472: Institute for Integrative Nutrition Health Coach Training Program, Jim Curtis

Ashley James And Jim Curtis


  • What makes IIN different from other health and wellness schools
  • Bio-individuality
  • What's new at IIN

Jim Curtis is the Chief Revenue Officer & Head of Brand at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN). Before joining IIN, Jim helped develop WebMD, Everyday Health, and Remedy. He is also the author of The Stimulati Experience. In this episode, Jim shares what's new at IIN and what you can gain from studying at IIN.


Hello, true health-seekers and welcome to another exciting episode of Learn True Health podcast. Back when I started this podcast, I had come really far in my healing journey but I wasn't done. And you're never really done, are you? But I had accomplished reversing type 2 diabetes, chronic adrenal fatigue, chronic infections, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and infertility, and that's a lot. And I've been working on myself to get to a point where I've considered myself to have optimal health. I'm not there yet, but I am way closer to my goal than I've ever been.

So when I started the podcast, I had already accomplished all that, and I was still working on solving some of my health issues, right? I did not know what health coaching was when I started my podcast. I was actually doing a lot of coaching with clients for years, but I didn't really have a strong grasp on the definition of what it is to be a health coach. I kind of wrote it off as something froufrou or something really superficial like probably someone who tells you to go for walks and drink water. I didn't respect it because I didn't understand it.

But as you know, if you've been a listener for a while, I am the most open-minded skeptic. I'm going to think critically, but I'm going to give things that maybe I just write off or just dismiss, I'm going to give them a chance. I'm going to have an open mind and try things on even if they go against my belief system because I want to grow. I want to grow outside of my own belief system, I want to learn things like the things you don't know you don't know.

That's the realm of possibility where you're so open to learning about the unknown. You see, there are things we know we know, right? We know we know how to tie our shoes. We know we know how to drive a car, and there are things we know we don't know. I know I don't know advanced calculus or I know I don't know how to fly a plane. Just taking the stuff you know you don't know and learning it is only about 5% of your life. That is not nearly as fun as being open. Opening your mind up to the things you don't know you don't know. You don't even know there's this whole world out there of possibilities. You don't even know they exist and you don't even know you don't know them yet.

That's where I like to live. And especially with my podcasts, I like to have guests that show me a world I didn't even know existed and show me that it's possible. It's been through holistic medicine that what I didn't know I didn't know came to light. I didn't even know there was this world where I could reverse disease naturally. That my body was deficient in nutrients that could reverse disease because I was raised in that same system you were where we waited to get sick, then we went to the doctor, and we were put on drugs to manage something but never cure it, never reverse it.

I was, for many years, told by an endocrinologist and doctors that I would always have these conditions, always have these issues—diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and infertility. I was told I'd absolutely never have kids. That's the reality that most people live in. But there's this whole other world you don't even know exists. And of course, you're listening to this podcast so you do know that there is holistic medicine and that the body can heal itself. But there's this whole other world that is waiting for us, and that's 95% of reality out there is what you don't know you don't know. That's the exciting part. So open your mind and let the unknown come in and show you that there's another way of being that allows you to transform your life.

With today's guest, it's a little bit different. I had Joshua Rosenthal on the show back in episode 106, so that was quite a while ago. Joshua Rosenthal is the founder of IIN, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and that's a great episode. You should go back and check it out, episode 106.

When I first started the podcast, I had no idea what health coaching was. I looked down upon it because I didn't respect it, I didn't know what it was. And I had a health coach on the show. This was very early on, probably in the first 40 episodes. He told me about the school that he graduated from, IIN, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and he said that it's an online program. It's been around since 1992 and they're the world's first health coach training program, also the world's largest, and the most organized.

So I looked into it, I spoke with them, and that same day I enrolled. I went from being completely skeptical, but you know, open-minded, to just absolutely feeling that this was my path, that this was the next step for me. I learned so much about myself and about how to help people through that program. What I loved is that health coaching is not just eating apples, drinking water, and going for walks. Health coaching, most of it, is actually emotional counseling. It's helping people to peel back the layers and really help themselves to bring joy and expression, love and vitality into every single area of their life, and to help balance every area of their life with that experience of joy.

The fun part about health coaching is that you help people—by asking the right questions—to uncover their joy in each area of their life. Even though you do learn 100 dietary theories in the health coaching program through IIN, most of the time you're not even talking about food because so much of it is about our habits, behaviors, beliefs, and emotions. And so health coaching really is about helping someone achieve the goals that they set out for themselves.

What I like about IIN is that they are the most authentic company I've ever met. What they teach they also practice. So behind the scenes, I've actually had the CEO on the show as well. I've had a few of the staff members on the show, kind of just getting a glimpse, pulling back the curtain. I kind of love doing that, pulling back the curtain and seeing what goes on behind the scenes?

Well, today, we have another staff member who is high up in the company, and he gets to pull back the curtain a bit and show you what it means to have a truly holistic company. If you are a business owner, imagine how you can shape your business so that your employees and you have the most healthy experience. Now, they have a very low rate of attrition. They have a really profitable model because they actually invest in the health and well-being of their staff. And that's really exciting because I see that they're modeling something that is the wave of the future. If you can imagine every single business truly being holistic and taking care of their staff, how beautiful and how healed this world would be.

So enjoy today's episode as you listen from the perspective of imagining this world, imagine a futuristic sci-fi where every single company treated their staff like IIN treats their staff, how neat that would be. And then if you're interested in adding tools to your tool belt, I highly recommend checking out the free sample class. So you can go to learntruehealth.com/coach. That's learntruehealth.com/coach, and there you'll get a free sample class and you can check out IIN yourself. We do talk a bit about the program. They have a 6-month program, they have a 12-month program. It's a 12-month program, you can do part-time or full-time.

