Catalyst Health, Wellness and Performance Coaching

National Board Certification - Interview with NBHWC Executive Director and Director of Operations - #027

April 01, 2019 ICHWC Executives Leigh-Ann Webster and Nicole Pope Season 2 Episode 11
Catalyst Health, Wellness and Performance Coaching
National Board Certification - Interview with NBHWC Executive Director and Director of Operations - #027
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Catalyst Health, Wellness and Performance Coaching
National Board Certification - Interview with NBHWC Executive Director and Director of Operations - #027
Apr 01, 2019 Season 2 Episode 11
ICHWC Executives Leigh-Ann Webster and Nicole Pope

The health and wellness coaching profession moved in a very positive direction in September of 2017 when the National Consortium of Health and Wellness Coaching (NBHWC - formerly the ICHWC) initiated the very first National Board Certification in partnership with the National Board of Medical Examiners. This brought a new level of accountability and respect to a profession that was functioning at the time like the wild, wild west. 

In this informative and engaging interview, NBHWC Executive Director Leigh-Ann Webster and Director of Operations Nicole Pope were both kind enough to join us to share the history of the organization, a peek into their crystal ball about what's coming next, and their wisdom about how professional health and wellness coaches can optimize their careers. We were very fortunate to have them share their time and knowledge with us and we think you'll find this episode to be extremely valuable to your coaching career!

Show Notes Transcript

The health and wellness coaching profession moved in a very positive direction in September of 2017 when the National Consortium of Health and Wellness Coaching (NBHWC - formerly the ICHWC) initiated the very first National Board Certification in partnership with the National Board of Medical Examiners. This brought a new level of accountability and respect to a profession that was functioning at the time like the wild, wild west. 

In this informative and engaging interview, NBHWC Executive Director Leigh-Ann Webster and Director of Operations Nicole Pope were both kind enough to join us to share the history of the organization, a peek into their crystal ball about what's coming next, and their wisdom about how professional health and wellness coaches can optimize their careers. We were very fortunate to have them share their time and knowledge with us and we think you'll find this episode to be extremely valuable to your coaching career!

Speaker 1:

[inaudible] .

Speaker 2:

Welcome to the latest episode of the catalyst health and wellness coaching podcast. My name's Brad Cooper and I'll be your host and for those of you who are serious about health and wellness coaching or you think you're moving that direction, today's episode, you can't miss it. We have with us today two of the people who are most instrumental in the development and the foundational aspects of the international consortium for health and wellness coaching or IC HWC . You've heard us talking about that many, many times. It's a critical area for our profession and today we've got the two people that are , are really helping to drive that. Let me tell you a little bit about them . First of all, we have Leanne Webster. She's the executive director for the ICH WC and the owner of 52 healthy weeks. She has over 20 years of experience in marketing and communications and is a nationally board certified health and wellness coach and certified personal trainer. She's an active board member for the San Diego regional Y YMCA and believes all people should have opportunities to live healthy and energetic lives in her spare time. Leanne enjoys spending time with her family being in nature as much as possible. Trail running, hiking and cooking and travel. Nicole Pope is the director of operations for the international consortium for health and wellness coaching. She was raised in Minnesota, spent 14 years in Georgia and is now settled in Arizona where she enjoys the as she likes to laugh about dry heat. Her background is in healthcare management and operations. She's passionate about finding ways to help organizations run more smoothly and loves a good spreadsheet. There's a unique attribute right in her spare time. Nicole enjoys hiking, playing cards with her family and devouring books. Just to reminder, you can access additional resources including a transcript of this episode@catalystcoachinginstitute.com now let's jump in. If you have any questions about anything they talk about, you can always reach out to us@resultsatcatalystcoachinginstitute.com we're happy to chat now on with the latest episode of the catalyst health and wellness coaching podcast. All right, well Leanne and Nicole, thank you so much for joining us today. Very excited about this. Lot of coaches wanting to hear straight from you, the experts on ICS, WC, the NBC HWC and where we're going . And I definitely want to dive into that with both of you. But let's start off with a little background. If you could fill our listeners in a little bit about the two of you. Maybe Leanne , if you could start us a little bit about your background, how you ended up to this point and how this journey kind of came together for you.

