Which Health Coaching Program is Right for Me?

Which Health Coaching Program is Right for Me?

by Melinda Huffman, BSN, MSN, CCNS, CHC

The number #1 inquiry from hundreds of callers to The National Society of Health Coaches is this: “I’ve been online looking at health coaching programs. But I’m so confused. There are so many out there! How do I know which one is right for me?”

Here are 7 Questions to ask to help you select your “best fit”.

#1. Is the program based on accepted scientific evidence?

The answer should be “Yes”. What is this evidence? Methods and strategies taught should be based on scientific evidence and research. These are more likely to result in positive outcomes for patients/clients. Not all programs are evidence-based. Ask what scientific principles are the bases for the program’s foundation. Ask about outcomes that have been achieved by the program’s users.

#2. What credentials or education is required for program eligibility?

The only program that requires a clinical license or credential is NSHC‘s Health Coach Certification, but awards a Certificate of Completion to all others. All other programs may be taken by anyone with an interest. Ask for these specifics. Be sure that your educational background is commensurate with the program you are interested in.

#3. Should program cost be an indicator of quality?

No. Those who are eligible for NSHC’s program will pay far less because its program is based on the knowledge that clinicians and practitioners already have. Some programs cost much more due to the length of program. Some are built on more of a business model, teaching concepts about starting your own health coaching business. Be leery of high costs.

#4. Do I want to work in a healthcare, wellness, clinic, or other setting?

Vast majority of programs prepare you to work in wellness settings, like wellness centers and low-risk employee health, while the NSHC prepares those with a clinical credential to coach patients and clients over the broadest spectrum of health, from wellness to those with chronic conditions. Without a clinical credential, be aware that your liability will be high if coaching those with moderate to high health risks or those with chronic conditions. Ask if the program prepares you to “coach” primarily in one setting as opposed to the other?

#5. What reputation and credibility does the program have?

A credible program will be an approved provider for continuing education and will have excellent reviews from its users and the BBB (Better Business Bureau). There is no one certifying body that meets the needs of all health coaching programs.

#6. What is the feedback from those having completed the program?

Ask for testimonials and references of those who have successfully completed the program with a work and educational background similar to yours. Compare responses from several.

#7. Who are the primary purchasers of the program?

Ask, “Who is best suited for your program material?” For example, those with college degrees in science, those who are nurses, psychologists, personal trainers, etc.?

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