Part I: Making the comparisons
Now up front I vow to be as objective as I can, of course I believe we have the best program, but then at the end of the day what constitutes the ‘best’ program for you may be different for the next person depending on what you’re after. Oh, and a quick FYI, I'll of course hold a professional courtesy when commenting on other colleges, after all we are all in health for the same intention. Every college will have its unique slant and benefits, likewise they also have their limitations, the trick in my view is to marry up what you want with the ‘best fit’ college so you can go out there and change lives for the better! Exciting stuff. Let's get into it!
Why does health coaching attracting so many people?
We tend to find that most people come to coaching via a process of 'healer, heal thy self'. That is, you’ve had a health/life challenge, and you’ve navigated your way through it to the other end, the process and the outcome have brought you to a great place in your life, your vigor and vitality towards life emanates and you soon find others are inspired by your story, by the change in you and by your energy. Somewhere in the process of sharing your road travelled, the light goes on, that thought that this is your calling, your purpose, begins to bubble up to your conscious mind. You’ve arrived at your direction in life and now you want to be free to live it. A student recently said in a reflection, in her coaching practical case study that she ‘knows that she has arrived at her purpose at last’. Awesome, simply ... Awesome!!! As best you can, try to find a college that speaks to the inner voice within, one that you feel will feed your passion so that your can arrive at your inner purpose.
What are your study options?
In conversations with future health coaches it seems there are a few initial characteristics that draw them to a college. The reach, that is the extent to which you hear and see the college. The appeal, for example, the people represented on the website, regardless of their connection. And, the unique proposition, that is, the 'one thing' that sets the college apart from the rest, this could be something they present on their site or something they do or offer, payment plans, subjects that you have a passion for or that they just simply 'feel right'. Based on these characteristics there are 4-5 colleges in the leader group, to make it simple I’ve included the top colleges from Australia and the USA (I have not used actual business names), and divided them into four main types to contrast them. Here goes:
1. The local
Think of a local natural college for example. You’ll likely have a few that come to mind. In opting for a local you’ll be getting lovely home-grown information and being local, you can really connect with them and have that feeling of belonging to a community or collective. However, with a smaller 'pool to fish in' the focus tends to be on getting as many 'bodies' through the doors as possible, with as little obstruction as possible, and the coursework can be quite light to ensure students move through easily. In saying this, you can get small local colleges who are wholly committed to pedagogy (educational standards) and health.
On the other end of the scale, if you jump on into a health coaching course that is offered in another country you’ll find registration as a health coach easy enough in most cases, but, insurance in your own hometown may not be. So, do your due diligence, if you are not 'a local' before joining an overseas college (small, medium or large for that matter) check that you can be insured based on their domestic content.
2. The 'everywhere' colleges
Often hailing out of the US these colleges are the ones you see on every page on the Internet, you literally would have to live under a rock not to notice them. They look impressive, have massive ‘machinery’ and big names. All of this has its benefits in terms of bells and whistles, but they also limitations. For example, their responsiveness to your emails or phone calls and the lack of personal touches. The size of the 'machine' can create an inflexibility around the choices of what you have to study, and the variety of how the content is delivered. Big machines tend not to turn and manoeuvre easily or quickly, and the content can be quite standardised.
You’ll also see all the famous people you could wish for on their sites, the content is ‘tried and tested’, and tends to remain largely unchanged over long periods. There are two of these colleges in the US, and both appear quite similar, perhaps from a sort of ‘follow the leader’ approach? Price tags tend to be a premium, which is understandable given their investment in eLearning infrastructure, extensive digital advertising, and costs to use profiles of personalities.
Payment plans are readily accessible, although the monthly payments can be pretty daunting, and you can find yourself locked into paying for the whole program rather than the subject you are undertaking. The content is generally domestic, so if you're not in the US or Canada it can pose issues in terms of relevance to your clients and insurance in your country.
3. The Uni-varsity
There are really only a few uni's (if you live 'down under'), or varsity's if you're in North America or New Zealand, who are offering programs in this area. If you invest in university-based training, you’ll likely get robust training over three or more years culminating in a degree, and that's a fantastic outcome. As you can imagine the training can be costly, and student loans may only be available for domestic students. University can be stressful with tight exam timetables and large study loads. They also tend to lack flexibility around timelines with strict term, intake and assessment dates. All of this is compensated by the content, which is generally the latest knowledge and delivered by excellent educators and researchers in the industry.
4. Le Global Boutique
Online colleges recognise that in working through the digital world the content they deliver needs to be global, experiential and cutting-edge. In saying that, some smaller online colleges simply host downloadable content on the back-end of their websites, whilst others invest in robust, easy-to-use and educationally sound learning systems. Tending to be medium-sized colleges, their focus is education and service. Also many opt not to invest in ‘influencers’ and 'everywhere' marketing. Their size enables them a high degree of responsiveness and personalised service, hence the student experience ratings tend to be quite high. Well established colleges are often able to regularly release new courses and continually update their programs and delivery. Price-wise, these colleges tend to be middle of the range, generally they offer payment plans that are quite affordable and don't lock you into huge repayments. While most will have some form of accreditation some offer fairly basic options only.
Where does the Nutrition & Health Coaching Program at Cadence Health sit?
Ok, so if you wanted an insiders view of Cadence Health, yes we fit mostly into the Le Global Boutique, but what makes Cadence Health’s program stand out is the training and service. We are not the biggest, we don’t have the most famous people behind us, and we are not the biggest most prominent name that you see across across the Internet, we don't hard market and push our brand to the front, but then again nor do we have a price tag that speaks to the cost of all of this.
Everything we say we do, we are wholly focused on our students and their learning, our commitment is to community health (one of the reasons we include mental health training in our program), and we feel our best asset to achieve this is YOU, our students. We proudly combine both traditional knowledge with evidence-based, to offer you the latest training and tools to become the best coach you can be. We ask and listen to hear and respond, so we are ever changing and evolving.
The spend is on you
Maybe all of this has made the decision harder? I generally say we love ‘simple’, so I encourage you to choose a college that makes you smile, one that you are excited to join, one that speaks directly to a voice inside you, not one in your head, but one deep inside you. Trust the universe will direct you to the right place and trust in your own intuition, you’ll need it to coach so why not use it now.
We all have a role to play in community health, the only question is how do we play this role? Through intelligent, evidence-based inquiry we can understand how to health coach to support others in taking on positive behaviour change.