A health coach is someone who facilitates healthy, sustainable behavior change by challenging a client to listen to their inner wisdom, identify their values, and transform their goals into action.
They help clients gain the knowledge, tools and confidence to become active participants in their health (which includes food, stress, relationships, mental health, etc) so they can reach their self-identified health goals.
How can a health coach help me?
- Health coaches take you your individual physical, emotional and lifestyle factors into account.
- We know food is not the primary source of health. No matter how much “healthy” food you are eating, if your thoughts are toxic, you will feel toxic.
- Health coaches provide a safe space to discover your own definition of health.
- We provide you with accountability to achieve your personal health and lifestyle goals.
- Health coaches can bridge the gap between doctors and patients and provide you with extra time and attention.
What does a health coach do?
As a Health-Coach, you can choose your own path and work at your convenience as an entrepreneur, as a partner to Doctors or as a consultant. Some paths you could take are:
- Intuitive Eating
- Corporate wellness
- Helping overworked and stressed out professionals
- Recipe development
- Product development
- Public speaking and workshops
- Health programs at schools
- Online Course development
- Working in a spa or yoga studio
- Writing books
IIN (where I became a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach) states that 74% of students launch a health coaching practice before they graduate from IIN (how awesome is that?!). Almost half of those students get paid $100/hour or more for their services and after graduating, that number typically doubles and continues to grow.
IIN takes an ethical approach and recognizes that health coaches are not doctors or nutritionists nor do they want you to pretend to be one. They teach you exactly what is within your scope of practice so that you can best serve your clients ethically and with the greatest impact. See the chart below for more information.
For a while, I was really serious about leaving the corporate world to become a Registered Dietitian. I had accepted that I’d go into debt (and make less money) in order to pursue a more fulfilling career path. I was very close to signing up and going for it. But, my boyfriend said something that really hit me. He asked “do you really need to become an RD to build a business?”. At first this frustrated me. I was like of course I need to be a credentialed dietitian to build a health focused business. But I let it sit with me for a couple days and realized he was totally right. I knew deep down I could 100% build a business without becoming an RD and going into $60,000 worth of debt.
However, I still felt like I wanted some sort of education so that I could really learn how to best help others. I stumbled across the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and was immediately set on enrolling. I actually signed up in less than a week after hearing about it. It was exactly what I was looking for: a program that I could do online so that I could keep my income coming in while I built my business, a program that understood health is about so much more than just food, and a program that was insanely affordable!
I had already started this blog before IIN and knew I wanted to share the message of intuitive eating but felt like I needed a credential and education to back me up. I haven’t second guessed my decision to enroll once.
IIN is about so much more than food. They actually teach you that food is SECONDARY to a healthy life. If you are like most people I know, you’re constantly striving to eat the perfect diet. Diet culture convinces us that if we eat “perfectly”, then we will have perfect health. But, that is sooo not true. You can eat all the kale and avocados in the world and still not be healthy if you are not making space for self-care, loving relationships, mental health, career fulfillment, etc.
Since enrolling in IIN, I have been able to monetize my blog, create online courses like The Subtle Art of Food Freedom, coach amazing women 1:1, speak on podcasts and impact people more than I could have imagined.
Is health coaching the right career path for you?
Health coaching might be the right career path for you if you:
- Find yourself infatuated with constantly learning how to become the best version of yourself and wanting to help others do the same
- Have a healthy, trusting relationship with food and your body and wish you could inspire others to have this too
- Feel completely out of alignment in your current job and know you are meant to do something more meaningful
- Want the flexibility to work on your own schedule and choose your own hours and decide how much money you will make
- Want to help others while helping yourself
If this sounds like you, then take your passion to the professional level by becoming a Certified Health-Coach!
How do you become a certified health coach?
- Choose a certified health coaching program: I chose to attend IIN because of their bio-individual approach and their belief that food is secondary to health. However, there are tons of programs out there to choose from just make sure to find one that’s at least a year long, has reputable teachers and will also actually teach you how to build a business. I do recommend IIN though because it definitely is the most well-known, reputable program out there and meets all of this criteria.
- Determine the path you want to take: Do you want to coach clients 1:1? Do you want to create online courses? etc. You can read more about the options above!
- Set up a website and social media accounts: This is a really important step in becoming a health coach. Without an online presence these days, you may as well not even try. Yes, I know that’s harsh but it’s the reality. Having a website and social media accounts in crucial in building a business.
- Practice: Recruit friends and family to serve as your practice clients until you feel comfortable taking on actual clients.
- Attract and secure clients: In order to do this, you will need to focus on building an audience. This is where your website and social accounts come in. You will want to consistently deliver quality content on your platforms so that you create a community of individuals who trust you. Eventually, once you have created this audience, you can then begin to sell them on your services.
The Health Coaching Certification Program at IIN is entirely online so you can do it on your own schedule. The program teaches you how to work with clients 1:1, create group programs and hold events and workshops at corporate offices, etc.
The concepts they teach are definitely cutting-edge and modern which you can’t find in a traditional nutrition program.
- Primary vs secondary foods
- Setting up your health-coaching business and all of the associated resources like intake forms, etc.
- Hormonal Balance
- Organic vs Non-Organic vs Local Foods
- Food energetics
- Building a website
- Marketing & Branding
- Over 100 dietary theories (Note that the goal here isn’t to sell you on a diet, but more so to educate you on what exists in the world. I do not in any way, shape or form believe in dieting but it was really helpful for me to learn about them so I could understand my clients better. If you are someone who is triggered by discussion of dietary theories, I do not recommend enrolling to become a health coach.)
- And so much more!
You can download IIN’s full curriculum guide here!
As an IIN ambassador, I’m able to offer you a MAJOR discount on the program!!
All you have to do is mention you were referred by Madison Surdyke and email me after you sign up at email@example.com!