Why Invest in a Health Coach?
A look at how working with someone you trust (using PCOS as an example) can ultimately save you time and money…
Many health coaches are asked, “Why should I invest in working with a health coach when I can find a lot of information about my condition online?”
It’s a good question.
Today I want to offer an answer using polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) as an example. PCOS is one of the common reasons clients reach out to us.
Even if you don’t have PCOS, you can apply this reasoning to any condition…
PCOS affects as many as one in 10 women and is one of the most frequent causes of female infertility. Even for women who aren’t trying to conceive, PCOS can dramatically impact health and quality of life, causing weight loss resistance, acne, irregular and painful menstrual cycles, thinning hair on the scalp, and excess hair growth on the face and chest.
A lot has been written about the condition from both traditional and functional perspectives. So why not use the free ‘School of Google’ to tackle the problem? One of the top reasons to not use Dr. Google is – “information vs. education.”
“Information may be free, but an education is priceless,” says life coach, Marie Forleo. And education – much more than information – leads to results. Or, more specifically, the kind of results that you want. Information can lead to results, but sometimes they’re not the results you want. Nor are they always lasting results, which is what everyone wants from their investment of not only money, but also time.
Here’s an example with PCOS: A lot of reputable sources encourage women to take chasteberry (also called vitex) for PCOS. And, indeed, chasteberry is a natural phytomedicine (aka herb) that’s widely considered safe and effective for several hormonal imbalances and hormone-related conditions.
Chasteberry is helpful for some women with PCOS. But some women’s symptoms get worse on chasteberry.
That’s because there are different types of PCOS – a fact that’s reported almost as infrequently as chasteberry is promoted as a remedy. Working with someone who knows these missing pieces can be invaluable.
The investment in working with a coach or another trusted professional pays off in the money you save on supplements or other “promised cures” that may be ineffective or, worse, harmful. Taking a scattershot approach to supplementation is one of the best ways we know of to waste money. Many of our clients have spent hundreds of dollars per month on supplements – yes, hundreds.
Not to mention, the time spent running around from practitioner to practitioner – or website to website.
Another reason to invest in your health? Multiple compounding factors.
I’ve never once worked with a client and identified “just one thing” that’s contributing to their health condition. Some lucky folks out there might be allergic to eggs, cut them out, and never have problems again. (If that is you, get in touch! I want to hear your story.)
For the vast majority of people, what’s causing them to feel crummy is multifactorial. Sleuthing out those factors takes collaboration, an individualized approach, and ongoing support.
Here are some of the many factors that can be at play in PCOS: insulin resistance, inflammation, leaky gut, androgen dominance, and adrenal dysfunction.
Are all of them always in play? No.
Are there times when all of them are a factor? Yes.
Do most cases fall somewhere in between? Yes.
Do lifestyle approaches to reversing PCOS symptoms differ based on which factors are in play? Yes. (And, sometimes, resoundingly so…see the chasteberry example, above).
Can you use Google to help sort out which factors might be affecting you? Maybe, but you need to know who to trust; you need to have a lot of free time to devote to piecing together not just the small bits of information, but the bigger picture. And you need to go through your own symptoms and lifestyle habits with a fine-tooth comb to get the best picture of what’s happening.
This can be tricky, because oftentimes we don’t even know what we don’t know.
Are we asking the right questions? Google can’t help you there.
A third reason to work with someone? Sequence.
Let’s say leaky gut is an issue for you, so where do you start? What comes first, addressing your gut health or using herbs to address your hormonal symptoms? If adrenal fatigue is an issue, when and how do you fit that in?
When someone is by your side, helping you investigate all the factors and piece together the bigger picture, you can customize a sequential approach that gets you better results faster, with no time spent bailing water out of a boat with a leak in the bottom (a situation people often find themselves in when they adopt a whack-a-mole approach, trying random therapies in random order).
Perhaps the most persuasive reason to work with a real-live human? Interaction.
No one at Google University is going to ask you questions, help you customize a plan, and offer ongoing support. There’s no automatic, “How are you feeling this week?” or, “How is the gluten-free experiment going?” when you just grab information from a webpage.
Google will never substitute for a real life cheerleader as you move through what for some, are significant lifestyle changes. Without that support, it’s way too easy to fall back on old habits.
Even if you find an app that sends out these kind of inquiries on a regular basis, the robot who receives the information on the other end doesn’t care about the response. Nor can it respond and tailor its response in real time.
As Jill has written many times: ‘Free’ simply cannot compete with a coach who wants you to succeed.