J Morris Hicks

J Morris Hicks

Posted July 10, 2012

Published in Health

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Earning a living as a health coach can be difficult...

Read More: health coach certification, Institute for Integrative Nutrition, promoting health as a health coach

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 ...if you teach your clients exactly how to take charge of their health.

That's because they will soon no longer need you. A Google search for "certified health coach" yields over ten million results. The first two are the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and the third was the National Society of Health Coaches. The next few on that first Google page were individuals who were running their own certification programs. It seems that almost anyone can certify other people to be health coaches as there appears to be no regulatory authority. A few questions come to mind:

  1. What does it really mean to be a health coach?
  2. What kind of services will you offer your clients?
  3. How will you acquire your clients?
  4. Can you make a living being a health coach?
  5. If you teach your clients how to "take charge of their own health," will they still need your services?
How do you make a living in the health coaching business?

Question # 5 is where the rubber meets the road. For the past 518 blogs, I have written often about the fact that there is simply not much money to made by everyone becoming healthy. Most medical doctors in private practice depend on a base of patients who return with routine frequency for renewing prescriptions, annual physicals, and the occasional new health problem.

If most of their patients suddenly learned how to take charge of their own health, the future viability of the physician's practice would be greatly compromised. He or she would soon be out of business. The same dilemma arises in the "health coaching" business. What happens to your health coaching business when your clients no longer need you?

Following my article about the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, one reader posted the following comment:

Jim, Is there a course available for health coaching besides the T. Colin Campbell Foundation online course? Education is the answer to our health problems in western societies and I would like to be a health coach. Regards, Les

These two "health coaches" are targeting large organizations---helping them save money on healthcare.

My response. Thanks Les. Sadly, to my knowledge, there is no such course. Since there is no money to be made by people getting healthy, there is not a single for-credit course on plant-based nutrition at a single school of nutrition in the United States—and possibly the world. (If there is, Dr. Campbell and I don't know about it)

As for health coaching, my son Jason (shown here with me) is a certified personal trainer and will soon be certified in plant-based nutrition (Dr. Campbell’s course). In my opinion, that’s about the best combination you can have for health coaching. But teaching people how to take charge of their can be hazardous to your income. Read on:

For 3 or 4 years, my son worked with a client whose primary goal was weight-loss. And although Jason told him repeatedly that his food choices had much more to do with his weight than “working out,” he continued with his “meat and dairy” habits—-until recently.

About 18 months ago, Brian (a doctor himself) finally decided to adopt our 4Leaf Program. Since then, he has lost 46 pounds (207 to 161) and has discontinued ALL of his meds....AND...

He has recently fired his health coach/personal trainer.

Dr. Hurley on his way to vibrant health and a total weight-loss of nearly 50 pounds; almost 25% of his beginning total.

All those years that he "worked out" under Jason's direction, he was really trying to lose weight. But when he decided to "pursue vibrant health" instead, the excess weight took care of itself. And although he no longer needs Jason's services, they still remain very good friends. In fact, he often tells Jason—and others—that Jason saved his life. For an update on Dr. Hurley, click here.

The Bottom Line. There is not much money to be made by people becoming healthy. That being said, our book, this blog, my speaking engagements, my consulting work---essentially everything that I do is aimed at telling people everywhere EXACTLY how to take charge of their own health.

You won't find that information at the IIN, the NSHC, the AHA, the ACS or the ADA. You'll mostly find confusion. Maybe that's why their patients and clients continue to "need" them indefinitely. See my earlier post: “Confusion over clarity” at schools of nutrition?

Handy 4-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit---from

Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Diagnostic Survey. It takes less than five minutes and you can score it yourself. After taking the survey, please give me your feedback as it will be helpful in the development of our future 4Leaf app for smartphones. Send feedback to

J. Morris Hicks, working daily to promote health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

For help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4Leaf page or some great recipes at Lisa's 4Leaf Kitchen. Got a question? Let me hear from you at  Or give me a call on my cell at 917-399-9700. Blogging daily at from the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation




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