devote time to covering the most important aspects of setting up a business – from how to incorporate yourself, to business ethics to marketing.
How to most effectively use social media to market yourself is a must for any business these days, including feeling comfortable with platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Look for health coach trainings that cover social media, specifically.
Using social media is not required to be a successful health coach, but it makes it easier to get the word out about your business and bring in clients. All you need is a computer and you can attract clients from all around the world. Imagine sitting in your office in Seattle and coaching a client in London! Social media marketing and technologies such as FaceTime or Skype make this possible.
3. Avoid programs that don’t teach actual coaching skills.
Coaching is a skill and – and some may argue – an art as well. Building that skill takes time and practice. It goes without saying that any program that does not teach actual coaching skills should be avoided.
Look for programs that devote blocks of time to coaching skills alone. You’ll also want to practice one-on-one with your peers. And it helps to be able to ask questions of experienced coaches or teachers to get feedback about the places where you feel uncertain or stuck.
When you’re new to coaching it may feel awkward to practice. You may lack confidence and feel funny putting yourself out there. But the single best way to get better as a coach is to coach – and to do so with solid skills that you’ve learned.
4. Avoid programs that say they will train you in a large number of modalities.
Be careful with programs that promise you the moon! It’s impossible to cover every area pertinent to health.
Some programs will tell you that they cover everything from herbs to homeopathy to energy medicine on top of nutrition, psychology and a hundred different diets and more! Be careful of any program that makes promises that are impossibly big. Learning a little bit about a lot of things does not make for a skilled health coach.
Instead, look for a program that provides a focused point of view on health and gives you the tools help clients be the best they can be. Such programs will include opportunities to interact live with teachers to ask questions and learn the material on a deeper level. Going deep into the material is the best way to emerge as a skilled coach.
5. Avoid programs that do not have enthusiastic graduates who speak highly of their educational experience.
One way to determine the success of any health coach training is to take a look at its graduates. A reputable training will devote lots of time and space on the website to graduate testimonials. Happy and fulfilled graduates equal a program worth considering!
Approach any program that does not have satisfied graduates with a healthy dose of skepticism. You’ll want to be able to hear and see the “product” of any training. What are the graduates doing now? What did they like best about the training? Why did they choose it in the first place?
The best trainings will provide videos and/or written testimonials. In addition, most reputable programs will offer a directory of graduates on their websites. This will give you an opportunity to do further research on particular graduates with common areas of interest. It’s also helpful to check into the websites of various graduates as examples of how to set up an online business.
Here at the Institute for the Psychology of Eating we work hard to provide a training that sets our Certified Eating Psychology Coaches up for success. Not only do we focus on the building blocks of nutrition, lifestyle, and eating psychology, but we devote time, energy and attention to helping coaches develop amazing and transformational coaching skills. Our coaches get results. They are out in the world making a difference – improving health – one person at a time!
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