3 Things to Look for in a Nutrition Coach
By: Brad Dieter, PhD
Read Time: 136 seconds
Hiring a nutrition coach is an investment, financially and emotionally. In an era where nutrition coaches are popping up left and right and abs and good butt are more likely get you followers on Instagram than solid content and brain power, navigating the waters in picking a coach can be difficult. Here are 3 quick things to consider when you look for a coach.
1) Find someone who cares about you.
99% of nutrition coaching is connecting with your clients, finding out who they are, and what makes them tick. 1% is dialing in the perfect macros and meal plan. For this reason it is imperative that you find a coach who actually cares about you are a person and your success.
Meaningful, long term success often requires personal changes. This is rarely achieved by simply handing someone macros, a meal plan, and an invoice. The coach-client/athlete relationship is one of the most important aspect of coaching. Find someone you can connect with on that level.
2) Look for Education AND Experience
Education and letters behind a coaches name are important. They mean that they care enough to go to school and to work hard at the intellectual side of their craft. This should not be taken lightly. Education and letters behind a name also don’t necessarily mean they are going to be an excellent coach who gets results. Usually advanced degrees are research related degrees. While research is useful it doesn’t guarantee results.
Experience is invaluable. Decades of coaching not only teaches you personal skills and how to relate and understand clients, it also gives you exposure to a wide range of clients and situations. As a beginning coach you have likely only encountered a few types of clients and have to really troubleshoot your way through a lot of things. As an experience coach you can reflect upon those earlier clients and can pinpoint answers faster. The education piece helps coaches temper their experience and continue to question and learn. However, if I had to weigh these things, I would probably weight experience over education.
3) Value a Bricolage Approach
Not every client is a nail, so a coach should not be a hammer. Part of coaching is developing a toolbox of skills you can use to apply to each individual client. If a coach states they are, “a keto coach” or “a paleo coach” you should inquire why they only use one tool to get results. Many different dietary tools can be used to achieve results in a context dependent manner. I prefer to adapt main principles to each client instead of prescribing my own personal biases or proclivities.