Speaker 3:

Sure. Let's see. I'll start with, I used to own a marketing and communications company and I found that I naturally was attracted to working with people in the health and wellness industry. Um, I worked with a lot of athletes. Um, I worked with whole foods, wild oats market , um, a lot of healthcare practitioners and help them develop their marketing communications pieces and messaging. And I did that for about a decade. And then I , um, decided to start a family and cited that I would , um, be a stay at home mom for a while . So I did that, but I think I was just used to doing a little bit more. So that kind of led me to the field of actually , um , becoming a health and wellness coach and becoming a personal trainer. And I got those certifications in 2008 and just kind of been working my way forward with , um , those certifications and my marketing and communications background and ended up hearing about this position about four years ago. And I was incredibly intrigued because I knew that the field of health and wellness coaching had no standards in place and that really bothered me. And so the position opened and I , um, applied for it and got it and kind of been incredibly busy ever since. Wow. Wow. Very cool. How about you Nicole? Yeah, so my background is different than lands . I do not have a background in health and wellness coaching. I, my degree is in healthcare management and I always saw myself working in more of the business side of healthcare. So that's where I was starting out back in the early two thousands. And then , um, my husband and I adopted two beautiful little babies and I ended up staying home with them for the first eight years for, well , for eight years. And I loved that. But then when my youngest started school, I wanted to jump back into working again, but I really didn't know where to start. Started doing admin work and different things for a few different small companies. And one thing led to another and it was very kind of, when I look back at it, it feels very fateful that somehow one of my connections ended up leading me to IC . SWC having an opening and um , I called Leanne and we had an interview and we talked for like 40 minutes and we just love each other right away to have that job just to work. I didn't , I knew nothing about health and wellness coaching. I had never, my cousin is a health and wellness coach, so I knew a little bit about from what she was doing professionally, but that was very minimal. Um, but right when I started I became very passionate just about like what Liam said, there being no standard. And then the more I learned, the more I felt like what we were doing really mattered, which gave me a passion just to keep learning and doing. And I'm very operational minded. I love spreadsheets, I love accounting. I'm more at that it . So Leanne and I are a great team cause she's very passionate and she is a people person and great at marketing. So we became this great team. So that's how I ended up here. And I'm just never going anywhere. I'm going to stay here. I always say that Nicole fills my void.

Speaker 2:

Well we are very happy to hear you're not going anywhere cause you guys are crushing it. It's very exciting to hear all the updates coming out and everything else. So I can see how that , that combination of the list logistics and the passion. Awesome team. So let's talk a quick a little bit or, or for our listeners that it's a little bit new to, this is the international consortium for health and wellness coaching and it's the national board exam. Can you walk us through a little bit of the history of how did we get here professionally to where we are with this national board exam for health and wellness coaches to give us so much more legitimacy as a profession?

Speaker 3:

Sure. Well, it all started as a conversation back in 2010 a few of our board members were at a conference and Margaret Moore and Karen Lawson started talking and they were just discussing the fact that there was no standard in place for the field and you know, really felt like the field was growing like the wild West. And so they decided to create a board of directors and a nonprofit entity and became official in 2012 and then I think that one of the biggest things that we did took place in 2014 and that's when our board of directors brought together thought leaders from all over the country to create what's called a job task analysis. And that's when you identify the knowledge, tasks and skills that somebody in your profession should have in order to do that, it to do the profession adequately. And so we created the job task analysis and that really was the , became the basis for what's now called the content outline. And that content outline is the basis for the exam. So the exam, we hit a real high point, I guess you could say with the organization when we partnered with the national board of medical examiners in may of 2016 and worked together to take that job task analysis, break it down into a continent content outline and then create a very robust exam. The national board of medical examiners has been around for over a hundred years and they board certified physicians. So we kind of saw this as win-win and so did they. And we've been married ever since.

