What it Takes to Thrive as a Health Coach

This week I’m joined on the podcast by Dr Sandi Scheinbaum, Co-Founder and CEO of the Functional Medicine Coaching Academy (FMCA).  We talked about what it takes to thrive as a health coach and have a successful holistic business.

{Click on the podcast player above to listen to this episode and/or read on for a detailed blog. Scroll down to the bottom for the show notes and links}

Dr Sandi Scheinbaum

It was five years ago, at the age of 65 that Dr Sandi started the FMCA and has trained 1000’s of coaches.  She took the unusual step of training functional medicine health coaches online, despite being advised against it.  In addition to being a successful business model, it was a fortuitous decision given the way we’ve had to adapt during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prior to starting the academy, Dr Sandi had had several careers.  She started out as a school teacher, working with children with special educational needs.  For most of her career, Dr Sandi was a clinical psychologist specialising in mind-body medicine before it was recognised in the mainstream.  She went on to train in functional medicine and was inspired to take all the health philosophies that she had studied, and integrate them into the emerging field of health coaching.

Dr Sandi’s mission is to train people to become functional medicine health coaches.  She believes they are the key to helping people overcome chronic disease by supporting them to achieve a better quality of life.

How does a functional medicine health coach differ from a standard health coach?

Dr Sandi explains that health coaches are not medical doctors; they do not diagnose or prescribe.  She goes on to explain the underlying philosophy of functional medicine e.g. functional medicine looks at the whole person and seeks to find the root cause of illness rather than separate the person into separate body systems.  Functional medicine asks why this person is experiencing a collection of symptoms at a particular time.

A functional medicine health coach helps a person understand why they’re experiencing the symptoms and to put the pieces of the puzzle together, helping them make changes.

A traditional health coach tends to support people to comply with recommendations prescribed by their doctor.

Why do some coaches struggle to thrive as practitioners?

Mindset and fear are two of the main reason’s practitioners don’t thrive.  Dr Sandi describes how some practitioners believe they must have everything perfect and in order before they start.  Their focus lies in factors such as social media, creating forms and learning all the information before jumping in and helping people.

Fear of making an offer also holds practitioners back even though they have the knowledge to help people.  Rather than making an offer which leads to a paying client, they allow someone to pick their brains for free.

In health, Dr Sandi believes that you have an obligation to make an offer if you can help someone improve their life.  She believes that many practitioners let imposter syndrome or their opinions that they do not have the right qualifications hold them back.  Functional medicine coaches from the onset learn to overcome limiting beliefs, how to make offers and know what their skill set is so that they outsource tasks such as website building.

What makes the practitioners that thrive stand out?

Dr Sandi believes those who thrive are true givers rather than takers.  People can see through a hard sale and will avoid them.  Be generous and your business will soar – exceed expectations.  Another way to thrive is to collaborate, don’t fear competition but partner with other practitioners.  Working with doctors and volunteering your services for a couple of patients can help build your profile.

Number one tip for practitioners starting out

Dr Sandi recommends practitioners should just jump in and start working.  Perfect your niche and defining who you are, and tell everyone you know.  Use your personal story too as this will help you to be remembered for what you do.

Podcast 41 show notes:

Find out more about Dr Sandra Scheinbaum and her work

Dr Sandi has generously offered you free access to her ebook: A Simple Guide to Relaxation Through Breathing. Get it here

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