This month, we are honored to have Lisa Gold as our Featured Health Coach. Here’s what she had to say about her health coaching school experience and what her experiences have been with getting started in this profession.
1) How did you first get interested in the idea of health coaching?
As a Nurse Practitioner in primary care, I found it frustrating that I had great advice to give patients who needed help, but only a small percentage of them could stay committed to a healthy lifestyle. I knew my advice was not enough. I also felt sad that I had to prescribe more and more medicines for conditions that could be greatly improved with changes in health behaviors.
2) Did you leave a profession behind to pursue health coaching?
Rather than leaving my profession behind, I use some coaching techniques in assisting my patients, and I am also developing a private coaching practice.
3) Which school did you attend, and why did you select that program?
I attended Duke Integrative Medicine’s professional integrative health coach program. I chose it for 2 reasons: it is geared toward people who are in the health care field, a natural fit; AND it focuses on integrative health, the idea that the wellness encompasses many aspects of a whole person.
I love the model that Duke has designed, “The Wheel of Health”. It recognizes mindful awareness as a foundation for self care. Mindfulness can be a powerful tool in stress reduction, freeing one’s energy to create lasting changes. Mindful awareness impacts all aspects of our health and life.
4) What is your opinion of the quality of the program, length of study, etc.?
I believe the four-month Foundation program is a wonderful introduction and provides excellent coaching skills and practice. I liked that the program was not just lectures and studying about coaching. They get you actively coaching right away. The instructors did an excellent job of providing an adult learning environment and were terrific coach role models.
5) Do you have other thoughts about the school you chose that you’d like to share?
I would encourage Foundation graduates to complete the Certification program with Duke. This level is very helpful for enhancing skills, and for continuing personal development as a coach. Training at this level helps coaches discipline themselves to build an active practice.
6) Have you chosen a target market? If not, what are you leaning towards?
I have had many different thoughts about target markets, but more and more I am trying to listen to what the majority of my clients seem to be asking for. So far, I believe that resilience to stress is one of the issues that crosses all genders and age groups. I will likely be focusing in this area more and more.
7) Is health coaching all that you thought it could be? Why or why not?
Health coaching is a great fit for me, because I must come to it with my whole heart and mind to be effective. Coaching challenges me personally to live with intention and focus so that I can better help others. Again and again I see people just blossom and discover new ways to enhance their level of wellness, through the coaching process.
8) Any final thoughts you’d like to share about choosing this career path?
1 – Consider seeking a coach so that you can experience the process before embarking on the educational journey. You will approach your learning experience with a deeper understanding of what you will be building for your future clients.
2 – Do your homework: determine if coaching will meet your financial needs; annual earnings vary depending upon whether you function as an employee or become a private business owner. Health coaching is still a new field; there are no national standards for certification. Be prepared to be an advocate for the field as well as a practitioner.
Integrative Health Coach: Lisa Gold