Speaker 2:

Huge move. I completely agree that that instantly credibility wise, locked it in . Right, right out of the gate. So excellent move there. Very good. Let's talk macro a little bit. How do you see this benefiting the coaching industry as a whole lot of questions that come to us at catalyst about that. What do the two of you see with that? On a macro level,

Speaker 3:

I think that what we'll start to see is the public will begin and this is going to take years, but I believe that the public is going to start to ask, well, what are, you're calling yourself a health coach? What are your qualifications? What training do you have? Um, so that's w , you know , that's what we're hoping for with the public. Um, what we're starting to already see in organizations is that they are now saying we only want to work with or hire people who are eligible to become national board certified or who already are national board certified. So we're starting to see that in health care . And I think , um , thinking very big picture all of this , um, standard standardization and legitimacy, what we're working towards longterm is insurance reimbursement. So that's, that's where we're hoping to go with all of this. Nicole , do you have anything to add? So I would say that I would agree with what you're saying and I just think that the public being informed as somebody that came in from the outside , um , without being part of the health and wellness coaching world. Um, it was shocking to realize how there was no standard, how a train , how a program, somebody that had training that was a couple hours long was calling , could be called the same thing as somebody who had a master's degree or who , who went to a very , uh , in depth program where they learn exactly what it means to be a health and wellness coach. But these two different groups can call themselves the same thing. And I think that , um , getting the word out so that people know for me a lot of people aren't aware that that is the situation currently. So ad getting the word out about the national board certification, what that means, I think it's going to be a huge turning point for the industry.

Speaker 2:

Beautiful. Yep . Cool . Okay. And then let's go to the micro level. So at the coaching level for the individual coach listening to this saying, and hopefully most of them know about this, but for the person that says, Oh my word I that this is, this is new to me. Or the person who says, okay, yeah, I've known about this, I'm already board certified. How's it benefiting that individual in terms of this new development you've got?

Speaker 3:

I think that it really makes a difference that people can now say they're board certified that hold clout in health care . It matters. People automatically associate the word board certification with training and education. So I think that what I've heard from people who are practicing national board certified health and wellness coaches is that they're beginning to see and feel more respect in the industry, particularly from physicians, nurses, anybody involved in healthcare. So I think that that's what they're feeling is respect . And I think that it really means something to be able to say that you attended a training program and you put some effort into this, you know, and that you, you can call yourself national board certified because you did something to earn it. So that's , that's what I'm seeing. And I think too , the comradery that's coming out of this, it's fun to watch that we are contacted all the time by people who have passed the exam and they want to connect and they want to be a part of growing the field and legitimizing it. And I think that's been really cool. There's meetup happening all over the country now where it's groups of national board certified health and wellness coaches that are getting together and discussing and networking. And that's been really fun to watch too. So that's on another side of it. A fun micro kind of thing to be watching.

Speaker 2:

Love it. Yeah. We just had one here in Denver this last weekend. So hearing great things about those meetups.

Speaker 3:

Yep . And then the other thing that's come out of it is a national directory. And that really came, we , we were never intending to have a directory, but what happened was a few years, like two years ago, I think it was January of 2017 my phone started ringing and it was people from the public asking if I could refer them to a coach. And this was before we had even launched the first exam because the first exam wasn't even launched until September of 2017. So after the third phone call I said, can I find out how did you even get my phone number?

Speaker 2:

Yeah .

Speaker 3:

Actually , um , Oh, magazine had done a story on health coaching and people were looking us up online and then calling. And so it became very evident that day that we really needed a national directory of NBH WCS. Nicole and I took it to the board and said, we need this. And we've been owning it. And developing it ever since. It's really helpful for people to be able to find a coach. And Nicole just spent a lot of January really perfecting the directory and making it so much better. So I think that people across the country will now be able to find coaches in their area much more easily.

Speaker 2:

That's so good to hear. Okay. So next question, we won't hold you to this, but let's just talk crystal ball here a little bit. Could you peek into your crystal ball a little bit and share some of what you see developing in the future for the ICH WC and health and wellness coaches in general?

