Why I Became A Health Coach & The Certification Program I Recommend To Everyone
My path to health coaching began with illness. I was living overseas when I had a series of problems with my digestion, my weight, my hair, and my energy levels. My local doctor referred me to another country, and then I was referred yet again. I ended up consulting doctors in four countries about my mystery illness; it was a puzzle with few visible pieces.
My health only worsened over time, so I leaned on prayer and a vow. I vowed to help others who succumbed to illness as I had… If only I could figure out how to recover. After years of struggle, the universe granted me my wish.
Why I became a health coach
In the process of getting to know my body, making lifestyle changes, and studying autoimmune issues and food sensitivities, I started to heal. Along the way, I became a go-to person for anything digestion-related and food-sensitivity-related.
Crawling out of the depths of the hell of an autoimmune illness is an experience not easily forgotten. As a survivor of that journey, it's my responsibility to chart a path forward that's better than the one I endured for years. That's ultimately why I became a health coach.
This year, I completed a master's degree in health and wellness coaching to better combine my passions for health and education. I've also written a book, RIGHT Diet for Autoimmunity, and been a TEDx Speaker. I continue to serve as a part of the core faculty at mindbodygreen's Health Coach Certification (HCC) program, helping guide cohorts of students through the journey to becoming certified health coaches.
It's all part of my mission to empower as many people as possible to take more responsibility for their health.
RELATED READ: What Exactly Is A Health Coach & What Makes A Good One?
What I appreciate about the HCC model
I chose to teach at mindbodygreen because of their ambition to create a 20-week program that can empower anyone to step into the role of health coach. There is no program out there like this.
It was fascinating to be part of the curriculum creation and put my passion for health and education into what I believe is the best program out there.
As for what sets HCC apart (beyond the condensed timeline): Our content is an incredibly detailed and high-quality blend of functional medicine alongside more traditional Western science-based guidelines. We also prioritize 1:1 faculty time for students to ask their burning questions and gain clarity from faculty members who have already walked in their shoes.
Furthermore, we prioritize teachers who come from a diversity of backgrounds and perspectives. Some of our faculty have clinical experience coaching; some have a more entrepreneurial background, and others have worked with medical doctors in integrative practices. We respect our differences and learn from one another to provide the best real-world experience for our students.
Our team is also diligent about keeping up with new topics in health coaching. We are always listening to podcasts, reading new coaching books, and meeting with others in the field. A couple of us are also working on a scientific paper and will be submitting it to be published in a medical journal (fingers crossed)! We dream big here at mindbodygreen, and that's what we teach our students to do too.
It's very powerful to bond with students and watch them grow over the 20 weeks of learning and transformation. And I love to keep up with them to see what amazing things they do after graduation.
The creators of the HCC program have put our hearts and souls into this, and we've done it in a way that helps students maximize their investment of time and money and use HCC as a springboard for greatness. It's hard to describe in words, but this course changes lives…and we faculty are so lucky to get to watch the transformation.
My advice to anyone interested in health coaching
Health coaching is still a new field, and it's expanding quickly. If you're at all interested, I believe that now is the perfect time to get into this path. There is a growing need for coaches and this will only continue as health coaching is hopefully covered by more insurance providers in the coming years.
In order to become a health coach, you will need training. And I may be biased, but I believe the mindbodygreen program is outstanding in preparing students to take the national board exam to become an NBC-HWC—the highest credential in the health coaching industry.
By taking our program, you'll join a growing group of alumni that are united in continually supporting one another. We're determined to change the health of the world for the better. Will you join us?
Darshi Shah, NBC-HWC, CNT is an author, speaker, and health and wellness coach focused on blending Eastern and Western approaches to health and well-being. She is a core faculty member at the mindbodygreen Health Coach Certification program.