Health coaching certifications help ensure the coaches at your organization are more than capable for the job. They are proof that your coaches know the most up-to-date information, understand industry best practices and hold the teaching skills necessary to educate your employees on how to be their healthiest.
At WebMD health Services, we’re proud of the number of certifications our 150+ health coaches hold. All of our coaches have at least one certification that requires a four-year health degree through organizations such as American Council on Exercise, American College of Sports Medicine, NAADAC, etc. We also have 21 health coaches who have been given the title of either Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES) or Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) from the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NHEC). Not to mention, we have plenty of coaches who are certified as registered dietitians, registered nurses, wellcoaches, strength and conditioning specialists, nationally certified in tobacco treatment practice, licensed mental health counselors, pre and post-natal exercise specialists and much more.
To help each of our health coaches grow, extend their skill set and be the best possible coach—we also encourage them to continue their education. We pay for them to earn up to five certifications in whichever field they’re most passionate about. Whether that’s exercise science, nutrition, injury recovery or something else, we encourage them to pursue a program that inspires them.
Amanda Burleson, the coaching training and development specialist at WebMD, told me, “we want our health coaches to be able to continue their education in a field they’re interested in, something that’s meaningful to them. So, we let them choose from a wide range of certifications, from a variety of institutions.”
An investment that pays off.
Health coaching can help deliver real results. Many doctors today aren’t trained in nutrition and it’s becoming more common for them to refer patients to health coaches—who have the expertise to help their patients improve their diet, overcome stress and live a healthier lifestyle in the day-to-day.1
But luckily, a physician’s referral isn’t necessary to speak to a health coach. Even better, you can offer health coaching at your organization and even encourage your coaches to earn additional certifications—improving their ability to help your employees be their healthiest.
Still not sure if you should invest in health coaching at your organization? I’ve listed the top three reasons why certified health coaches are an asset to any company:
1. Provide the best possible help.
An investment in your health coaches is an investment into your employees. By helping your health coaches continue their education, you’re helping to ensure they can provide your employees with the most accurate and actionable advice possible.
With more certifications, your health coaches will also be able to easier address your employee’s specific needs. At WebMD, our health coaches hold certifications in everything from tobacco cessation to disease management, financial well-being and everything in-between. It helps ensure our employees are always able to talk to a health coach who specializes in the area they’re looking for help with.
2. Build a solid reputation.
Health certifications are proof that your coaches are trained professionals. Although they can have confusing names such as ACE-HCC, AFPA-CNWC and ACSM-EP-C—it’s important to remember that each of those acronyms represents an important skill set that has been acquired from some of the top health organizations in the world.
For example, if a health coach is ACE-certified, they have been educated on the latest health information from the American Council on Exercise. If a health coach holds an ACSM, they’ve been trained in how to help people achieve their exercise goals from the well-respected American College of Sports Medicine. But no matter the certification, each can help your coaches provide the best possible health advice to your employees—while helping to bolster the reputation of your well-being program.
3. Encourage peer-to-peer education.
At WebMD, we don’t just encourage our health coaches to continue their education— we also encourage our health coaches to educate each other.
After a coach completes a certification program, they hold a presentation and share the knowledge they gained with fellow health coaches. In the past few months alone, WebMD Health Coaches conducted seven full training sessions based on the health education and certifications they’ve received—helping to keep our entire coaching staff up-to-date on the latest health information and practices. Amanda Burleson told me, “to be able to see my health coaches educate themselves, develop their careers and train their peers is the most rewarding part of my job. It makes me proud to be a coaching training and development specialist.”
Health coaching can make a difference.
When you invest in your health coaches, you’re certain to get a payoff. You’ll be rewarded with a better-educated staff, a more reputable well-being program and healthier, happier employees.