How my gut health journey led me to health coaching

At Salvo Health, we partner with folks in removing gut health as a barrier to the lives they want to lead.


July 28, 2022

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May 2, 2024

From Our Health Coaches
From Our Health Coaches
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My road to Salvo Health was not linear, nor one I would have predicted. Now proudly serving as our Head of Health Coaching, there is some newfound meaning in those long nights I spent on the bathroom floor nearly a decade ago, clutching my stomach in pain. 

When my gut stopped working, so did my life. After several tiring, experimental months spent trialing countless diets, supplements, and alternative treatments, I pieced together some stability. No longer was my gut controlling where, when, or even if I would venture out into the world. What sweet freedom! But the road getting there was rough. Oh, what I would have given to have access to an evidence-based, whole-person program like Salvo Health, or indeed anyone who would have approached my care with curiosity and compassion. 

My biggest takeaway from that tough season of life: Nothing makes you appreciate your independence more than a time in which it’s taken away, and it became clear how much I wanted to prioritize my health moving forward. 

That’s when I first heard about health coaching. At the time, I was knee deep in my career as a music teacher, so my curiosity about coaching had to take a number and get in line. A few years later, I suffered a vocal hemorrhage—yet another trauma that I had no idea would give way to the most generative and energizing years of my life. I was forced out of the music teaching world as my vocal chords recovered from surgery, and I immediately knew that coaching was what I wanted to explore next.

Have you ever had one of those moments when you knew you were in exactly the right place at exactly the right time? That’s how I felt on my first day of coach training, when I heard the instructor say, “Sometimes, people just need a good listening to.” My former, bathroom floor self needed so badly to be heard, to have someone to walk the complex gut health journey alongside. Turns out, that’s exactly what coaches do, and I knew I had found my place. 

I immersed myself in the coaching world and honed my craft. It was then that I learned about how coaching is an unregulated industry—anyone with or without formal training can call themselves a coach, and of course the word coach is used in a variety of settings. For me, it was hard to imagine embarking on any coaching relationship without the rigorous training I had experienced, training that allowed me to become a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach. Even with that training, it was a process to integrate what I had learned with real clients, much like the experience of student teaching from my former life as a teacher. 

As I took my training wheels off, I began coaching at a company that delivered coaching services fully asynchronously—that is, text based. This environment became a playground for my growth as a coach as I supported lots of folks around all kinds of challenges and goals, with time to intentionally craft the words of each message I sent. Coaching is, after all, an art of skillful conversation facilitation—the words you choose shape the conversation, so it’s up to coaches to choose their words with purpose. Members echoed my appreciation of the flexibility message based coaching affords, with ample time to reflect on coaching conversations and integrate next steps into their lives on their own timeline.

Next I had the honor of supporting Chris Kresser, one of Salvo’s Clinical Advisory Board members, in the building of a fully virtual functional medicine clinic that leveraged the power of coaching for its members. I witnessed time and time again the power of message based coaching in democratizing access to credentialed coaching services for folks managing chronic conditions and implementing treatment recommendations into their daily lives.

There’s nothing quite like having a coach in your pocket—that skillful conversation facilitator who cares about the life you really want—who you can message at any time.

My coaching philosophy had taken shape, and I began teaching workshops focused on message based coaching skill development to my colleagues—the perfect intersection of my current and former careers. That winding road eventually led me back to where I started: gut health. 

At Salvo Health, we partner with folks in removing gut health as a barrier to the lives they want to lead. We help them get out of pain and into alignment with their values and goals. Our team of National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coaches look through the lens of our Whole Self Science approach, which explores the ways in which our body’s systems interact to create the state of our gut health. In other words, our coaches appreciate that gut health doesn’t only live in the gut. Our coaches powerfully facilitate this exploration of the body’s systems along with a member’s unique goals and needs all via messaging. There’s no schedules to jockey or appearances to be concerned with—this is gut health care that fits conveniently into your life. 

Here are six ways our Salvo Health members utilize their coach, inspired by my own gut health journey as well as the most impactful ways coaching has been leveraged in the other digital health environments I have been a part of.

  1. As an accountability partner so that you can stick with and make progress around your goals and your Salvo Health provider's recommendations
  2. As a trusted source of support and empathy through the ups and downs of your gut health journey
  3. As a brainstorm buddy to figure out how to best implement your Salvo Health provider's recommendations in a way that works in your life
  4. As a positive perspective giver who will help you leverage your strengths, reframe your setbacks, and celebrate your wins
  5. As a vetted resource for asking questions as well as learning new knowledge and skills that will help you level up your health
  6. As a skillful motivator who will help you unlock your 'why' and pursue your dreams for the future

Which of these would be most supportive and impactful for you? 

Your answer today may be different than your answer tomorrow, and that is the beauty of an evolving, tailored-to-you coaching relationship. And whatever it looks like today or tomorrow, the feeling of being accompanied on your path to becoming who you really want to be, living the life you really want to live, is a compelling one—one I craved during my gut health journey—and that’s what we offer our members at Salvo Health.

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