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Is now the best or worst time to become a health coach?

I've been engaged in a grand debate with myself about that question for several weeks now.

Let's start with the reasons that health coaching is a great career right now:

1. Coaching is compatible with social distancing.

I almost always coach via phone or video call, so it's a perfect modality for a world reeling from a pandemic. (By contrast, massage therapists and beauticians aren't getting a lot of business these days.)

2. People need help with their health behaviors.

So many of us are confused, scared, and uncertain about our futures that we're seeing an epidemic of “self-soothing” behaviors that undermine health. I'm hearing lots of stories of the “quarantine 15” – the extra weight folks are packing on as they cut back on physical activity and rely on food for their momentary bursts of happiness.

3. The stakes of chronic disease have never been higher – or more immediate.

With all the confusion and uncertainty around the coronavirus, one thing is abundantly clear from every study and analysis: people with chronic disease and unhealthy biomarkers are much more likely to experience severe cases of Covid-19, and are exponentially more likely to die from it than people with a clean bill of health.

The high blood pressure and obesity and high blood sugar that ordinarily take decades to manifest disease, disability, and death now predispose people to all those things in a matter of days or weeks. The long-term threat has morphed into an immediate menace.

4. You may be looking for a new career anyway.

Many of us have had our career trajectories completely upended by the pandemic's effect on the economy. Some of us are out of work entirely. Some are now underemployed. And many of us still have jobs, but feel a new sense of urgency to be of service in a way that our current career doesn't allow.

Health coaching can supplement or replace income, and for those of us passionate about health and plant-based living, aligns with some of our deepest values.

Now let's talk about why now is the absolute worst time to become a health coach.

1. People want comfort right now, not coaching.

It's weird – when the pandemic really rocked the Western world, I figured that people would be beating down my door for help reversing their chronic diseases. I soon noticed that people were so stressed out and upset and panicked, the last thing many of them wanted was a “self-improvement project.” When we're stressed out, it's much easier to self-medicate with junk food and Netflix than to embark on a journey of personal betterment. This may change as we get more used to the “new normal” (whenever it arrives, and whatever it looks like) and the risks of chronic health problems outweigh the inertia and denial, but right now the world is not crying out for health coaching.

2. People have less disposable income to spend on things like coaching.

Folks who might have been able to come up with a hundred (for a group program) to several hundred bucks a month (for 1-on-1 private coaching with an experienced, high-end coach) may need that money for mortgage, rent, food, and other necessities of life. Or if they still have disposable income, they may be more inclined to save it for whatever is coming.

3. You may feel like a fraud these days.

If your life is off-balance and you're socially isolated, maybe you've dropped your own standards of healthy behavior and don't feel like you have the right to help others.

While there's validity to the concept of being in integrity (do before you teach), please realize that screwing up from time to time doesn't make you ineligible to be a coach. What it makes you, is human.

There's no shame in falling down from time to time. Lack of integrity is an issue only if you refuse to use the tools, techniques, and strategies of coaching on yourself. If you fall and pick yourself up every now and then, you're actually going to be a more, not less effective coach. Because you'll have an experiential base for true empathy, rather than the “superiority trap” that many coaches fall into.

What do you think? Are you hot to become a health coach right now, or it is the furthest thing from your mind?

Either answer makes perfect sense to me ๐Ÿ™‚

If you are still interested, please consider joining the next WellStart Health coach training program, which begins on May 18, 2020. You can read about it and apply here:

If you've already taken the course and want to participate in this run as a refresher version, look for a separate email with a link to register directly (and at a “Pay from the Heart” discount of your choice).

If this will be your first time, I'm making partial scholarships available on an individual basis. After the enrollment conversation, if we both agree that it's a good fit, we'll figure out a price and payment plan that fits your needs and mine.

Looking for Transformational Change?

You know how when you discovered plant-based eating, you basically went, “Holy shit, how come the entire healthcare system isn't totally embracing this as one of the most powerful keys to disease prevention and reversal!”?

That's how I feel now about a psychological approach to transformational change called “Memory Reconsolidation.” Few psychologists have heard about it, and when they do hear the radical transformations it can bring about in a very short time, they're often skeptical to the point of disbelief.