They also have smaller classes. They have newly adopted smaller classes, a few week-long classes if you are looking just to not become a health coach but looking to grow yourself. I love the health coach training program. About half of the people that go through it every year go through it just for their own personal growth and to help them become healthier and help them help just their family and friends. So that's definitely something to check out. I highly recommend it.

And of course, IIN gives the listeners a really great price. So when you do talk to them, you can mention that you heard it from me, Ashley James, the Learn True Health podcast. And also use coupon code LTH most of the time when I interview someone. I asked them to get us a coupon code LTH and give the listeners a discount. And when you do, mention my podcast. They do give all the listeners a really, really great discount.

Awesome. Thank you so much for being a listener. Thank you so much for sharing my podcast with those you care about. Come join the Learn True Health Facebook group, we'd love to see you there. Check out the IIN, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition sample class. It was quite moving. I thought it was awesome. It's free. Check it out. Go to learntruehealth.com/coach. Enjoy today's interview.

[00:09:58] Ashley James: Welcome to the Learn True Health podcast. I’m your host, Ashley James. This is episode 472. I am so excited for today's guest. We have Jim Curtis on the show. Now, you are the Chief Marketing Officer, the Chief Brand Officer of IIN, is that correct? Is that how I say it?

[00:10:23] Jim Curtis: Yes. I handle the business side of things. So marketing, sales, community. I wear many hats here.

[00:10:32] Ashley James: Now, why that excites me to interview you is because this is a health podcast. We're approaching 500 episodes. I've had many of the teachers that teach the students of IIN, IIN being the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, the school that I graduated from a few years ago. I graduated in 2017 I think it was. Time kind of flies. All of a sudden you look back and it's been years and years, but I have interviewed many of the teachers that have made videos for the students of IIN. We've had actually hundreds of my listeners, either they already are graduates of IIN or they signed up and became students of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition after hearing my podcast, so it's really exciting.

What I love about IIN is I walked in thinking I'm just going to learn a lot about nutrition and I learned so much. That was just such a fraction of the piece of the pie. I learned so much about myself, about creating really true happiness, and balance in every aspect of my life. There's so much more in terms of fulfillment, emotional, spiritual, and mental health. Doesn't that just really make so much sense when it comes to health coaching, right? It's not about how many carrots you eat and how many glasses of water you drink. At the end of the day, if every other part of your life is falling apart and you're miserable but you're eating healthy, you're still not achieving health.

So I love that I learned from my IIN how to help myself, my family, my clients, and my friends to find the things in each area of their life that they want to enrich and all the tools that I gained to help them do that. 

What I was excited about having you on the show, I've had your CEO on the show who was so amazing. I had the founder of IIN on the show, who I'm such a big fan of Joshua, and then to have you on the show. And of course, I've had graduates and I've had other staff members who share fun stories like you guys have free avocados for your employees. There's a yoga and there's a meditation room.

Your company believes in that work-life balance, and I think that if every company on the planet modeled themselves after IIN, we would have such a happier world. Companies would save money because they wouldn't have such a high turnover rate of employees. I want to know more about you and the branding and marketing side of IIN because this isn't like Amazon where you guys exhaust and work your employees to the bones. You are a company of the future. You are a company that I want to learn from because you're a company that models holistic health for your employees and for your customers, for the students. It’d be really interesting, from a health perspective, to look at how IIN markets itself, brands itself, but also, I hear really exciting things are coming in 2022. I'm so excited to learn from you, welcome to the show.

[00:13:52] Jim Curtis: Oh, it's so great to be here. I love all those things that you said about the business. It's particularly important to me because, for 20 years, I've been a coach, a wellness teacher, and in business. I think that goes hand in hand for everybody who's listening to this too who are both trying to run a coaching business or another wellness business and be the teacher in that business. So IIN is kind of a great example, and I think I'm a good example of my own career, how I brought the two together, and how we kind of help our students to bring the two together.

I think that some of our employees would disagree with you about working them to the bone because we work people so hard here and they work so hard here. But what we know is that oftentimes, we're sacrificing and working the weekends because it has such a profound effect on the health of people. We can see it from a one-to-one basis meaning we will get a story written constantly of a student or a graduate that we've changed their life so dramatically and had such an impact that the hard work, the sacrifice, the late hours, and the weekends are worth it. So that's kind of what we're doing.

And yes, we do spend an enormous amount of money on avocados, more when we are actually in the office more often. We do have a chiropractor and acupuncturist. We cater a delicious lunch for everybody every day that people are in the office now. We'll just shut the office for a week around the holidays or we'll take all the employees on a trip where you don't have to do any work or even meet. They just go out and have dinner. The last time it was in North Carolina. There are a lot of lifestyle elements, and of course, everybody in the company can take the courses. That's some of the perks of IIN.

[00:15:53] Ashley James: I love it. Because when I was first looking into IIN, any staff member I spoke to when I called were also graduates, and I thought that that was really neat. I know it's not every single staff member is a graduate, but more often than not, you throw a stone in IIN and you're going to hit a graduate. They're health coaches as well. So talking to them didn't feel like a high-pressure sales call, which is what I was really expecting because I've called other companies who do online education and it felt like they were trying to sell me used car insurance. But with IIN, the conversation was more about my goals, where I want to see myself, how would this help me, and how would this help me help others. So the conversation was more about the ripple effect and the fulfillment that IIN can bring as a student and as a graduate.

[00:16:50] Jim Curtis: The authenticity in business is super important to us. I have so many students and grads writing to me just talking about how they position themselves as wellness pioneers and coaches with authenticity. Over the last two years since health coaching has become so popular, there's been a lot of schools that pop up. We kind of look and say, are they walking their own walk? Are their employees actually trained health coaches, or is it you just sign up online and then go take your videos type of thing?