Speaker 3:

As I alluded to before, I would really like to see insurance reimbursement. We are opening a lot of doors right now. Um, one thing that came to us in a while didn't come to us. We worked hard for it, but September of 2018 we received word that we had received a very large grant from the CDC to help develop the competencies in their DPP lifestyle coach program. And that's huge because it's also a door opener with the CDC and the government to get the word out about what we're doing. Um , in terms of the national board certification. And that partnership is also what we're, we're partnered with the CDC and then the American college of preventive medicine. So that's huge. And I think that'll really help open doors to have those discussions about insurance in the future. So I think that's one, one thing that I would say in my crystal ball that I see, I think my crystal ball also hopefully shows thousands and thousands of national board certified coaches doing good work, changing lives. Yeah. And I think too , I want to see in the future, down the road, I would love to see that health and wellness coaching, the heart of, of healthcare in that like when you go to the doctor and you figure out there's an issue that you're needing to work on, that it would just be the natural next step that you have a health wellness coach that's been walking you through that , um , and there to help you. So I would love to see that. In my crystal ball to see that in the future. It's just a natural part of healthcare instead of it being, you know , something that's a little bit alternative to what most people are doing in healthcare .

Speaker 2:

Okay, good. Really good. I'm sorry, go ahead.

Speaker 3:

Oh, I just wanted to say, and the other thing I would love to see in my crystal ball is that people actually understand the definition of a health and wellness coach. They understand that it's client driven, client centered behavior change, right? So that that's critical is that we get the message out there about what health and wellness coaching is.

Speaker 2:

Perfect question just came to mind. We have listeners from all over the world with this podcast and this is the international consortium. I know it's generally getting its its groundwork and its traction in the U S but any advice for coaches that might be listening in Asia or listening in the UK or, or some other area Australia, kind of what's happening or what you're hearing, and this may be another crystal ball type question, but just any, any thoughts to share in that element?

Speaker 3:

Oh sure. We have some international programs that recently applied for approval by our organization. So , um, we've got, you know , quite a few international programs that are adhering to the U S standard. So I think that'll be very relevant for international coaches or people who want to become health coaches throughout the world. They do have the ability to become national board certified, but it is per the national U S standard. And then the other thing I would say is just that we're still learning when it comes to the international market and what health and wellness coaching is. And we're learning a lot and we're learning about economic disparity and cultural differences. And the world is really different in a lot of ways in a lot of places. And so I think that the consortium is just really paying attention to that right now. And we're still in a very, very much a learning phase.

Speaker 2:

Very good. Okay, that's helpful. Thank you. So let's talk a little bit of logistics here. So maybe this isn't a cold question, but can you explain the difference between the transition phase and the permanent phase and what timelines people need to be aware of?

Speaker 3:

Oh, I'm going to let Leanne take that when she has this down.

Speaker 2:

Okay .

Speaker 3:

Oh my gosh. All right . Okay. So I like to look at the transition phase. I have it as phase one and then the permanent phase as phase two. So anytime you're trying to professionalize a field, whether it be, I don't know , paralegals or dental assistants or health and wellness coaches, you've got to start with a minimum standard and then raise the bar over time. So we opened the transition phase in July of 2015 with a very minimum bar of trainings . And it's really interesting too . We expected about 15 to 20 programs to apply. We had more than 60. It was insane. And it was just me. It was crazy. It was, I was the only employee doing all of it. And um, it was just crazy. And so, so anyway, that is the transition phase. It's, think of it as minimum a minimum set of standards for training. And education that a program needed to meet to qualify for approval. We're moving now into what has been referred to as the permanent phase, although I don't really like to use that word because what I'm finding is that nothing permanent, but under these news , that standards , the bar has more than doubled, right? So there's a minimum bar now of 75 hours of training and education and what's now in integrated into that is a health and wellness , um, lifestyle component, a health healthy lifestyle component . So that's now mandatory and integrated into those 75 hours. So if you're a person who's considering sitting for the exam, if you've already completed an approved program under the transition phase, then you definitely want to try to sit for the exam by February of 2021. If you don't, then you're going to be required to go back to a training program and take the requirements all over again and to meet the new higher standards . So what we like to tell people is that the application window for that February, 2021 exam will close October 30th, 2020. They've just got to make sure you meet all of your requirements under the transition phase by that date. Does that make sense?

Speaker 2:

It does. I just wondered , do you, did you purposely pick Halloween to be the day people wake up scared?