But I've added Memory Reconsolidation work to my own coaching, and can attest to its amazing efficacy. So much so, my team and I are studying with the best clinicians and teachers in the world, with the goal of introducing it into our health coaching training.

If you're interested in experiencing the magic of memory reconsolidation coaching with me or a member of my team trained in the process, click the link below to open the form in a new browser tab. Someone will get back to you within 3 business days.

Yes, I'm interested in Memory Reconsolidation Coaching.

You CAN Change Other People!

Well, that's what Peter Bregman and I claim in our provocative book of that title.

What we really mean is, you can help the people around you make behavioral changes in their own best interests. If you think you're powerless to help people change, it's because you've been going about it the wrong way.

Discover our straightforward, replicable process here: You Can Change Other People.

Audiobook: Use the Weight to Lose the Weight

Listen to Josh LaJaunie and me narrate our latest audiobook, about how to start moving when you're obese.

It's $10, and Josh and I split it evenly ๐Ÿ™‚

Tip Jar

This podcast is not underwritten by advertising, so I can experience complete editorial autonomy without worrying about pissing off the person paying the bills. Instead, I pay the bills, with your help. It's free for those who can't afford to pay, and supported by those who can. You can contribute to the growth and improvement of the podcast by clicking the “Support on Patreon” or “Donate” buttons on the right to help out.


The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.

It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.

You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website,


Thanks to Plant Yourself podcast patrons – Kim Harrison – Lynn McLellan – Brittany Porter – Dominic Marro – Barbara Whitney – Tammy Black – Amy Good – Amanda Hatherly – Mary Jane Wheeler – Ellen Kennelly – Melissa Cobb – Rachel Behrens – Tina Scharf – Tina Ahern – Jen Vilkinofsky – David Byczek – Michele X – Elspeth Feldman – Leah Stolar – Allan Kristensen – Colleen Peck – Michele Landry – Jozina – Sara Durkacs – Kelly Cameron – Janet Selby – Claire Adams – Tom Fronczak – Jeannette Benham – Gila Lacerte – David Donohue – Blair Seibert – Doron Avizov – Gio and Carolyn Argentati – Jodi Friesner – Mischa Rosen – Michael Worobiec – AvIvA Lael – Alicia Lemus – Val Linnemann – Nick Harper – Bandana Chawla – Molly Levine – The Inscrutable Harry R – Susan Laverty the Panda Vegan – Craig Covic – Adam Scharf – Karen Bury – Heather Morgan – Nigel Davies – Marian Blum – Teresa Kopel – Julian Watkins – Brid O'Connell – Shannon Herschman – Linda Ayotte – Holm Hedegaard – Isa Tousignant – Connie Haneline – Erin Greer – Alicia Davis – Heather O'Connor – Carollynne Jensen – Sheri Orlekoski of Plant Powered for Health – Karen Smith – Scott Mirani – Karen and Joe Crabtree – Kirby Burton – Theresa Carrell – Kevin Macaulay – Elizabeth Rothschild – Ann Jesse – Sheryl Dwyer – Jenny Hazelton – Peter W Evans – Dennis Bird – Darby Kelly – Lori Fanney – Linnea Lundquist – Emily Iaconelli – Levi Wallach – Rosamonde McAtee – Dan Pokorney – Stephen Leinin – Patty DeMartino – Mike and Donna Kartz – Deanne Bishop – Bilberry Elf – Marjorie Lewis – Tricia Adams – Nancy Sheldon – Lindsey Bashore – Gunn Marit Hagen – Tracey Gulledge – Lara Hedin – Meg from Mamasezz – Stacey Stokes – Ben Savage – Michael K – David Hughes -Coni Rodgers – Claire England – Sally Robertson – Parham Ganchi – Amy Dailey – Brian Tourville – Mark Jeffrey Johnson – Josie Dempsey – Caryn Schmitt – Pamela Hayden – Emily Perryman – Allison Corbett – Richard Stone – Lauren Vaught of Edible Musings – Erin Hastey – Sean Owens – Sagar Naik – Erika Piedra – Danielle Roberts – Michael Leuchten – Sarah Johnson – Katharine Floyd – Meryl Fury – for your generous support of the podcast.


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