Ninety percent of our employees are trained by IIN, and then when you come and start at the company, you can take the course, which most people do. And we really believe in a path to employment. When people graduate from IIN, our alumni services help get them and show them job opportunities. So we partner with companies like Wellory and many others so that IIN graduates get hired first, and then we hire our graduates. 

We've hired hundreds of people who have graduated to be employees, and oftentimes, they don't have the exact background that we need in business but we can teach them. We know that they're amazing people and very well trained because they've been through our program for a year or in a very intensive six months. So that authenticity, that eat your own dog food type of saying is so true to us and important to us.

[00:18:35] Ashley James: You, before joining IIN, have been part of some major health brands that we would recognize. What was attractive about IIN that had you want to join and work for them? Because I think you could have had your pick of so many different companies.

[00:18:59] Jim Curtis: I was. I had started my own businesses and exited them. I've had a pretty successful career in business, and I could really choose where to go next. I was just a few blocks away in New York City from the IIN offices running a wellness center that I had started there with a partner, a med spa and a wellness center, and it was going well. Someone called me up and said this role is available at IIN and they're interested in you. I was immediately interested because IIN is such a pervasive name and wellness for so long. They've created the health coaching field. They had all the major health influencers and leadership from the beginning and oftentimes built those careers, but they're still relatively unknown. It's kind of a niche thing that you get to know IIN when you get into that wellness world.

I had been in the world and I knew what a great brand it was. I had so many people in my life who had gone through the program that I immediately was interested. It was something that I saw that this could be a great project, and this could get very big under the leadership that was in place. Not only that, we could really expand upon that mission of changing the health of the world. I could see how it wasn't just like a media company or another company that started that puts out information and then people read it. This is a direct contact with a person whose life you're going to change. I wanted to do that for millions of people, so it was a really exciting project.

[00:20:52] Ashley James: So you joined IIN and then and then you took the course. You hadn't yet taken the course. So while you were taking the course and working for IIN, what really surprised you about going through the health coach training program?

[00:21:09] Jim Curtis: Well, I thought that I was the expert, right? I was the speaker. I had started the business, I had done everything, and I thought that I was really the expert and that I wouldn't learn much from the course, but I was very wrong. And also, I had known of the IIN brand, but I was impressed by it but not connected to it.

One, I learned firsthand that, okay, food really does change everything. I focused a lot on the mental aspects of wellness, the scientific aspects, or what's trending in wellness in terms of devices or science or how do you change your mindset to be successful. I was what I thought was a healthy eater, but I started to cook more for myself. I started to incorporate far more whole foods, raw foods, and vegetables. I realized that I was eating out way too much. The oils that were inflammatory were a lot in my diet, and it just really changed everything in that respect for me. I started to really realize what food changes everything mean, so that really impacted me.

I started to realize that IIN can teach anybody something even if you think you're an expert because it really taught me also how to hone my coaching skills. You can be an expert, you can be someone who comes to for advice, but it's a whole nother ball game when you're trained in coaching how to listen, how to how to actually lead someone through the coaching continuum where you leave with a result. That was really interesting to me.

And then I loved hearing Joshua talk about why the brand is the brand. What is integrative nutrition? That's a term he coined. Nutrition is more than food. It's everything that feeds you. It's integrative from what feeds you spiritually, what feeds you in your relationships, what feeds you in your career, and how you move your body, what feeds you for exercise. And then, you start talking about what colors and foods are on your plate.

That was a huge impact on me. And even all the way to Joshua's story about the color red and why IIN uses so much of it. How he was in India and he had traveled there for many, many years. He would study with the monks there and they all wore red robes. Red really signified one, the color of our blood and how everything that we consume becomes our blood, and how we all have the same color of blood. It's an equality. We all have red blood. Our economic status or the color of our skin doesn't affect our blood. It's the equalizer and a connector.

He really wanted the red symbol—that is shaped like DNA, by the way—to be the hallmark of IIN and really stand for something. He also loved it because it was different. One thing IIN is always touted is fitting out. You don't have to do what everybody does. Even though wellness is becoming much more accepted and much more mainstream, oftentimes, you're kind of out there if you're practicing Reiki and trying a new diet that only eats raw foods, vegan, vegetarian. He said it was important not to fit into the general society of the world that is pertaining to just one thing.

[00:24:55] Ashley James: I love that idea that the red represents what's on the inside and everyone's got the same thing. We've all got blood. I have a family member who's in hospice right now and it's having me really reflect on end of life and how none of us get out alive, right? Death is the real equalizer. It's something that we're all going to have at some point. What's really important is how we live now. I think we get really caught up in the day-to-day minutia. We get dissociated from what's in the now and we start becoming more like robots. They say human doings instead of human beings. And then all of a sudden we're just highly unsatisfied.

The unconscious mind, that's where most of us are stored. The unconscious mind doesn't want us to just go with the flow, go with the motions day-to-day. Go to a job, pay a bill, come home, go to sleep, eat. Eat, sleep, eat, sleep, repeat. The unconscious mind, that's where our values are and our desires are. Sometimes we stuff that down and what pops up is depression, sometimes physical pain. Physical pain can manifest in the body when we're really just not living our path. It can feel so uncomfortable in the body. If we're disconnected from it, it can become uncomfortable physically, but then uncomfortable emotionally and we don't know where to put it, right?

Some people fall into illness because they're not eating healthy and they seek out a health coach. And then if it's an integrative nutrition health coach, that health coach is helping them analyze and look at all areas of their life and really listen to them. That's what I love because it isn't a program where you just are scripted and you're just telling people what to do. You're listening. You're listening for the deepest layers of concern, right? You're listening and you're listening, and then you ask questions that help them dig deeper themselves.