Speaker 3:

Well, we were like, do not make it October 31st we had this , we had to fight for that one.

Speaker 2:

Yep ,

Speaker 3:

sure . It's all over figuring out what window would work for when for when does that make the exam period? Because of the way the application window when we have to have our final numbers in. Yeah. We had many charts to figure out which dates would work for the rest of this transition phase to help the most amount of people will be able to sit before it closes.

Speaker 2:

Well that's where all those Excel skills come in, Nicole. Yeah ,

Speaker 3:

that's right. That's why I love her.

Speaker 2:

That's awesome. Okay, so let's, let's flip this a little bit. Let's put ICS PWC over to the side a second and we typically like to help our audience get to know you and in the wellness side of you. So if you're willing to share with us just one thing you're working on, you don't have it figured out, you know, some of the struggles you're going through with your wellness and how you're approaching it and how that's going. And it could be anything from sleep to nutrition to exercise to life balance in anything that you select. Tell us a little bit if you're, if you're willing.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I'll go . Okay . You go first, Nicole. Yes , this is very, very timely for me right now. I'm moving to working full time again, partly because I'm passionate about it now and love it. Um , it can be where you're working a lot and there's a lot to do, but I'm finding that recently I'm spending so much time sitting at my desk that my step count, it was embarrassingly low and this weekend I was just emailing or texting with Leanne , letting her know like you've got to hold me accountable because I've got to be moving more. So that seems like a very elementary kind of goal to be having. But when you get busy, it's very easy just to push it off and push it off and then end up the day's over and you haven't moved hardly at all. And working from home, I'm literally walking from my bedroom to my office and that's not very many steps. So that's where I'm at right now. And um , Leanne's done. Awesome. Every day. This week I've woken up to a text of what time are you going to go and how far are you going to go? And it's been very good to have. So that's where I'm at right now.

Speaker 2:

Great example. Thank you.

Speaker 3:

Are accountable to smart goals. I'm like, I'm like, if you can't just tell me you're going to work out today. I need to know what time I need to know what you're going to do and I need to know how long you're going to do it. So we definitely help each other. And I think for me it's interesting because just like Nicole said, this job is, it's overwhelming. We could work 24 hours a day. And one of the things that, there's two things that I found were happening to me. One of them was that I was waiting too long to work out in the day. So by the time I was getting to my workout, which would we tend to work in East coast schedule, so I might get to my workout around three o'clock and I wasn't putting in the amount of effort and energy that I, that I used to do. So I actually started noticing cause I have a smartwatch and I started noticing that I really wasn't getting into my cardio zone. I was just, you know, going power walking. But it just wasn't enough. And so actually just a few weeks ago I said, this is enough. This is not this, I am not going to allow myself to do this anymore. So I have been switching my workouts to the morning and you know, trying to get into my cardio zone for at least 45 minutes and just been holding myself to that at least four days a week. And I'm noticing a big difference just because I switched the time of day. The other thing was I found that Nicole, both Nicole and I were doing this together. We were literally, our kids would go off to school, we'd start work at like 7:00 AM and we weren't eating breakfast. And so now we both are accountable like did you eat yet? And we're making sure that we're eating breakfast before we start our job and it's helping consistently healthy.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. What a fun example where the two of you are. You're integrating the concepts that you're trying to get the world to adopt. It's, it's, that's encouraging. Very cool. Very cool. Alright , so last question is as a two parter final suggestions, recommendations you'd give. Let's first talk about folks that are out there listening who are on the fence. They're thinking, you know, this kind of sounds like a cool career. I, I, I love health and wellness or I had this personal transformation or whatever. I'm just not sure if I should go that route or not. What advice would you have for those folks that are sitting on that fence that might help them decide or might encourage them to go ahead and move forward or or anything you'd like to talk about there?

Speaker 3:

You know, I think it's really important to take, if you're, if you're a health and wellness coach or you're considering becoming one, I think it's really important to take a stand for your profession and say, you know what? I want us to be professionals. I want us to be educated. I want everybody in the field to feel that way and to represent the field and the profession as educated. I think that that would be the reason why I would consider the national board certification and then of course all the benefits that come with it, right? You become part of a national directory, you gain more respect when you say you're board certified, you , you get to attend, meet and greets and meet all kinds of other coaches. You get to use a special logo. But I think really it's about taking a stand for your profession and knowing that you want it to be the best that it can be and that you want to help as many people as possible in the right way.

