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From Trauma to Triumph: Nicola's Journey to Health Coaching


HCA Graduate, Nicola von Bratt
HCA Graduate, Nicola von Bratt

In life, unexpected twists often lead us down paths we never imagined. For Nicola, a devastating accident became the catalyst for a journey of resilience, transformation, and ultimately, triumph.

A Life-Altering Accident


Before entering the world of health coaching, Nicola worked alongside her husband, managing the ins and outs of their company, all while navigating the joys and challenges of raising two young children. That was until a serious accident when visiting London in 2019 changed everything. 


“I was hit by a motorbike on a London bridge, breaking my back and several ribs. Although traumatic, I was lucky it wasn’t worse. After returning to Cape Town with two young kids, it prompted me to really reflect on what is truly important.”

Rediscovering Purpose Through Health Coaching


During her extended recovery period, Nicola found herself re-evaluating her priorities, and seeking a newfound purpose. 


While attending an appointment at her Doctor’s surgery in Cape Town, she stumbled upon an advert for the Health Coach's Academy in a magazine. With a background as a textile designer, Nicola had already thought about building her own business and undergoing a career transformation.


“It all started with that one advert in a magazine! As soon as I saw it, the idea of health coaching really resonated with me, particularly given my personal health challenges, including a tricky fertility journey. Pursuing the HCA course felt just like the right path for me.”

Embracing the Journey


In January 2020, Nicola made the decision to enrol with HCA and it was this decision that marked the beginning of her transformational journey. 


Despite grappling with trauma and a lack of confidence, Nicola courageously immersed herself in the world of Health Coaching at the 3-Day Live training event in South Africa, even before her course officially commenced.


Prioritising Health and Wellbeing


As her studies progressed, she began to adopt a different perspective on what was important for her mind and body, as well as a deeper understanding of the intricate connection between physical health, mental wellbeing and overall vitality. Armed with this newfound insight, Nicola learned how to prioritise her own health moving forward, before going on to inspire others to do the same


The course gave me perspective on prioritising my health and reinforced my priorities. It has provided me with the skills and science to support others in feeling better and living more fully, and demonstrate that we really can find our confidence again after experiencing trauma.
Throughout my studies, I’ve developed positive daily habits that are non-negotiable. Implementing these habits allows me to show up better as a mum, wife and daughter. I want to help other moms and women that are juggling various roles to prioritise their health and do the same. My mantra is, “Without our health, what do we really have?” It is the most fundamental aspect of our being.”

Building a Successful Health Coaching Practice


Drawing upon her own experiences of overcoming adversity, and using her newfound knowledge and skills from the course, Nicola has gone on to set up her own successful Health Coaching practice: My Healthy Habits Coach, while her qualification as a certified Health & Wellness Coach has opened the door to so many exciting opportunities. 


From implementing a weight-loss programme at a local boutique gym and providing one-on-one coaching to participants in the gym's weight loss challenge, to collaborating with burnt-out teachers and offering a complementary health coaching programme through an Instagram giveaway, her reach has expanded significantly.


A distinguishing feature of Nicola's practice is her corporate health coaching initiatives. She has immersed herself in group coaching and course facilitation, successfully securing a series of talks with a corporate client which meant overcoming her fear of public speaking. She has also implemented “pop-up” clinics for businesses, offering employees a targeted and practical way to address their own unique health needs. 


Words of Encouragement


For those contemplating a career in health coaching but feeling hindered by challenges, her advice would be:


“Remember that each day offers a new beginning. Be patient with yourself, embrace the opportunity for a fresh start, and acknowledge that challenging phases will pass.
Studying with HCA to become a Health Coach is a profoundly positive personal journey that involves deepening self-awareness, challenging one’s mindset, and building self-confidence, regardless of the stage of life one is in.
Regarding the business side, I want to emphasise how supportive HCA really is. The team prepares individuals, like me, who are serious about establishing a new career path and earning a living through health coaching to successfully transition.”

As Nicola continues to inspire and uplift those she encounters on her journey, her story serves as an important reminder that every setback is an opportunity for growth. 


If you would like to find out more about becoming a Professional Health & Wellness Coach, we invite you to book a free Discovery call with one of our specialist course consultants. 






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