It's not about you talking at them. It's kind of funny how as a health coach, how little talking we do. When you're doing it really well, you're asking the right questions that drill down and drill down and allow a person to see what's beneath the layers that they themselves have, it's been in their blind spot. Then they have their own aha moments and oftentimes they'll even tell you what their homework is. When you're really doing it well, all you're doing is just being this amazing listener. You said that that's a skill or a tool that you learned when you went through the IIN program.

I was so impressed with—before I did the program, I'm also a master practitioner and trainer of neuro-linguistic programming. I really feel like I've trained myself in listening, and IIN really had me slow down and listen even more, and listen even more, and listen even more. My husband who's an introvert always says, God gave us one mouth and two ears so use them proportionally.

[00:28:15] Jim Curtis: Right. I love that. I mean, active listening is a real skill. You've almost become magnetic when you're a great listener. When you're listening more than you're talking, it has more of an impact when you say something because people know that you're really processing what they have to say, and that's kind of what coaching is all about—learning those things.

[00:28:38] Ashley James: You said active listener. I've said in the show in the past (I think a few years ago), you know, some people have never ever actually been heard. And going to an integrative nutrition health coach, going to an IIN graduate may be the first time in their life that they've actually had someone truly hear them and truly listen without ulterior motive, without their judgments of their past. Just someone really authentically being 100% present to them. That in itself is so cathartic. It allows the person to slow down and really feel honored, respected, and heard as a human being. 

I feel like growing up, we're constantly comparing ourselves to others, comparing yourself to the Kardashians, whoever's on Instagram, or whoever was popular in school. I think everyone has that in their mind, maybe the imposter syndrome, or maybe they feel like there's always someone who is better than them and so they're not good enough, right?

They've never felt like just being honored as an individual because it is an even playing field. We all have the same color blood, and we're all going to die. It is more about how we live in the now. We can cultivate physical things on the outside like I can have a lot of material goods, but that doesn't leave me with anything that I've cultivated on the inside. But the more we cultivate on the inside, that's something that can never be taken away from us.

That's what I love about the health coaching program because it's like 99% of it was called feeding on the inside, and then 1% of it was here's like 100 different dietary theories. I thought it was going to be the opposite. I thought I was going to learn just a bunch of nutrition stuff. Boy, was I wrong. I love the program and the impact that it has. What are some other skills that you were surprised that you learned like active listening? Were there any other skills that you were really surprised that you learned when you went through the program?

[00:30:46] Jim Curtis: There is something called bio-individuality, meaning we go through life getting taught that this is the right diet for you. This is the way you should eat, this is what a diet is, and then there's always this pull between keto is right or vegan is right, and you have these two groups. What I love is that it kind of bridges the gap there. Diets are ways of eating. When we say diet, I mean nutritional diet, not going on a diet. Ways of eating that are right for many different people.

Vegan may not be right for one person, but it could be right for another. As opposed to, okay, there's this belief that everybody has to be vegan or everybody has to be keto. That was something that I learned. I was really impressed with the concept of crowding out, meaning we put a lot of pressure on good and bad, right? I'm bad, I didn't exercise. I'm good, I exercised. I'm bad, I ate a doughnut. I'm good, I ate broccoli. There's no good or bad, right? There's food.

You can start to crowd out foods that make you feel better or worse. Meaning, if you're used to drinking 12 Diet Cokes a day, start to drink 10 Diet Cokes and 2 glasses of water, or 6 glasses of water and 6 Diet Cokes until you crowd out the food that is making you feel less good, right? Instead of getting really down on yourself for having the food, understand that you're a work in progress and that what you're consuming is just food and we put the good and bad on it, and that we want to consume more things that give our body and our cells more energy. I always really love those types of things, which I didn't think of in that way before. I've always been, I feel guilty, emotional eater type of person, and that really set the stage for me.

The other thing I noticed with the program is that you don't have to become a health coach, right? A lot of people are doing this just for them. Although I did some coaching and I've always been a coach, I did the program and it affected me profoundly as an individual and how I was relating to people. I didn't actually have to go and be a full-time health coach. By the way, integrative means that you're also life coaching. This is not just food. This is life coaching and health coaching in one, but you don't have to do that.

A lot of people just do it to start with them. They'd use it to coach themselves, their families, or their friends. Some people write books. There's a book in everyone, and some people say, I'm doing this so I can be more credible or have more information when I want to write my book, my health story. Some people nowadays even become health influencers. They start a content-driven media type of health influencing in the sense of they're reaching millions of people on a massive scale or hundreds of people, it doesn't matter how many people. It's just how you're reaching them with health information. That's very much what you're doing, which I'm impressed with. Those were all things that I learned very quickly.

[00:34:36] Ashley James: And hospitals are hiring health coaches, insurance companies are hiring health coaches. My insurance company offers me a free health coach through my insurance because they see it saves them money when someone is actively going through health coaching, they're working towards achieving their health and wellness goals, and then they don't end up going on a bunch of medications and costing them money. So they would rather pay upfront for preventive medicine, which is what health coaching can be because it can help us to go from feeling good to feeling great or feeling great to feeling awesome. But most people wait until there's a pain point, and the pain point doesn't have to be physical health. It can be dissatisfaction with their marriage, with their work, with their body image to be able to go to an integrative nutrition health coach and work on those areas.

You're not allowed to call it counseling because of how they define counseling now, but it was once called counseling back in the day before they changed the rules of what you're allowed to call counseling and not call counseling. But like I said, with active listening, you're really just guiding that person and helping them to get to the root. I love that.

Take us to the environment of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and share with us what changes, what improvements have you made since you joined the team?

