The Health & Nutrition industry is saturated with professionals in nutrition and health coaching but not all professionals are created equally. Choosing the right Holistic Nutritionist or Health Coach who is not only qualified, but also offers an expertise in the services you are searching for can be overwhelming for many reason so we decided to make it easier for you by creating a quick list of important questions to ask your prospective Holistic Nutritionist or Health Coach.
You should be able to have a consult prior to agreeing to any treatments. This is your opportunity to assess whether or not this is the professional for you. Take some time write down their answers and review them later.
What is your experience?
All practitioners are not created equal in the Holistic Nutrition and Health Coaching field. Is your practitioner new to the profession or do they have years of experience? Neither one of these is a wrong answer but you want to make sure you find somebody who’s experience and background you are comfortable with. As this is an unregulated industry, some may not have gone to school and if they did, they may have taken a quick crash course on a subject, which leads to the next question. **Beware of anyone recommending you go off of your medications in lieu of their treatments or claiming they can cure any conditions you may have. You mainly find the uneducated practitioners who are not familiar with their scope of practice and lacking a good education making such claims.
Are you an Accredited member of an Association?
It is not mandatory for Holistic Nutritionists or Health Coaches to be part of an association however, confirmation of membership distinguishes those practitioners amongst a sea of potentially unqualified people claiming to be professionals.
Before a member can be accepted, they will have had their school education thoroughly reviewed and approved. Most associations will also provide mandatory key professional development and continuing education to ensure the information and services being provided are up to date and still valid. It is also typically required that the member to be covered with adequate liability insurance for their scope of practice. This keeps everyone protected.
What Certifications / or Licensing do you have?
Your practitioner may not be a part of an Association and this does not mean they are not qualified however it may indicate that their school does not meet the requirements in Canada.
The holistic health industry as a whole is not fully regulated by a governing body therefore it is important to confirm their level of education. Do they have a certificate or diploma from a well-established and reputable school? Is the school or program approved by other associations even if your practitioner opted out of becoming a member? If not, this should raise a red flag regarding their quality of education. If they do not have a certificate of any kind – RUN.
Are you covered by liability insurance?
Any professional running a proper business and providing services or assisting you in a physical or advisory role should be covered by liability insurance. This not only protects the practitioner, it protects you as well.
Do you have any specializations?
You’ve found a specialist with excellent ratings and you’re excited to book your first session but before you do, it is good to know your potential practitioner’s key areas of focus prior to treatment. For example, if your psychologist focuses their practice on childhood trauma, and you are looking to deal with a divorce, they may not be the right fit for you.
What is their track record in regards to your particular concerns?
Do they have experience dealing with your topics of concern and how long have they been providing advice and services for this?
Can I claim your services on my Group Plan?
It’s good to know beforehand whether your practitioners service is covered under your group plan so you can budget accordingly. It is important to know that even if a practitioner’s services can be claimed, your employer may not have selected certain services. Be sure to also check with your plan providers to confirm what will be covered and how many sessions you are allotted.
Are you willing to work in conjunction with my primary health care provider(s)?
When dealing with multiple professionals regarding your health and well-being, it is wise to keep each of them in the loop to protect you against potential interactions and injury.
What is your location and schedule?
It’s important for the success of your program that your practitioner is easily accessible and that their schedule jives with yours. Depending on the session type and duration, you may need to book multiple sessions for optimal results and follow ups so be sure their set up works for you. Many professionals also offer virtual meetings which may be a good option for some clients with busy / difficult schedules.
After your initial consult, you should review your observations and ask yourself these few final questions:
If your answer was yes to these questions you may have found a good fit. Any “no” answers should raise cause for concern and you may wish to continue your search. Listen to your gut. If you feel uncomfortable or pressured for any reason, you may want to keep shopping.