Choosing the right health coach for you is a decision you don't want to make lightly. Just like different business coaches and athletic coaches have different philosophies and styles, so do health and wellness coaches.
Here's some guidelines to help you make the best choice possible for you and your situation:
1. Find a coach who is a fibromyalgia expert.
If you've been diagnosed with a chronic illness, such as fibromyalgia, and you want to learn how to live well with that illness or discover treatment options available to you, only a health coach who understands that illness can help you effectively.
Not all health coaches focus on helping the same kind of people. If you have fibromyalgia, you don't want to work with a coach who primarily trains healthy athletes. That's a great recipe for ending up in a fibro flare!
This means you'll want to choose a fibromyalgia health coach. Helping women with fibromyalgia should be their key focus, not a service that they've tacked on as a subset of what they offer everyone else.
2. Opt for a coach who understands your struggles.
Now that you know you want a fibromyalgia health coach, you need to find one who has already gone through what you are trying to overcome. Many of us became coaches because we worked with a coach ourselves, found success, and wanted to "pay it forward" and help others find the same success.
This means that if you want to lose weight, find a fibromyalgia health coach who has lost weight themselves. If you want to walk a 5k with fibromyalgia, find someone who has walked a 5k with fibromyalgia. If you want to find healing from fibromyalgia, find a coach who used to be sick who is now living the kind of life you want to live!
By choosing a fibromyalgia health coach who has "been there, done that", you'll have someone who truly understands the struggles you face, can give you practical advice, and who won't blindly accept your excuses. (grin)
3. Make sure your health coach is up-to-date on the latest research.
There is so much conflicting information out there when it comes to nutrition, fitness, health, and fibromyalgia -- plus, it's changing continually. Even scientists can't agree when it comes to some things!
You want to choose a fibromyalgia health coach who loves research, reading, learning, and growing. If she doesn't, it's really easy to get behind and end up giving YOU bad information.
You want a coach who loves this stuff, can stay on top of the latest research -- and will share it with you and your doctors.
4. Decide what type of coaching personality you need for your journey.
As health coaches, we all have different personalities -- and as a client, so do you!
Some health coaches are like drill sergeants, where others are encouraging cheerleaders. Some focus on teaching you how to figure things out yourself, where others offer their own tried and true practical advice and solutions. Many of us are a combination of things.
In the past, I've hired two different types of personal trainers. The first one would say, "Come on! You can do one more!" The second one said, "Do you think you can do one more?"
I learned that for me the second type of coach is best. She made me want to try harder, to see if I could do just one more. The other one made me want to quit right then and say, "No! I can't!"
Decide which type of personality you need, then find that type of coach.
5. Look for a health coach with great troubleshooting skills.
It's one thing to work with your coach when everything is going well. It's a whole different thing when you feel like you've done everything right, but the results you want keep slipping through your fingers.
This is where troubleshooting becomes really important. A coach with great troubleshooting skills will be able to discover what is blocking you, your health, and your progress. She can then help you get past those blocks so you can start living the life you want to live.
When I ran the support department of a local software company, I always told my staff to, "look for the question behind the question." This helps me today with coaching. Often the question you ask isn't the question in your heart. There's usually a "question behind the question."
6. Choose how much time -- and energy -- you have to work on your health.
Do you want a coach who can teach you how to grow, cook, and make everything from scratch?
Or do you want a coach who will give you simple, practical ideas to make adding healthy habits into your life easier?
I find with my clients that if it takes too much energy, or is too complicated, it just won't happen. We fibro babes have limited energy to begin with, am I right?
So it all depends on what you need and want. Take a little time as you're thinking about your search to decide how much time you have to work on changing your habits and your health -- then find a coach who will provide you what you need for the time and energy you have.
7. Ask for a free consultation to check for individualized coaching.
Fibromyalgia health coaching should be a one-on-one, individualized service. With something that varies as much as fibromyalgia symptoms do, a coach must tailor their coaching to meet the specific needs of each individual client.
A free consultation is a great way to find out if the coach you're thinking about working with can offer you an individualized program. If you leave your consultation feeling like you received "cookie cutter" answers or a pre-printed solution, then keep looking!
8. Get a guarantee and get it in writing.
Just like any reputable business, a good fibromyalgia health coach should be willing to offer you a guarantee in writing. It's a reflection of their integrity and the confidence they have in their skills in being able to help you.
Since coaching is a two-way street, you should also expect to sign a contract or agreement when you enter into a professional coaching relationship. This contract should outline what you can expect from your coach and what she expects from you. The contract should also outline what needs to happen in order for you to take advantage of your guarantee.
Make sure you do your research, then schedule a complimentary consultation with a couple of different coaches to see which one fits you and your needs the best. With a good guarantee, you won't have anything to lose by giving health coaching a try!