[00:36:25] Jim Curtis: Well, what can I say to that? The changes that I've really made since being here are accessibility, meaning we have provided a lot more content for free. People can come on our Instagram, YouTube, webinars, or lives that I do. So I'm constantly interviewing our visiting teachers so people can have access to them on a live basis, whether it's a webinar, an Instagram Live, it's a live event for the community, or it's a special event for the community that people go to. So there's a lot more access for people who aren't students for free content. And then there's a lot more community access for the graduates and the students so that they can interact, get information, and talk with me, so that's one thing.

We've gone a lot deeper into business. The folks that are like, I'm really good at coaching or I've learned a lot and I'm ready to start my wellness career but I really don't know the first thing about business, we do a lot to help people along the way. You can now just sign up online. You know what we're finding is that a lot of people are younger that are signing up and they're of the generation that doesn't like phone calls. They just want to sign up online, not talk to anybody, and communicate via chat and email. We accommodate and do that now a lot more.

What has made the biggest impact here is that we've hired a lot more people at the company. The company's size has grown so that we have a lot more touchpoints with alumni services, with student success. We are constantly creating new courses. We have two new specialty courses on Whole Person Health with Deepak Chopra and Detox Your Life so that we have more people to service the students more often, and we have more content that is either cheap or is less expensive and free. That's the impact that I hope that I've made, that I've made it more accessible for many more people.

[00:38:48] Ashley James: Well, it sounds like there's a lot more courses and content since I graduated. Back when I joined, there were I think three courses. It was the main one, you had to take the main one first, which was yearlong at the time. For me, I invested about 20 minutes a day, or if I got really busy in my life I would spend an entire Sunday afternoon once a week and Sunday afternoon evening going through and studying. But day-to-day, I could listen to the lectures in the car, while I'm doing laundry, while I was cooking. I was able to fit in the training for a whole year in my very busy schedule being a career mom and all the stuff I do.

So many people have asked me, do you think I could do this? I have a family and a career, or I'm a student and they have a family or whatever? I say, yeah, I think anyone who wants to do this could do this because you can do the training while you're doing tasks as long as you can listen. You don't even have to necessarily watch. Although there are slides and there's a person on stage sometimes.

What I would do is I download the slides, I'd look at them, then I'd listen to the lecture, and then I'd go back and look at the slides. If I'm, for example, driving or exercising, I definitely do it while I was exercising like if I was on the machine. And cooking, I just have it on the speaker and then I'd go and pop my head over and look at the slide when they reference something.

It is available to people. It is accessible to busy people, and it was designed for busy career moms basically, who could fit it in 20 minutes or 30 minutes a day. And then you guys came out with—and there's a few other courses. There was a write your own book course and I think there was like an autoimmune. There are advanced courses that someone who was a graduate could take. And then after I graduated, you guys came out with a six-month-long program basically condensing it so someone could be considered a full-time student. Although, I still think you could have a career and be a “full-time” student with IIN given that it's in six months. So now you have all these other trainings. Are there training that people can take before they become an integrative health coach? Could you explain that, walk us through that?

[00:41:17] Jim Curtis: Certainly. You're absolutely right. I mean, you did a great job balancing everything, and I think that we try to make the program so you can. But also so that you still have contact with over phone calls and now a lot more virtual Zoom type of stuff. And then live events, we're still meeting in person less but still doing it. Now there's a Spanish course. So if you only speak Spanish, there’s Spanish Assist, so there's been a lot of enhancements.

You don't have to go through the health coach training program anymore to say I want to take a course. We have short-form courses like Whole Person Health, which in over seven weeks you can learn from Deepak Chopra and others. It's less than $500. I think Detox Your Life where you find out how to remove toxins from your food, from your home, and from the people around you, that is under $300. We also have courses on emotional eating, hormone health, gut health, and even business courses that you can take. Oftentimes, you don't have to be a grad.

There is an advanced licensing course that oftentimes graduates take so that they can sit for the advanced licensing of a third-party accreditation. You do have to be a grad for that. But there are many courses now that you don't have to be a grad of the 6- or 12-month course to take, and that's part of the accessibility that we wanted to offer this to more people in the world.

[00:42:58] Ashley James: That's really exciting. For those shorter courses that are more specific, do you find that people then graduate and then join to become a holistic health coach, that they see the benefit in continuing to study with IIN?

[00:43:13] Jim Curtis: In some cases, yeah. In some cases, people work on their wellness a little bit slower, so it's different for everybody and that's really apropos to what we're all about. We want to deliver the wellness that is right for you. So in some cases, people will go on and say that was amazing. I want more, and they go on to take the health coach certification course, which is the health coach training program and they do really well. Others say, I like that but I'm going to go on to take the Hormone Health course, or I'm super interested in the Gut Health course because I have gut health problems. I see you're working with a company called Seed. I love that probiotic. They give a supplemental course to that too so they go on and do it. It's really what meets your needs, and that's important to us.

[00:44:11] Ashley James: I love it. Now your background is in business and so you've obviously had an impact on the new business training that IIN provides for health coaches. That's actually something I've seen in my past. I've been in this industry since I was a teenager. Actually, I took all the courses that I could with Landmark Education and became a coach through many of their programs, and then I was hired to be on staff in my early 20s with Landmark Education. Then I went on to study neuro-linguistic programming and did coaching through that until I found IIN. 

One thing I've learned working with training coaches because I did that through Landmark and then also through neuro-linguistic programming, I saw that the biggest problem was that they didn't know how to market themselves. They didn't know how to grow a business. There's a stigma around money, business, and charging people. They felt kind of like, I don't know what to charge people. Their tools would change someone's life, would completely change someone's life. I mean, you can't quantify that, right?

