So, who can be a health coach?
The National Society of Health Coaches states that “health coaching be no less than evidence-based and conducted by licensed/credentialed health care professionals who have the clinical education and training to safely guide patients/clients with acute or chronic conditions or moderate to high health risk.”
The key is to have an active/unencumbered clinical license/credential to assess, treat, implement, and/or evaluate outcomes. Certain states have begun limiting who may conduct nutrition counseling or teaching due to questionable nutrition-related business practices by non-credentialed individuals, and the word “coaching” is used extremely liberally in our world today without any credentialing or licensing requirements whatsoever. The NSHC stands strong on this position so that patients/clients are getting the highest quality of care possible.
The fact remains, however, that a lack of consensus within the health coaching community regarding qualifications and educational content does exist. It is important for practitioners to do thorough research when choosing a health coach certification program to determine which content is the best fit for their purposes and which program offers the highest quality training so their patients receive the best care.