One of the questions I have heard over the last few years circles around like this:
“If you are a nurse already, why do you have to be a health coach, too?”
And, it’s a really great question. See, as an RN of many years, it’s easy to forget what you used to not know. I hope that makes sense. Basically, it means putting my brain back into my being before nurses’ university, and thinking back to how I viewed my health and what to do if I got sick.
The gaps were glaring. Suddenly I remembered why I became a Registered Nurse in my fourth decade on Earth. It’s because I wanted to help people. To be of service. Lift up the spirit, mend the body, support the soul. In old days of centuries past, I would have been a Healer Woman, a Witch, Wise Woman, or a MidWife.
So, in Nursing University I enrolled in Milledgeville, Georgia. I learned the basics of human anatomy and physiology, how homeless shelters work, how to do a head-to-toe assessment in 30 minutes, why prayer works, most illnesses and their pathology, what medicines cure and what overdoses were and how to watch for them, manual calculations before machines did all that, and what a holistic view of life was. Many things that help define the human condition in many altered states and circumstances. I treasure that education.
In my Master of Nursing degree, I focused in Integrative Health. I learned the finances of running a hospital department, how to fund a clinic of my own, many different healing modalities that have nothing to do with medicine, and found that two things were worthy of my specializations: Energy Healing, and Thought Therapy (cognitive behaviour therapy). But: both of these things, as well as everything I had learned to date focused on the RN doing to the patient, and not on equipping a client with knowledge and skills to improve their own lives.
Something had to change. I needed a skill set that would help me frame my desires and knowledge. One day, I discovered “Health Coaching.” It was an idea that there was a specific and respectful way to listen to people, get their story, and support them in articulating their own goals, setting their own agenda, and equipping them with the skills to find their own answers. That meant no more doing for or to.
Instead: the change was combining my decades of clinical and assessment skills with learning to LISTEN. Getting the value of
Getting the value of story. Using validation instead of “good” or “bad” mentality in
Using validation instead of “good” or “bad” mentality in judgement. No advice giving unless asked.
No advice giving unless asked.
This was a drastic departure for me from clinical practice. And yet, it’s a joyful meeting of skill and heart, and when I am with a client, it’s just that: heart to heart medicine for the whole person.
This is why health coaches matter. They don’t have to be licensed professionals. But those that are have a knowledge base and a skill set to transform the relationship with a patient to a higher, transpersonal level.
Health Coaches that are NOT licensed professionals are invaluable, in my opinion. Working with a patient toward certain health goals or goals for better living in a holistic way is empowering to the client, and good for the soul. Yes, I went there. Our soul, our thoughts, our bodies, our relationships, our jobs and our families and friends all make up our lives. Coaches combine a complex set of skills and knowledge base to HELP.
I have every reason to believe that the decision to become a Health Coach is one that should not be taken lightly, but if that decision is made, the person should be prepared for a few changes:
Starting a new practice is slow at first for most people. You may think it isn’t working. But it is.
You will learn to care more about someone other than yourself more than you thought you could.
You will be enticed to “fix,” or “tell the answer,” or put your client in a position to NEED you. Don’t do that. It’s out of your scope, but it’s a temptation. We support. We listen and advise if asked. We don’t take authority from a patient or client, ever.
Your heart will open and your life will get better.
Any unsolicited advice you want to give to a client is usually something you need to listen to.
What ever life has given you so far, you can be an excellent Health Coach. All you have to do is learn how. And I know a great school for that. In fact, I am self-paying to go through the entire program a second time, because it’s worth it, and so are you.
Try a complementary course introduction, my treat.