Category Archives: Health and Wellness Coaching

Taking Care of Earth’s Beauty, Magic & Mystery

This post was shared by Health and Wellness Coaching faculty member Russ Watts.  

While the current crisis is weighing heavily on everybody’s hearts and minds, the situation has simultaneously triggered an enormous wave of creative generosity and awareness in our Institute for Transformational Leadership (ITL) community.  New innovative solutions being applied seemingly overnight clearly show how important being in service to our communities is, while practice and cooperation between all parts of society play a huge part of the rapid response to such situations. And through these weeks, we have seen a glimmer of hope and beacons of beauty unseen for quite some time as our skies clear from pollution, and the birdsong overpowers the traffic song, as we are required to shift from old habits and patterns to new ones.

One particular pattern that is showing up for me on the 50th anniversary of Earth Day is that amidst the struggles we humans are having, it seems like the rest of our global ecosystem is taking some breaths of fresh air and enjoying a detox session. I question what was sustainable in my old pre-quarantine self, and am finding my thoughts forming hopeful actions that I will make moving forward.  Through my weekly grocery outings, I’m aware how easy it is to use the bike to get to the store. It’s better for me and the planet. This, obviously, isn’t new news, it’s not some grand discovery, but I have been reminded and have now formed this as a small but sustainable habit. For the first time in a few years, we are actively growing our garden, celebrating each sprout that pops up its little bit of green. We are buying from, and, thus mindfully supporting our local food producers. And all of these things feel good. They feel right.

I have also been reminded of the simple joys: hanging out and playing in the garden with my family, creating new simple non-electronic games, enjoying picnics as much as we can, and even having late night movie date nights with my wife.

Collectively and individually we know we can all reduce our ecological footprint (and are all doing so in the last month or two), take only pictures and leave only footprints as the saying goes, consume less and consume wisely, buy locally and eat seasonally. We need to think broadly about our individual impact, how we spend and invest our money, the trash we create, the thoughts we have. We need to think of our lives as a mission, one that we can have the greatest impact by being excellent role models to those around us, not to lead lives that are excessive, but rather humble.

This bountiful planet of ours provides us with all that we need, and we have so abused her with the creation of chemicals and toxic pollutants all in the name of a “better” standard of living. We can eat and grow food that is organic and phase out the many pollutants that have become so common in our lives, and help her flourish by being aware of and taking care of her beauty, magic, and mystery.

Let’s all strive for less stuff, more fun, simpler, more meaningful time here.

And let’s not be too hard on ourselves, we all are still learning how to walk on our planet thoughtfully and sustainably.

Click here to learn more about the Certificate in Health & Wellness Coaching in Georgetown University’s Institute for Transformational Leadership. 

Educating the Whole Person

The Institute for Transformational Leadership (ITL) has always derived great strength from the foundation on which it was built, Georgetown University and its Jesuit Heritage.  Today, the work of ITL is best captured in its mission: to develop and sustain worldwide communities of leaders dedicated to awakening, engaging, and supporting the leadership required to create a more sustainable, harmonious, and compassionate future.   In addition to offering educational programs that develop leaders, this mission speaks to our higher purpose and responsibility to prepare leaders who can address the issues that will lead to greater peace, environmental and economical sustainability, and a future in which human beings relate to one another with a caring approach consistent with Georgetown’s Jesuit values.

Connecting with and Embodying our Values

Each year, ITL chooses one of the Jesuit values as an area of curricular focus.  This year our focus will be the value of “Educating the Whole Person.”   We will explore this value through our programming, our community dialogue and in our classrooms.  By making these explicit connections, we will link our unique Jesuit and transformational missions to the learning experiences and outcomes of our students with a committed focus on the development of the intellectual, artistic, social, physical, and spiritual aspects of each person.

Mind, Body, Emotion, Spirit, Identity

While institutions of higher education are recognized for challenging and developing great minds, the mastery of leadership must address the whole person; mind, body, emotions, spirit, and identity.  Through our Certificate programs, advanced training, and professional workshops, the ITL curriculum guides participants to explore these rich domains and to develop continuous on-going practice and reflection on the life-long journey of leadership.

We look forward to engaging with our faculty, students, staff and community as we embrace our commitment and value of “Educating the Whole Person”.

Improving Patient Outcomes through Coaching

This post shared from Health and Wellness Coaching Co-director, Petra Platzer, PhD. 

Georgetown’s Health and Wellness Coaching (HWC) program, housed within the Institute for Transformational Leadership, is proud to acknowledge Cynthia Moore, MS, RD, CDE, FAND for being awarded a 1st place poster award for her research presented at the recent Institute of Coaching in Leadership and Healthcare conference in Boston.  As a former co-director and current guest speaker on the HWC faculty team, Cynthia continues to bring her expertise in diabetes and coaching into the clinical settings to improve patient outcomes.  Research-based work like Cynthia’s, and by other health and wellness coaches across the nation, continues to increase the understanding of the impact health and wellness coaches are facilitating for their clients.

In other big news, this past week a significant milestone was achieved for the HWC profession. The American Medical Association approved a new category III Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) code for coaching that coaches can begin using in 2020 for reimbursement from insurance providers.1 The governing body of for the HWC field, the National Board of Health and Wellness Coaching (NBHWC), was a key driver for this major advancement and will continue advocating for increased reimbursement models for coaching. This milestone acknowledges HWC’s role within the healthcare continuum and opens the door for increased access and further advances for HWCs within coordinated healthcare bundling of coaching.

