In guiding people through macrobiotic practice, there is a big leap to go from offering guidance for the most common widespread problems to guiding those with cancer, advanced cardiovascular problems, HIV, Lyme disease, serious psychological, addiction or nervous system problems, and other immune issues. It is possible however, to learn how to guide people with common problems in one year, especially with a previous year of personal macrobiotic practice. The following lists will help you see the main distinguishing characteristics of coaches and counselors.

Closeup image of Success flow chart on a blackboard
Abilities and Qualities of Coaches

—Has a broad understanding of macrobiotic diet, cooking, and lifestyle practices
—Helps people establish a clear direction for their health and life
—Helps to improve life of oneself and others through creating order and structure in diet, cooking, and lifestyle practices
—Provides support for creating order and structure
—Can provide a combined plan for what to do and how to do it based on the goal
—Can help with shopping, setting up a kitchen, menu-planning, and guidance on cooking and lifestyle practices
—Can offer support and encouragement, positive guidance, and critique on cooking and lifestyle practices
—Can offer remedies for non-life threatening illness (examples include: digestive problems, sleep or energy problems, allergies, colds, fevers and flus, blood pressure and cholesterol, regulating blood sugar, weight, menstrual difficulties, osteoporosis, first-aid and home remedies, etc.)
—Continuously refines and updates their own macrobiotic practice and cooking ability
—Can adapt macrobiotic practice to different climates and localities, conditions, lifestyles, needs, and interests
—Knows and understands their own limitations, and when it is appropriate to refer to a counselor
—If there is an intention to become a counselor, it is necessary for the coach to establish a regular connection with a qualified counselor.

A counselor is a coach with a greater depth of understanding, experience, and responsibility.

Additional Abilities and Qualities of Counselors

—Provides more accurate and detailed diagnosis
—Has more understanding to determine the potential severity of a problem
—Can guide people through the full range of health problems
—Can provide more specific recommendations and remedies
—Can better deal with emergencies and acute or critical situations
—Can give broader lifestyle guidance beyond experience or expertise of coach
—Has ability to understand the progression of an illness over time
—Has greater ability to know when to refer to a medical professional
—Has gained more experience following people through the whole of their healing journeys
—Has deeper insight into mind-body interactions and connections
—Can extend macrobiotic practice and lifestyle suggestions to include emotional and spiritual issues

A true macrobiotic counselor is committed to healing an individual, a family, a society, and even humanity using the principles and life experience of their own practice and counseling.

Next up, I will share the SHI approach to training and guiding students towards active coaching roles.