The Future of Health Coaching

 

Happy Birthday to Us !

Yes! The Irish Institute of Nutrition & Health turns 20 years old this autumn! 

What a rewarding, life-affirming journey it has been for our wonderful, dedicated team at IINH! As pioneers in nutrition education, we are so proud of our role in helping to launch hundreds of careers in Nutritional Therapy and Nutrition & Health Coaching! There are now 450+ active Nutritional Therapists registered in Ireland (NTOI.ie), affirming the popularity and potential of functional and lifestyle-focused medicine. 

Bright Future for Health Coaching

Across the world, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, dementia and many other chronic diseases are straining healthcare resources to breaking point. These conditions are not driven by lack of medication, however, but largely by inappropriate diet and lifestyles. This is where health coaching comes in as a powerful and proven approach for educating and empowering patients to better manage – even improve – their health. Doctors and nurses have neither the training nor time to spend with patients/clients to address their lifestyle and dietary issues. 

The health coach does not diagnose, advise or instruct, but rather uses motivational interviewing and enhanced listening skills to understand the client’s unique situation, challenges and preferences etc, in order to guide, motivate and support them to achieve their health-related goals. 

This is proving a winning formula – the UK (and Ireland) Health Coaches Association found in a UK-wide survey that while 88% of respondents knew lifestyle was the main cause of chronic disease and wanted to know how to take control of their health, only 18.5% felt confident to do so on their own. 

According to a recent study, health coaching “results in clinically relevant improvements in multiple biomarker risk factors (including systolic and diastolic blood pressure, LDL and HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, fasting glucose, body weight, body mass index, waist circumference and cardiorespiratory fitness) in diverse populations.” 

A common factor among the host of innovative clinics and other health-focused initiatives springing up across N America, Europe and Australasia is that health coaches are central to their work with clients. In the UK, health services are already incorporating health coaches in personalised care teams, and the NHS now offers staff training in coaching approaches. It was exciting for us to learn that several of our Nutrition & Health Coach graduates have recently been employed by the NHS!

Health Coach Certification

If you are considering a career in health coaching it’s wise to thoroughly explore the options for training. This is an unregulated profession as yet, so you should choose a course from a training provider with a good reputation and that offers a well-recognised health coaching qualification at Level 4 (UK) which has also been validated by the UK (& Ireland) Health Coaches Association  

In 2013 IINH became the first college in Europe to launch a Nutrition and Health Coach training programme backed by a recognised (Pearson/BTEC) qualification. BTECs are recognised and respected vocational qualifications across the world. These days our BTEC L4 Diploma in Professional Nutrition & Health Coaching course runs twice yearly, from Sept to June, and Feb to November. This part-time (10hr/week) programme is delivered fully online and is supported by twice-weekly live Zoom sessions (recorded). Optional weekend events such as workshops and cooking days are also offered during the course for those able to attend. 

A Rewarding Career Path

Health coaching is a bright spot in an otherwise rather gloomy picture of current health – and healthcare. Fortunately, growing numbers now recognise that diet, eating habits and other lifestyle behaviours are primary drivers of chronic disease that cannot be ignored in the quest to avoid, halt or even reverse ill-health. The problem is that behaviour change is hard! – unless the right kind of support is at hand. Enter the health coach!

In a world where many people find their job unfulfilling, repetitive or leading nowhere, health coaching offers a refreshing alternative – endlessly rewarding, inspiring, varied and flexible. And with an unending supply of clients looking for the motivation, empowerment and support that a health coach offers! 

Our BTEC Level 4 Diploma in Professional Nutrition & Health Coaching begins on September 14th 2022. If you have any questions about the course please get in touch, email [email protected] or call +353 87 6493194

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