Perhaps you’ve heard of a ‘health coach’ but are still not quite sure what that means. There are coaches for virtually everything nowadays. So, what makes a health coach unique and different from the rest? Today I hope to answer all of your questions regarding health coaching and hopefully inspire you to work with one. There are SO many benefits! Even as a health coach myself, I’d love to work with one because we can all use the accountability and insight from another trained health expert.
What is a health coach?
A health coach is a trained professional who has received a certification and education to help clients set and achieve health goals through personalized guidance. Health coaches may have expertise in physiological sciences, psychology, and some even have a nutrition background too. A health coach coaches and provides guidance, mentorship, and accountability so that you are more likely to achieve your goals and stick to them. Working with a health coach can help you identify the areas that are holding you back, tackle barriers to success, and make changes so that you can succeed. While a health coach can help design and implement health and wellness programs, there are also legal/ethical and professional responsibilities and scope of practices that fall outside of a health coach and will need to be referred to the correct professional.
What is the goal of health coaching?
The goal of health coaching is to come alongside individuals and help them plan and execute their health and wellness goals. An individual’s health/wellness goals can and should be unique to them and their circumstances. For example, it may focus more on cultivating healthy relationships through boundaries, working through attitudes around food, developing healthier mindsets, or building a plan to make healthier eating and exercise more manageable with your schedule. Health and wellness coaching goes far beyond examining someone’s diet and exercise. Oftentimes as the coaching relationship develops, people’s goals transform into managing stress, healthy sleep, and navigating relationships. The main goal is to help each person identify their unique values and priorities that will encourage them to live a healthy, sustainable lifestyle through behavior modification.
Does it work? What can I gain by working with a health coach?
Yes! I believe health coaching absolutely works and is the missing piece to so many people’s health journeys. The accountability in and of itself can make a drastic difference in helping someone succeed and stick to their goals.
It works because the partnership and support of a health coach empowers individuals to know and understand their health status and how to practice effective self-management and how to make lasting behavior change.
What does a typical health coaching session look like?
First – I always like to get to know my clients and find out about their overall lifestyle. This is just a conversation to get to know one another and find out about their likes, dislikes, work, family/home life, current and past health concerns, etc. This is our initial opportunity to connect and for the health coach to build trust and rapport with the client. After getting to know one another, we then delve into your health and wellness goals and what you would like to work towards and achieve.
Knowing more about the client (i.e. past successes/failures, attitudes and beliefs about health and fitness, readiness for change, personal interests, etc.), we will work together to establish SMART Goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Creating SMART goals is an effective method for cultivating both short and long term goals and turning your ideas and aspirations into reality.
During each session, your health coach will also be able to filter down and explain all of the information overload that is out there in regards to health and wellness. Your health coach is your expert sounding board that you can ask your questions and find out what you really need to focus on instead of following all of the information and tips you find online. A health coach will help you take that information overload and figure out what is best and most important for you; we bridge the gap between basic information that can be found virtually anywhere and knowledge and science-based implementation.
After our initial session, follow-up sessions entail checking in on your SMART Goals and actions steps we discussed previously as well as discussing barriers, set-backs, successes, and potentially new goals once other goals have been set in place and achieved.
I hope you have a clear understanding of the role of a health coach now and how working with one can be beneficial to your health journey. If you are interested in working with me, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a FREE 30-minute consultation.
Note: Be sure that your health coach is nationally accredited by the National Board of Health and Wellness Coaches. If they aren’t nationally certified yet (like myself), you can also look here to see if their program is listed as an accredited, reputable program.