{post edited from 2013}

As many of you know, I studied with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and qualified as a Health Coach in 2013. Every week I am asked to share my thoughts around my experience with IIN, so I thought it beneficial to re-share a post for anyone considering the course.

What is a Health Coach?

You work one on one or with groups of clients to develop a plan and set of goals that incorporate any or all areas of their life; being nutrition, exercise, relationships, career, exercise and spirituality. The focus is certainly not solely on nutrition; it is about helping your client achieve balance in their lives and guiding them to a higher place of wellness. Significantly, IIN supports bio-individuality, being that one size does not fit all. Typically a health coach works with a client through a 6 month program, seeing them face to face or via Skype twice a month (but it is entirely up to each Health Coach to build a business around what feels right for them).

What educational prerequisites do you require to commence studies with IIN?

No undergraduate degree or academic prerequisites are required. You simply need to be passionate about health and inspiring others to wellness. You will discuss your interests with an IIN representative as part of your registration.

What qualification do you receive?

If you are in Australia you are able to work as a Health Coach, however you are not accredited to do so. To date you can not join any membership bodies, nor is it covered by private health. It is a different story in the US, you can read more about that on the IIN website here.

We Created Health Coaching. Get Program Overview.

How much does it cost?

The cost of the course has varied across the year so you're best to reach out to IIN directly. Know that here are often substantial discounts for paying in full up front and specials offered throughout the year (see base of this post for email to contact me directly about this). Know that IIN also have payment plans in place. My opinion is that this course is NOT expensive, not when you consider the sheer volume of resources you have at your fingertips and the calibre of the lecturers.

Why might you choose to do this course?

For all sorts of reasons. Maybe you are a Dr or Naturopath looking for exposure to a more rounded integrative or holistic approach. Perhaps you want to focus on cooking schools, classes, motivational speaking or need to better your coaching skills. Maybe you are a massage therapist looking to widen your service offering. My intention on commencing this course was to carve a career as a Health Coach, however having also received training in a bundle of other therapies (forming the Combined Therapy Cocktail/CTC life transformational therapy I provide) I decided to build that part of my business (whilst authoring a series of recipe books, running events, blogging and ultimately sharing my path to wellness with as many people as possible). The IIN course however, satisfied my thirst for knowledge and complements everything else I am doing beautifully.

What format does the learning take?

This course is 100% online. You download a classroom app to your iPhone, iPad or computer. 1 weeks worth of lectures is delivered every Monday (or Tuesday in Australia) and you can download and listen to these at your leisure. There are 40 weeks worth of lectures in total. At the conclusion of each week there is a little online assessment which you can take but are not assessed on. There are handouts and presentations included with the majority of lectures. Typically you will need to put in anywhere from 3-5 hours each week, but it is entirely up to you - obviously the more you put in, the more you get out.

There is also a huge array of focus classes you can listen to at your leisure, depending on your areas of interest. I enjoyed online learning a lot more than I expected. Depending on the content of the lecture I listened to one during a long drive, or lying in the park in the sun. I've been known to clean the bathroom or do the ironing whilst listening to my lectures, though appreciate that is not very mindful of me at all ;-)

How are you assessed?

  • You are to complete 4 online assessments over the 12 month period. These tests are multiple choice and open book and you have 2 hours to complete them. You also get two attempts! 
  • You are to attend 5 out of 8 'coaching circles'. You choose a day and time that suits you and are grouped together with approximately 10 others from around the world. Each session you meet up on a conference call and chat about what's happening with your coach. 
  • You are to complete 6 health history forms which are also submitted.

What will you learn?

I loved the content. You have access to over 100 dietary theories and you are encouraged to question and analyse their approach and relevance. It is an entirely holistic approach to health. Not only will you learn a lot about food but you'll learn about anything from skin brushing, detox programs, spirituality, exercise programs, how to run a workshop or cooking class - right through to setting up and marketing your business. You're given website and business card templates, taught how to set up your office, given every single form you will need throughout the 6 month client program. Your hand is held every step of the way. Every single aspect of setting up a business and working as a health coach is covered. What this means is that if there are areas of the course you are very comfortable with, you can skip through them very quickly. If you have established businesses previously, have your own website etc much of this area won't be terribly relevant to you. But know the information is there should you need it.

As for my opinion on the content? I love the fact I had access to so much amazing information, absolutely. I will say though, the course is not as rigorous as I had hoped. I guess when I commenced the course I was coming out of 3 years of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and I was ready to be challenged and stimulated again. I believe too that I had underestimated what I already knew through my own research during my path to wellness. At times I was disappointed that we did not go deeper into some areas, nutrition specifically.

What sort of support can you expect to receive?

Loads! You will join Facebook groups and start connecting with students all over the world. You can ask questions of your peers or to your Circle Coach and receive immediate responses. There are alumni FB groups too giving you access to experienced Health Coaches all over the world. Wonderful friendships will be made in your own state or across the world. The IIN network is growing at a rate of knots. Before you know it your next door neighbour will be studying with IIN too. I have made some really wonderful friends and connections as a result of this course.

What challenges might you face building a Health Coaching business? 

For those of you without previous business experience, do know you will learn a lot about establishing your business via this course. You will also learn about marketing your business to attract clients. However, in order to build a solid client base you will need to be comfortable putting yourself out there - building a social media profile, collaborating with like-minded businesses, networking - in order to attract your target market. If the idea of that is scary for you, this may not be a stand alone career for you (unless of course you can align yourself with a busy business who can refer you clients, now that'd be a dream!).  Do know, I know many successful health coaches with busy practises, so it is most certainly possible. But certainly don't be afraid of providing this service as just one element of what you do. 

Other stuff I think you need to know.

  • Being an American course, there are benefits for living in or around NYC - you get to attend live lectures and conferences (which interstate students can too but clearly at quite a cost!).
  • You will not find anatomy, chemistry or physiology in this course, IIN does not teach us how bodily systems work. If you are looking for a much deeper understanding, also of nutrition specifically, you may need to be researching nutritional degrees. 
  • You will read all sorts of information on the internet both good and bad, about this course. IIN has become quite a 'movement', to some a huge, well-oiled machine. From my perspective a lot of good can come from this - the more people opening their eyes, educating themselves and then sharing their knowledge and awareness the better. However, at the end of the day it needs to feel right for you, that is all that matters. So do your research, read it all, chat to people - feel it out. 

As an ambassador of IIN I am privy to some great special offers so feel free to email me at hello@theholisticingredient.com and I can refer you directly/let you know of anything on the go. Alternatively, click on one of the above badges for further information. 

Please know that as an IIN student (or alumni) you are able to receive referral rewards for recommending others who sign up (this becomes a great way of gradually paying back your enrolment fee). On that note, if you decide to contact IIN I'd appreciate you letting them know that I sent you. Having said that, if you are not comfortable to do so that is ok too.


May 10, 2015 — Amy Crawford

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