I mean, you don't want to charge too little because they don't take it seriously. You don't want to charge too much. And then there's a person worth, right? The health coach feels like there's this, what am I worth? I don't want to charge that much because I don't want people to say no. They go through this fear because there are so many negative stigmas around money, charging, and knowing what you're worth, but also creating a fair business model so that you have a mutual win-win. You really have to face a mirror and look at yourself, look at all the negative emotions and looming decisions around money when you're getting into doing your own business. What kind of advice can you give health coaches when it comes to these kinds of concerns?

[00:46:13] Jim Curtis: It's really common. First off, don't feel like it's just you. I did all the Landmark courses too, by the way. I love Landmark. I started with them when I was 19 years old and I moved to New York City. I took a year off of college because I was dealing with an illness and I moved to New York City and I started Landmark. It's just, I mean, really wonderful and impactful. I can see how that would lead to IIN because it's very much about rapid transformation.

When people go through this course and they start to say, am I worth it? Am I ready to be a coach? And then if I'm selling wellness, should I really be charging? How do you combine those two? Because oftentimes, people see sales as a dirty word and wellness as the good word so they want to give it for free. But here's the important thing. One is you've been through the training, you're there to help someone, you deserve fair compensation for that. 

Sales is really a service. I mean, if you're selling something that's hurting people, if you're selling cigarettes or junk food, yeah, I can understand you're doing the marketing that is tricking people into something that's not great for them. But you're providing a service. Your sales is a service that's helping people change and better their lives, and then better the lives of the people around you.

Knowing that your mission is really beneficial for the world is the first step. Knowing that you are uniquely positioned because one, you want to do it, you have a desire and a passion to do it, and because you've been trained to do it. But sometimes, you just have to go through the fear and know that you are the one, believe it, start to do it, and it becomes very real to you. And that you're worth it. You need to be financially stable to make people financially stable. You need to be working on your finances and your health so that you can help other people with that.

I always lead people to Marianne Williamson's book called The Law of Divine Compensation. And in The Law of Divine Compensation, it really talks about there are real rules around exchange of energy and receiving payment for the service that you're doing. That's a great book to read for anybody that's kind of struggling with this, and that's kind of how I approach it. We work with a lot of students. I particularly work with a lot of students on that because it's common, and if you're feeling that, you're not alone at all and you can overcome it.

[00:48:56] Ashley James: Do you have to be an IIN grad to take business training, or do you have business training at any health coach they graduate from anywhere take?

[00:49:09] Jim Curtis: We have business training that any health coach who graduated from anywhere take. We have the Advanced Business course. We're constantly updating our course. It's been around for 30 years, but every year, we add new content, change things, and we have more business in the course now. Then I do a lot of free training. People can sign up for webinars with me. I, on Instagram, every Thursday do business basics where I answer questions. We know that having confidence and understanding your value and how you're contributing to the world is an issue sometimes, so we do a lot to help train people on that.

[00:49:50] Ashley James: Now what I loved about the IIN program, back when I took it it was 12 months long. Within the first half, you're learning how to do health coaching, but then you actually start working with people halfway through. The rest of the program is like fine-tuning that and teaching you how to grow your business. It's not like IIN just teaches you how to be a health coach then throws you to the wolves like, okay, grow your business, bye. You're actually growing your business. Something that Juliet, she was the person that helped me on the phone because that was before you guys had a robot on the website.

[00:50:26] Jim Curtis: She's still here.

[00:50:27] Ashley James: Juliet's amazing. I love talking to her. For those listeners who just sign up online, you should just give them a call just to experience it because I really had a blast talking to Juliet. She was so helpful and I called her many times asking her questions. She was always a wonderful resource. I really love her. She said, you know, the most successful IIN students pay off their entire program before graduating. I said, really? She said, yeah, because you start working with clients halfway through, and so then you've got another six months of growing your business and being trained to. You have IIN teachers to talk to and to connect with. You get to grow while there's kind of a safety net because you're still in the school, and I thought that was really cool.

Then of course, with your full time course, it's after three months of doing it then you start growing your business for the next three months while you're still in the program. I just like that IIN always creates a soft place to land while someone is completely changing their career path.

Now, I've heard something like 50% of graduates don't go on to become health coaches. They did it purely for their own personal growth, which I can totally see doing that or to augment it or just bring tools to what they already do. So about half of the graduates do go on to become health coaches, and many of them then want to start their own business. There are so many mediums, like you said. You could become a content creator, write a book, do social media, work for a hospital, or work for a clinic. I know so many clinics now where they have a health coach with a chiropractor, with a doctor because it's looking at the person as a whole.

There are a lot of opportunities out there, whereas I don't think 15 years ago it didn't even exist then, even 10 years ago. There are so many more opportunities now. I heard Joshua say about two years ago, he said that this is the number one growing field in the health space.

[00:52:39] Jim Curtis: Coaching is, if you look at the jobs report, one of the number one growing professions. We've transcended just health. It's like, okay, coaching is something that people want to do, why? It's because people are looking for a purpose in their lives. This allows you to make a great living while serving something greater than you, and that is other people serving a bigger purpose. That's changing the health of the really sick United States. Although we're in 175 countries, the United States is the most ill of 133 million people suffering from diabetes or obesity. It's a place that really needs health coaches and so in demand.

We talk about all the different things health coaches can do, and I always say set up multiple revenue streams, meaning see some clients directly one-on-one. Work part time. There are so many tech companies now hiring health coaches like Wellory or Kensho, wellness centers like The Well or even hospitals like Cleveland Clinic. Mark Hyman says he only hires health coaches from IIN, same with Frank Lippmann hires IIN health coaches. There are many different ways, many revenue streams, we say, as a health coach that you can become really financially stable doing what you love and something good for the world.

