In May 2018, I graduated with my master’s in public health from UNC Greensboro. This time in my life was exciting, but also horribly stressful. Finding a job was a daunting task. I applied to several positions, went on numerous interviews, and even took a job with a temp agency for a while. I was working outside of my field of study, and although I was happy to have a job, I was certainly not happy with how things were going. Luckily, throughout my time as an MPH student, I had built a personal relationship with UNCG Health Coaching. As a graduate assistant with HealthyUNCG, we had worked closely with the health coaching program and their co-directors, Regina and Dan.
I reached out to Regina who gave me a couple of amazing opportunities. Because I was certified through UNCG Health Coaching, she took a chance on me and gave me a part-time position as their program manager. She also introduced me to the Office of Wellbeing at Wake Forest University where I was hired as a part-time health coach. Within a matter of weeks, I went from a desk job at a temp agency to taking on over 20 health coaching clients and creating a new health coaching services program for UNCG employees. I was suddenly overwhelmingly thankful for those three long days of training back in December of 2016.
Over this past year, I have gained valuable experience managing graduate assistants and volunteer coaches as well as being given the opportunity to practice and fine tune my skills as a health coach. I have now worked with over thirty clients, and I think my biggest takeaway is that there will always be areas of improvement. I still have to check my “righting reflex,” and sometimes I find it difficult to step back and allow the client to be the expert on themselves. I have also found that every client is extremely different and sometimes you have to adjust your coaching style accordingly. I have also had to learn that not all of my clients will walk away from coaching feeling like their lives have changed forever. Additionally, when a client does experience great success and they attribute it to me, I have to step back and help them recognize that their success was not my doing.
This past year has taught me a lot about myself. I’ve developed a coaching style and management style. I’ve realized that I am more capable than I ever thought I could be. I have very much enjoyed my time here with UNCG Health Coaching. However, it is time for new adventures! Back in February of 2019, I was offered a position with Oklahoma State University to be their employee wellness coordinator. I attribute much of this new opportunity to the experience I gained through my graduate assistantship with HealthyUNCG. However, I believe my health coaching certification and the experience I was given in starting a health coaching services program at UNCG, put me over the edge. Soon after I accepted the position, they told me that they wanted to start a health coaching program at OSU and they hoped I would bring it to their campus. Who knew that the three-day health coaching training I took in December of 2016 would lead to my first full-time position in employee wellness? I know I certainly didn’t. If this experience has taught me anything, it would be that I should never pass up on an opportunity. Who knows where it could lead?