We’ve all been there, the person or company looks great and exactly what we’re looking for, and then once we sign on the line, we immediately realize the mistake we’ve made. Today I’m going to share some different things to look for when choosing health and wellness professionals that will hopefully make the decision a bit easier. It takes a little time on the front end, but saves us a lot of frustration and heartache on the backend (because wouldn’t it be nice if everyone was just honest up front?)
- Are they certified, and by who? Not every service you are seeking has a regulated state or national certifying body, or a university degree program of study by which they have completed in their field, but professional training is tantamount. Life experience is always nice to have with our practitioners, it makes them more empathetic and sympathetic, but life experience alone does not prepare someone to care for you and run a business. Verify certifications. Certifying bodies have ways for you to check professional credentials for those that tout their name, and there are also third party verification companies as well. For example, several of my certifications are held through the American Council on Exercise, and those certifications can also be cross-referenced through the US Registry of Exercise Professionals.
- Do they belong to professional organizations or business groups? Now, this can be a tough one for new businesses because the cost of joining organizations and maintaining memberships can be prohibitive as they are growing, but professional organizations and many business groups also vet the legitimacy of a business entity for their integrity before allowing them as a member. There are groups specific to the field of the individual’s field or just business as a whole. Organizations or groups that I belong to are You Define Wellness and my local Chamber of Commerce. One that I aspire to (that cost prohibitive thing…) is being an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau (this is important to me because I desire the external recognition of an ethically run business)
- References. Ask for references. Your provider should be able to provide professional references and possibly client references (if they have received a confidentiality waiver to do so)
- Testimonials. Either on their website or other review platforms, ask to see testimonials provided from clients or those that have worked with the provider.
- Registries. There’s a contact list for everything these days! Hopefully your provider in making themselves visible has put their contact information out there in multiple places so they can be found–and it’s up to date. I’m on several women in business registries, the You Define Wellness Provider Registry, and also the HAES (Health at Every Size(R)) Provider Registry (which involve a code of ethics for HAES aligned practices in order to be listed).
- Where do they show up? Again, new businesses sometimes are in a silo in simply operating the business, but is the business visible beyond the marketing and delivering of services? Where are they in the community? Are they on boards or committees? Do they give back of their time and talents? This is subjective, but to me, this is important in looking at anyone I work with—it shows me they aren’t just in their work for the paycheck, but they are part of something greater. Maybe it’s just important to me because I don’t know how I couldn’t not be a part of, but do a bit of research.
This isn’t an exhaustive list, maybe you feel differently about how you choose those that you work with, but let’s take a minute and talk about choosing MLM (multi-level marketing) companies.
If you’ve been on social media for all of five minutes, you’ve likely had “health coaches” or other MLM company representatives that call themselves a myriad of different things slide into your comments, DMs, and email. Some are legitimately coaches and have completed accredited programs independent of an MLM company, however them term coach is not regulated and your Beachbody, Optavia, and other MLM health coaches/products are not accredited coaches like someone who has actually completed a health coaching certification program through a certifying body. These MLM representatives are making you a promise that their program and/or products with provide you with a specific result based on studies. Ask for the studies. Then ask for a study not sponsored by their company. The research is independent–but follow the money, I have yet to have an MLM rep supply me a non-biased study proving the efficacy of their programs. That’s not to sway you from what they have to offer, it’s just food for thought–there’s no quick fix.
I’d love to know questions you have about choosing health and wellness providers, or any other information I can provide. Drop a comment or contact me directly!