The Health & Nutrition industry is saturated with Health & Wellness Coaches but not all professionals are created equally. Choosing the right Health Coach who is not only qualified, but also offers an expertise in the areas you are searching for can be overwhelming for many reasons. We decided to make it easier for you by creating a quick list of important questions to ask your prospective Health Coach.
You should be able to have a consult prior to agreeing to any treatments. This is your opportunity to assess whether or not this is the Health Coach for you. Take some time write down their answers and review them later.
What is your Education and Experience?
Did your potential health coach complete a health coaching course and what program did they complete?
As this is an unregulated industry, some people claiming to be health coaches may not have even gone to school and if they did, they may have taken a quick crash course on the subject. Naturally, most people in search of any type of service prefer a qualified professional to look after their needs. This is your health and it should be respected and taken seriously.
**Beware of anyone recommending you stop seeing your primary caregivers, or you go off of your medications in lieu of their treatments. Anyone claiming they can cure, treat or heal any conditions you may have is not only far outside their scope of practice, they are potentially putting you in harms way. You mainly find the uneducated health coaches who are not familiar with their scope of practice and lacking a good education making such claims.
Is your practitioner new to the profession or do they have years of experience? There is no wrong answer here, only what you are comfortable with. You want to make sure you find somebody who’s experience and background makes you feel at ease.
Are you an Accredited member of an Association?
It is not mandatory Health Coaches to be part of an association however, confirmation of membership distinguishes those practitioners amongst a sea of potentially unqualified people claiming to be professionals.
Before a member can be accepted, they will have had their school education thoroughly reviewed and approved. Most associations will also provide mandatory key professional development and continuing education to ensure the information and services being provided are up to date and still valid and legal within their scope of practice. It is also typically required that an association member to be covered with adequate liability insurance. This keeps everyone protected.
What Certifications / or Licensing do you have?
Your practitioner may not be a part of an Association and this does not mean they are not qualified however it may indicate that their school does not meet the requirements in Canada.
The health coaching industry as a whole is not fully regulated by a governing body therefore it is important to confirm their level of education. Do they have a certificate or diploma from a well-established and reputable school? Is the school or program approved by other associations even if your practitioner opted out of becoming a member? If not, this should raise a red flag regarding their quality of education. If they do not have a certificate of any kind – RUN.
Are you covered by liability insurance?
Any professional running a proper business and providing services or assisting you in a physical or advisory role should always be covered by liability insurance. This not only protects the practitioner, it protects you as well.
Do you have any specializations?
You’ve found a health coach with excellent ratings and you’re excited to book your first session but before you do, it is good to know your potential practitioner’s key areas of focus prior to treatment. For example, if your health coach specializes in working with children, they may not be the right fit for you.
What is their track record in regards to your particular concerns?
Do they have experience dealing with your topics of concern and how long have they been providing advice and services for this?
Can I claim your services anywhere?
Most Health Coaching services in Canada are not able to be claimed through group benefits at this time however some employers provide a special spending allowance for health related services and activities. While the health coach will not be able to answer this question, it is good to find out from your employer if this is an offering that can be utilized.
Are you willing to work in conjunction with my primary health care provider(s)?
When dealing with multiple professionals regarding your health and well-being, it is wise to keep each of them in the loop to protect you against potential interactions and injury. Your Health Coach should be more than open and willing to work with your other healthcare providers.
What is your location and schedule?
It’s important for the success of your program that your Health Coach is easily accessible and that their schedule jives with yours. Depending on the session type and duration, you may need to book multiple sessions for optimal results and follow ups so be sure their set up works for you. Many professionals also offer virtual meetings which may be a good option for some clients with busy / difficult schedules.
After your initial consult, you should review your observations and ask yourself these few final questions:
If your answer was yes to these questions you may have found a good fit. Any “no” answers should raise cause for concern and you may wish to continue your search. Listen to your gut. If you feel uncomfortable or pressured for any reason, you may want to keep shopping.