WHAT IS A HEALTH COACH
A health coach is a personal health cheerleader, guide, and accountability partner. They help you implement lifestyle changes to improve your physical health.
Health coaching is often a service available to individuals in wellness programs. A physician may also recommend health coaching for those struggling with a chronic health issue, such as an autoimmune condition. Or, someone may hire a health coach to help you achieve a wellness goal like getting fit.
Health coaches typically address six key areas that affect wellness:
- Time management and habit formation.
If any of these areas are out of balance, then likely others will be too. For example, an individual who is not physically active may also be highly stressed, and not sleeping or eating well. Combined, it can feel very overwhelming beginning or maintaining healthy lifestyle changes.
Health coaches help people figure out where to start and support them making small changes that build over time.
A health coach will help you create goals and identify which stage of change you are in and what action you are ready to take. It is about self-discovery. They will help you put all the pieces together to make relevant and sustainable changes.
WHAT DOES A HEALTH COACH DO
A health coach gets you “unstuck” by helping you figure out what is preventing you from reaching your health goals. Your coach regularly checks in by email, phone calls, or in-person meetings, usually over the course of a few weeks. During those meetings, a health coach will help support you to make these changes.
The most common challenge individuals face is their limiting and defeating thoughts about themselves and about change. Through motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioral techniques, health coaches help work through some of these thoughts and help explore what is blocking them from achieving these changes.
A health coach might start the process by asking questions like:
- On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest, how important is it for you to achieve this goal/change?
- What feels reasonable and obtainable for you?
- What may prevent you from follow-through?
- What does your current home life look like?
- What plan can we put together to help you add more protein, fruits, and vegetables?
Health coaching is not about telling an individual what they should do in their life. It is about respecting their goals and reasons for wanting or not wanting to make change. A health coach shows up for the individual in whatever way they need.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS
Change is often difficult, even when it is something we want. Sometimes change can feel downright impossible. The benefit of health coaching is having a support system to encourage you and help you through the process and it works.
For example, a study found that individuals who participated in three months of health coaching found a significant improvement in, blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, triglycerides, body weight, and cardiovascular health.
A health coach can help when you feel like nothing is working for you. Or, to give you a boost when you’re feeling overwhelmed, discouraged, or don't have enough time. They can help individuals see their strengths to help make significant and long-term changes.
A health coach helps by:
- Accountability: Provide you with check-ins and can give you a push to move forward.
- Encouragement: They act as cheerleaders to support you when you are feeling down on yourself.
- Non-judgemental support: They don't judge your actions and help you come to your own conclusions about what works and what doesn’t.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A HEALTH COACH
If are interested in health coaching, ask your healthcare provider for a recommendation. You may also contact your health insurance to see if they cover the service and obtain a list of approved providers.
Choose a health coach who is a national board-certified health and wellness coach. This indicates they have had appropriate training.
Achieving your health goals can be challenging. But, health coaches can help you move past barriers and create sustainable changes. Creating a healthier lifestyle can affect everything in your life, including an increase in energy, focus, and motivation. This will allow you to do more, and be able to live life to the fullest.
Let us help you build a life worth living.