[00:54:10] Ashley James: I love it. I love it. Are there any testimonials that you feel really connected to? You say that people write in all the time. Maybe in terms of the business training that you give, do you have a testimonial that you feel you've earned because you've had a direct impact on the lives of the students?

[00:54:37] Jim Curtis: You know, we have so many of them. I just read a three-page testimonial yesterday about a woman who started IIN during a really difficult time because her daughter was diagnosed with cancer. She was ill, she was having trouble with what she was doing and her finances, and she knew she had to make some changes. She wrote literally a three-page letter about IIN and how it really gave direction and opened the doors that she took that changed the rest of her life. I hear that so often. We put them up on our site and we have thousands of people commenting on Trustpilot and that kind of thing.

But even when I just interviewed some of these folks that have become superstars like Melissa Wood or the founders of Sakara Life, I could name even Bobbi Brown cosmetics, they talk about how IIN was really the jumping-off point that allowed their lives to change. They dedicated themselves to this study, and by opening that door, it opened up so many other doors. Whether it was in their career or in their health. 

I wish I had them in front of me to read, but we have our admissions reps who are all IIN graduates and we go over every week, who did you speak with? Because we'd love to hear the stories. We have women that are grandmothers, they're in their 80s. During the pandemic, their daughters and their grandchildren came to live with them and she took the course because she wanted to make sure that she was cooking right for them. She was into wellness, she had retired, and she wanted something to do. I love that story.

There was one woman who had diabetes and she lost her fingers due to diabetes. Her daughter had juvenile diabetes and she's like, okay, this stops here. I'm not going to see my daughter lose her fingers. She started the course. And then sometimes you see families go in together like mother and daughter to take the course together. Guess what, we even have some guys now. We have a lot more doctors and a lot more people from sports. We have Olympic athletes, we have ex-NFLers, and we have a lot more men signing on. Before it was 100% women and now it's about 90% women. Even guys are getting into this a little bit.

[00:57:18] Ashley James: That's funny because the person I interviewed when I first learned about IIN, it was on my show. It was the first year I was doing my show and I interviewed a graduate of IIN. He was talking about how he reversed his ADHD that he had had since he was a kid with food. At the time, honestly, I was really skeptical of this title health coach. I thought it was hokey. I thought anyone called themselves a health coach. I had no idea, I had no concept as to what it was. I asked him in the interview where did he learn from? He told me about IIN and I signed up that day after the interview.

I talked to my husband. I mean, it's a major commitment, right? For me it was a year-long commitment, it's a financial commitment. But after that I called Juliet, I had a few conversations with her. I picked through the website—super impressed by all of the visiting teachers. I was like, oh my gosh, these are all the people I look up to and learn from anyway. I love these people. I read their books. I watch their YouTube videos. I talked to my husband, he was like, why are you still talking to me? Go, sign up. Start, do it. I was just in love with the program.

But it's so funny how that morning I woke up and health coaching wasn't on my radar. When I heard the word, I don't know, I poo-pooed it because I didn't know what it was and so I thought it was hokey. By the end of the day, I'm like, yes, I'm becoming a health coach. This is amazing. It was so funny.

[00:58:51] Jim Curtis: That's awesome. At one time, chiropractic and acupuncture were considered hokey too, and then insurance started covering it, it became more accessible to people, and they saw the real benefits from it. That's what's happening with health coaching right now as well.

[00:59:05] Ashley James: Right. Has there been any traction in terms of insurance covering graduates of IIN?

[00:59:14] Jim Curtis: Well, it's in the process. Right now, one insurance is called CPT Codes. It's in the code process where they're collecting data. They will make the case that health coaching increases health outcomes. And then from there, they submit for coverage. So that usually takes a couple of years and it’s been a year and a half in. IIN, unlike any other school, has lobbyists in DC that are working on healthcare bills and getting health coaching inserted into those bills, and we're making real progress.

We're, as a company, just trying to move it in general. We're not setting up an online training with videos just so that we can make money. We're trying to change the health of the world, and that includes hiring lobbyists and people that work for the company to represent health coaches in DC, in government, and move the insurance process forward. So it's happening.

[01:00:19] Ashley James: I hope my listeners now understand. This is why I was excited to have you on the show because it's not just a company that wants to make money off of you. When you look at other companies like I look at Amazon, you feel like they're just like, give me your wallet. Just give me your wallet. You get convenience out of it, but there really doesn't feel like there's this huge humanitarian effort behind it. Whereas when you look at IIN, you guys want to change the world, and you're doing it and you're working on it.

I know that when I first signed up that night, I have a really clear memory of watching the first modules crying tears of joy. My mirror neurons were just firing. I felt the oxytocin and the sense of connection and community as Joshua was starting the whole year. There's a huge audience. Even though I'm watching a video, I felt like I was in that audience. I'm brought back to that moment just crying because I felt like this is it. We are here to make a difference in the world. This is my mission and I am on this path with all these people.

Every graduate, whether they go on to be a health coach or not, they are part of that ripple that wants to make a difference in this world. That is so exciting to be part of this bigger picture together as a collective moving forward, having this common goal of helping people live happier, healthier lives in all aspects of their life. I would just love it if we could take the model that IIN uses and duplicate it for all companies in the world.

In closing, I'd love for you to share—you've been with so many companies. You started companies, you've been with major, major companies, and what's the difference? When you first walked into it IIN, walked into the building, what is the sense, the ambiance of IIN versus all the other businesses that you've worked with?

[01:02:33] Jim Curtis: Well, people really feel a responsibility. Everybody feels a responsibility, meaning the content they create, the people that we partner with, everybody is really concerned with, does this fit the mission? There's nothing that we launch, partner with, teacher that comes on, or even if we're writing something that's about staff picks because the staff may love some products and we want to communicate them. There has to be a group consensus, meaning, is this to the benefit of the people that we're talking to? Does this give a holistic view of it? Does it pertain to bio-individuality?