Speaker 2:

Excellent. Excellent. Nicole, do you have anything you want to add to that? For the folks that are on the fence

Speaker 3:

and I would just recommend really looking at that job task analysis that we have on the site that really outlines what it is so that you, if you're thinking about entering the field of health and wellness coaching, just to get a real grasp on what it is and then we're always happy to talk to people. We get calls every day from people that are considering going to a training program or entering this field and we're always happy to help kind of talk through the different steps and benefits and all that kind of thing any time .

Speaker 2:

Wonderful. And I can vouch for that. You guys have been such a great resource for us as a provider, but we also hear about that from people that attend our course, that they talk to you. And, and the guidance you gave was Oh , so helpful. So great work. So the last little piece , um , kind of the extension of that question, someone who's already a health and wellness coach and, and they're looking for ways to continue to grow professionally. Any recommendations for that individual?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, you know, I think one of the things they have to do is really, if they're already a health and wellness coach, they need to see if they meet the eligibility requirements for the exam. Because there are quite a few people out there who call themselves health and wellness coaches and they have attended a program, but it may not be an approved program. So if that's the case, I would tell them to jump on board as soon as possible. Attend an approved program, do exactly what Nicole said, take a look at that job task analysis, which is now the content outline and try to make sure that you're eligible as soon as you can. So that you can sit for the exam.

Speaker 2:

Perfect. Nicole, anything you'd like to add there?

Speaker 3:

That's exactly what I would say as well. And we also like to that one thing we also , um , once you do become a national board certified health and wellness coach, we have great CE providers for that continuing education that we're working with them to really have them offer great , uh , resources for the coaches to be able to keep growing in their field and keep getting that new updated knowledge all the time.

Speaker 2:

Perfect. Well you too. Thank you so much. Really appreciate you jumping on and we hopefully will encourage to nudge this thing or continue to nudge this thing forward with the profession and that's for everything you're doing with this.

Speaker 3:

Thank you for having us.

Speaker 1:

[inaudible]

Speaker 2:

once again, thank you to Leanne Webster and Nicole Pope. The standards aren't industry folks. They are absolutely critical and we talk about that regularly on this podcast, but we thought it'd be helpful to hear directly from the ICH GWC and the folks that are really helping move this forward. So very much appreciate their time, their energy and sharing their expertise with us, their website. If you want to look into details with ICH WC or the international consortium for health and wellness coaching is I C H wc.org that's your key website you want to check into if you have any questions about any of this stuff. We're here for you. They're here for you too, but feel free to reach out to us. We'll happy to talk through how does the process work, what is this timeline they're talking about? When's the next course and how do you find out if a program's accredited? All those kinds of questions. That's what we're here to answer for you, so it's results@catalystcoachinginstitute.com results@catalystcoachinginstitute.com a few quick house cleaning items. They mentioned CU is you've got a lot of options on there and you can find some of those at the ICS to BC website. We do offer some of those and one of the ones that we're most excited about is the upcoming health and wellness coaching retreat in symposium. That's going to be taking place in Estes park, Colorado. Beautiful spot. If you're looking to kind of get refreshed and rejuvenated but also get those CES taken care of, that might be something you want to look into so you can check that out@catalystcoachinginstitute.com and just click that retreat button. Anything else? We're here for you. Feel free to reach out. We want to be that resource to keep the focus on evidence based practice on critical standards and moving the industry forward in the direction that frankly I think we all want it to go. Thank you for spreading the word about this podcast. If you've subscribed, shared it, pass it on to friends. We really appreciate it. That's the only way it's grown. That's , that's really, we really aren't doing any advertising so it's really just word of mouth. Until next time, remember the journey toward our best self begins with our better self and let's keep working toward that better than yesterday, both in our own lives and those around us. Make it a great day and I'll look forward to speaking with you soon. On the next episode of the catalyst health and wellness coaching podcast.