ITL’s Health and Wellness coaching program is at the forefront of this emerging and exciting field.  If you are interested in learning more about how to become a practicing Health and Wellness coach or a member of our HWC community, please contact our enrollment staff at

Applications for the Spring 2020 cohort are now open, apply online.



Coaching to Health and Wellness

On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate yourself in terms of your health and well being?  Is this where you want to be?  If no, why not?  What’s getting in the way of you achieving your optimal health?  Could it be lack of knowledge?  Or is it something else?

Most of us know cognitively how to live a healthy life, but we are not putting this knowledge into action.  Knowing better does not always equal doing better.  This gap between knowing and doing is the expansive territory of a health and wellness coach.   In this space, coaches focus on the often invisible barriers  and take the hands of clients to support and guide them towards their goals.

In the Health and Wellness Coaching program within Georgetown’s Institute for Transformational Leadership Health and Wellness coaches are trained on fundamental coaching competencies in the context of health and wellness.  From  nutritional challenges, stress/anxiety, and sleep disturbances to smoking cessation, chronic disease, and physical activity, the context of Health and Wellness is broad.  Health and Wellness Coaches partner with clients to compassionately support and provide accountability to the goals clients set for themselves.  Coaches help clients see what they are missing and better understand what is getting in the way of success.

“Health & Wellness Coaching is the change agent that shifts the culture and delivery of healthcare from dependency to empowerment.”
–International Consortium of Health and Wellness Coaching

Health and Wellness coaching is all about creating change in the most important area of your life.

To learn more about Georgetown’s Health and Wellness Coaching program. click here. 

Your One Wild and Precious Life

This post is adapted from Kate Ebner’s graduation address to ITL program graduates.  

In her beautiful poem, “The Summer Day,” Mary Oliver asks, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”  Tell me, what is it that you plan to do next?

This week, we celebrate our graduates in the Institute for Transformational Leadership (ITL). At ITL, our mission is to develop and sustain worldwide communities of transformational leaders, facilitators, consultants and coaches who are dedicated to awakening and supporting the leadership required for a more sustainable, harmonious and compassionate future.   Our mission is ever green.  This week, America has watched families seeking asylum being separated at our border, children, including infants, taken from parents and placed in detention centers.  We look around us and see daily evidence that our planet is suffering due to climate change caused by human activity, that there is great unrest around the world as countries struggle to determine the balance between compassionate policies and protecting their economies and ways of life.  We see great work that needs to be done in order to for us to learn how to communicate, relate and respect one another, respecting the full range of human experience in a way that includes people of every race, gender and sexuality.  We see that our generation of leaders is grappling with 21st century complexity – from new ways of working enabled by technology to changing expectations about the very nature of work in the global workplace.  Leadership today looks and must be different than ever before.  Our context calls for us to recognize and step up in a new era.

And so, our mission to engage in the work of awakening and supporting the leadership needed for a more sustainable, harmonious and compassionate future is right here, right now for us to do.   And, through our programs and learning events at ITL, we are doing it.

Sometimes, when I talk like this, people say, “But, Kate, it is not all bad.”  And that is absolutely true.  In fact, life – our lives – always present the dynamic polarities that give us hope and help us to envision a future that we want and can believe in even as we grapple with inevitable challenges. Here at ITL, our work is an investment in a positive future, a buddy jump if you will to create that positive future.  That harmonious, compassionate and sustainable future.  We see evidence every day of the goodness of humanity, our willingness to be stewards of the future.

This brings me back to you.  You have taken time and put in much effort to complete your certificates.  Congratulations!!  Leadership Coaching.  Transformational Leadership.  Facilitation.  Strategic Diversity and Inclusion Management.  Organization Consulting and Change Leadership. Health and Wellness Coaching.  You are the vanguard of the future.  Through your experiences here, you have created the kind of communities within your cohorts that model the transformational values that we teach in our classrooms.  You have learned to “set yourself aside” in order to open up to the possibilities of life, of work and of what you can do in this world.  We celebrate your achievement joyfully!

Choosing to go back to school, to learn more at this stage of your life is a courageous act.  We know that you have made sacrifices to achieve this certification, that you have put in many hours and that, most likely, along the way, you’ve asked yourself, “Is this right for me?”  Despite those moments and challenges, you stuck with it.  You practiced.  You shared.  You probably journaled!  You worked on it.   Congratulations on your outstanding achievement.  In making this choice, you have opened a door and walked across the threshold into new experiences that can change your life and open up the field of possibilities for you.  Now, it is up to you to decide how you will travel forward, how you will continue to embrace the discomfort and excitement of working at your learning edge, your own frontier.  This frontier is the place where leaders live.  As edgy as it is, it is familiar territory to you.

I’d like to close by reading Mary Oliver’s poem, The Summer Day, in its entirety to you.  Before I do that, I want you to know how proud and excited we are to welcome you into our community of compassionate leaders.  You are part of a proud tradition and now belong to a community of ~2000 graduates of ITL’s programs.  Together, we are awakening the world to be stewards of the future.

Here is The Summer Day:

Summer Day

By Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Please, stay connected with us.  Thank you and congratulations!