People really feel that they can make a difference in the product and that their view matters because it does because everybody here has a health coach. So it's really important that we're living up to what we teach. It's a business. Sometimes it's hard. Sometimes we're working really hard hours and we're hitting deadlines. It's for-profit for sure, so we have to be financially healthy just like our health coaches do. But what's different here is that there is real care and concern, it's not just a job, and that to me means everything.

[01:04:09] Ashley James: That is so cool. I love it. Thank you so much, Jim Curtis, for coming on the show and sharing about IIN. I know there's a lot in the hopper, and I know that there's a lot we can't talk about, but is there anything you can talk about future projects that are in the hopper?

[01:04:25] Jim Curtis: Stay tuned. There's more coming, that's what I'll say. There's definitely more coming from IIN that will blow your socks off, just stay tuned.

[01:04:33] Ashley James: Yeah, I'm really excited and I'm bummed we can't talk about it. But like you said, stay tuned, it's happening soon. I'm very excited. Now, listeners can go to learntruehealth.com/coach. That takes them to a page where they can get a free module from IIN. They can check it out and get a feel for the training. I recommend listeners do that. Jim, is there anything you'd like to say to wrap up today's interview?

[01:04:57] Jim Curtis: Well, I just want to say, thank you so much. I'm proud of you as a student that's doing so many amazing things and inspiring so many people on the platform that you've built. It's really impressive, and thanks for having me on.

[01:05:10] Ashley James: Awesome. Well, thanks for coming on. I know you're super busy. You're doing really great work. I'm very proud of IIN. Again, I keep saying that this is the model I wish all other businesses were, but could you imagine if all for-profit businesses looked at the ecology of their community, their customers, and the planet? Ecology means that it's healthy, that it takes everything into account, right? If any company, if a farm, let's say, said is this ecological for us to spray this on the food versus do a different kind of farming that doesn't require any chemical. If every company really started with, is this an ecological decision for my community, for my employees, for the planet?

Can you imagine if Amazon took into account the health of their employees and the health of their customers, how different would this world be? And so I love that IIN really for me, yes, it's a for-profit company and that's exactly what I want it to be because I want it to be the example that all other companies should look to to see that there can be a profitable business that takes care of its employees and its customers and looks to make the world a better place.

Thank you so much for being part of this project, and I can't wait to see what IIN can create in the future. I'm thrilled that you guys are shaping the health industry. There'll be a day when insurance will pay for someone to see an IIN grad. And that level of satisfaction, growth, happiness, and balance that that person receives and it'll all be because of the money that you guys invested in lobbying and that you guys invested in marketing. So I thank you for all the work that you're doing now that's going to have such a profound impact for generations to come.

[01:07:01] Jim Curtis: Thanks. I appreciate that.

[01:07:04] Ashley James: I hope you enjoyed today's interview about IIN and looking behind the scenes, learning more about the health coaching training program. If you'd like to check out the sample class, go to learntruehealth.com/coach and check it out.

If you have any questions for me, feel free to reach out to me you can join the Learn True Health Facebook group. We have dozens of health coaches in the Learn True Health Facebook group, probably hundreds now. We're almost at 4,000 members. It's a really amazing group of holistic-minded people. You can come in and ask questions and get a lot of fantastic feedback from me and from all the other people out there as well, the community, the listeners have joined the group. Several guests actually have joined the group and like sharing and helping out as well.

But if you have any questions about IIN, you can ask it in the Facebook group, and not only will you hear from me, but you'll also hear from a lot of listeners who've graduated from the program and have gone on to help their friends and family, have built careers around it. There are also people who are already in the health business in some capacity and used it just to grow their tool belt. You can use it as a launching pad to completely change your career path and start a new one, or if you're already on a career path, you can use these tools to aid yourself.

What I love about this episode though is this idea that we could take this model and we could replicate it for every business to flourish, to grow. Imagine if every business's number one priority along with income, along with profit, right? Every business wants profit. But imagine if they said, okay, we want to make a profit and we want to take care of our employees as much as we value taking care of our customers.

Could you imagine how better this world would be if profit, taking care of customers, and taking care of the staff was equally as important? Because the staff who feel taken care of then, in turn, takes care of the client, the customer better and takes care of the company better. Everyone's healthier, everyone's happier. I just think that this is such a needed thing. That's why I love interviewing staff to learn more about IIN's business model.

Thank you so much for listening to this show. Thank you so much for sharing it with your friends. Come join the Learn True Health Facebook group. I'd love to hear from you. And again, check out the sample class. It's awesome, learntruehealth.com/coach. Have a fantastic rest of your day.

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Ashley James

Health Coach, Podcast Creator, Homeschooling Mom, Passionate About God & Healing

Ashley James is a Holistic Health Coach, Podcaster, Rapid Anxiety Cessation Expert, and avid Whole Food Plant-Based Home Chef. Since 2005 Ashley has worked with clients to transform their lives as a Master Practitioner and Trainer of Neuro-linguistic Programming.

Her health struggles led her to study under the world’s top holistic doctors, where she reversed her type 2 diabetes, PCOS, infertility, chronic infections, and debilitating adrenal fatigue.

In 2016, Ashley launched her podcast Learn True Health with Ashley James to spread the TRUTH about health and healing. You no longer need to suffer; your body CAN and WILL heal itself when we give it what it needs and stop what is harming it!

The Learn True Health Podcast has been celebrated as one of the top holistic health shows today because of Ashley’s passion for extracting the right information from leading experts and doctors of holistic health and Naturopathic medicine


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