A health coach is something a lot of people don’t know about and if they do, they probably know very little about what services they provide. For starters, the title ‘Health Coach’ sounds like a catch-all term, blending together fitness and medicine when it is so much different than that. It also sounds like a bougie term of something only famous people and the elite few can afford, which again is so far from what they are. So, what does a health coach do anyway? Where can you find them? Let’s look into what a health coach actually is and what they can provide for their clients.
For starters, think of health coaches as your own personal health cheerleader. They help clients implement changed to their lifestyles to see healthier outcomes over time. The number one goals of health coaches is to put the client in the driver’s seat when it comes to making decisions concerning their own personal health choices and to let them have as much autonomy of every aspect of the process as possible. Health coaches provide additional information, resources and help clients assess the pro’s and con’s of their choices so they can make a solid and sound decision. Health coaching is usually available through corporate wellness programs, hospital patient programming and through insurance programs.
Health coaching typically addresses six key areas:
- Stress Management
- Time Management
The client and coach work as a team to create goals to change a certain behavior or situation. Like I said before, health coaching is all about self-discovery for the client, the coach mainly point you in the direction to putting all of the pieces together. The client ultimately makes changes for things that will work in their life. A lot of coaching mimics psychologists’ therapy sessions with most of the obstacles facing clients are about their mental capacities concerning behavior changes. Health coaches go through motivational interviewing with each client in conjunction with cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to help them work through some of their thoughts. Eventually, people start to find out what mental blocks are keeping them from moving forward. This process is not about you listening to the health coach tell you that you have some life choices that are bad and that you need to change them ASAP. What it is about is empowering you to recognize that you have some things you want to change and they’re going to help you do that.
Consistent attendance to health coaching sessions has many benefits. Studies have shown that people who have consistently gone to health coaches see improvement with blood pressure, lowered their cholesterol, improved glucose/triglycerides, weight loss and improved cardiovascular fitness. The important thing to make all of this work effectively is to be consistent with your coaching sessions, following through on making good on you goals and getting frequent feedback about your progress.
Aside from all of the above, a health coach also provides accountability. The very fact that someone has a standing appointment with their coach or knowing they have to check in with you is enough to hold a lot of individuals accountable. Accountability is probably the most important cornerstone to make the rest of the process work easy or even at all. Lastly, coaches provide encouragement and unconditional support. These really go without saying but the ‘client-coach’ partnership is one that is positive and a safe space for you to talk about your health-related concerns.
If you are or have ever considered trying out health coaching, talk to your healthcare provider so they can give you names of coaches in your area as well as to see if your insurance will cover the service. You ultimately want to choose a health and wellness coach who is board certified (NBC-WHC) that basically means that they have had proper training.
Setting and reaching health and wellness goals can be difficult and going to see a health coach to provide some clarity and encouragement is a really smart move if you’re committed to your goals. Switching to a healthier lifestyle positively affects everything. You’ll be more energized and motivated to do more and live life to its fullest.
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*John Schessler is a Pittsburgh-based Personal Trainer, Orthopedics Specialist and Men’s Life Coach. He is also host of the ManAlive! Podcast available on Apple Podcasts. Please email all questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.*