Walking Backward Into the Future: How Ian Pritchard Has Embraced His Past Experiences to Find a New Life Purpose

Q&A: Ian Pritchard, PREKURE Mental Health Coach of the Year 2023

Kia whakatōmuri te haere whakamua, which can be translated as “walking backward into the future,” encapsulates the essence of Ian Pritchard’s transformative journey. Ian, Lead Wellbeing Specialist at New Focus NZ, shares his remarkable story, weaving together personal struggles, professional experiences, and the profound impact of his health coaching journey with PREKURE.

Can you share a bit about your background before embarking on your health coaching journey?

My journey began in 1967, as one of about 500,000 babies born into the UK in the 50s-70s that was forcibly removed from their birth mother. It’s an been an underlying factor during my life, and the challenges I’ve faced. Prior to my current professional role at New Focus NZ, I worked for the Ministry of Education in the severe service, managing post-vention after suicides and critical incidents, dealing with the most complex needs in education.

What motivated you to transition to health coaching?

I became weary after a decade of responding to crises. My own personal health issues, including a major car accident, a surgery gone wrong, addiction to opioids, and the tragic loss of a loved one, added to my urgency for change. The opportunity to train with PREKURE was a serendipitous moment for me as I was facing early retirement due to these challenges. The “Prevention is Cure” message deeply resonated with me, as I’d been advocating for an upstream, preventative approach throughout my career.

How do you incorporate your new health coaching skills into your role at New Focus NZ?

New Focus NZ initially focused solely on career development services. We now recognise the strong link between wellbeing and career development, and offer career and employment services alongside health and wellbeing services, to empower our Northland community to navigate towards healthier and more meaningful lives. As the Lead Wellbeing Specialist I specialise in addiction and mental health coaching, with a keen interest in anxiety, trauma, and their interconnectedness.

Jared Cannons

Ian Pritchard, PREKURE Mental Health Coach of the Year 2023

How has PREKURE’s training prepared you for real-world scenarios and challenges in health coaching?

PREKURE’s training validated my life experience and encapsulated my professional expertise, enabling me to reinvent myself and design services that meet the needs of our clients. The emphasis on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) has been crucial, ensuring sustainable coaching practices even in challenging situations.

How has being a part of the PREKURE community enriched your personal and professional life?

Being part of the PREKURE community means I’m not working in isolation. The connectivity, support, and scientifically proven methodologies have given me confidence. It’s not just a training program; it’s a community that fosters growth and a shared commitment to preventative care.

What does the future look like for you at New Focus NZ?

The future looks promising indeed. We are witnessing an increasing demand for our services, reflecting the success of our preventative wellbeing approach. Personally, it has provided a new purpose and fulfillment in my career and life, and I’m excited about what lies ahead.

For those considering a career in health coaching, what advice would you offer?

I would advise as many people as possible to get involved in health coaching. What we have found at New Focus NZ is that the level of need in our community is massive and it’s an unmet need. And that doesn’t need to be. There are so many opportunities for personal growth through the coaching process, through the education process of learning to become a health coach. There’s also a massive amount of opportunities professionally to provide that service and to be successful at it.

As you look back at your transformative journey, what would you say is the essence of health coaching for you?

Health coaching, for me, is about walking into the future while embracing the values, experiences, and beliefs that shape our past. It’s about providing solutions, connecting with individuals on a deeper level, and fostering a preventative, holistic approach to wellbeing.

Connect with Ian

Website: www.newfocus.nz
Email: [email protected]


Learn more about PREKURE’s Health Coach Courses and how you can turn your passion for health into a career and start on your journey to becoming a Health Coach.

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