What Does a Health Coach Do?
Health coaching has come into existence out of sheer need for knowledgeable and dedicated leaders in the health and wellness space. Many people today, especially in the western world, are suffering from chronic illnesses and are not living up to their health potential. Unhealthy diets, lack of physical activity, and inattention to psychological health are areas of concern for much of the population. Health coaches can help.
Have you ever been to the doctor for an ailment and left feeling unheard or otherwise dissatisfied with the treatment plan? If so, that could be because many doctors today are too busy to spend ample time with patients and are often treating conditions in an isolated manner, with prescription drugs. That’s not to say you shouldn’t visit the doctor with your medical concerns (you certainly should!) or that regular physician visits should be abandoned. But, if you have ever felt as though your overall health is not being completely tended to by doctor visits alone, you may be among the many individuals who could benefit from the help of a health coach.
Health coaches take a holistic approach to wellness, meaning that they consider the whole body and mind when educating their clients about healthy living. Health coaches are also able to spend time listening carefully to their clients in order to best support each individual on their unique journey.
Health Coaches are Certified Health Professionals
Before becoming health coaches, professionals must complete a certification program in order to ensure their clients that they have the education and resources to be successful coaches.
There are many well-established health coach certification programs for prospective coaches to choose from. These programs provide a number of curriculums from renowned private programs such as the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute Health Coach Certification. Coaches can earn general certifications or can specialize their certificates in areas such as prenatal health, whole family health, children’s health, or adult health.
During their time in the certification program(s), health coaches learn how to best educate their clients and empower them to create wellness plans that work for their families and lifestyles. They also learn how to listen carefully to clients’ concerns and how to best motivate individuals and families to stick to their programs and achieve their wellness objectives.
Health Coaches Consider Your Specific Needs and Goals
Many medical professionals have pre-established treatment plans for all of their patients. While there are certain benefits to such an approach, we have all come to realize that our bodies are unique and that, while our symptoms may be identical to someone else’s symptoms, the underlying cause could be very different.
When approaching healthy living and health concerns in a customized and holistic manner, health coaches are able to educate you on simple, sustainable lifestyle changes that could improve your overall wellness. Say, for instance, you have a very demanding job that leads you to consume large amounts of sugar and caffeine throughout the day, which then leads to headaches and fatigue in the evenings, which causes you to miss out on family time, which in turn leaves you feeling anxious and guilty. All of this has you waking up in the middle of the night, unable to go back to sleep.
You could, very well, take a piecemeal approach to your ailments. You could treat a headache with medication, take something to help you sleep, maybe even something for the anxiety. Those, after all, are the medically treatable components of your problem, and from experience, we are all pretty good at identifying what can be treated with medications.
But a health coach might hear all of this and take a vastly different approach. She might educate you on the importance and benefits of exercising often, the effects of caffeine on mood and energy, and the importance and amount of greens and vegetables to have on a daily basis. And, most importantly, she will motivate you to stick to your plan, encouraging you along the way, and keeping up with your progress.
Your Health Coach will Meet with you Frequently
A health coach is your partner in your wellness journey and will meet with you frequently to check on your progress. Regularly scheduled meetings (usually bi-weekly or monthly) are designed to foster a relationship between you and your coach, hold you accountable, encourage your progress, and resolve any challenges or questions you have.
Health coaches are able to utilize video chat technology to meet with their clients remotely. That means you can check in with your coach from home or work.
Health Coaches Will Help You Pay Attention to Wellness Before You Get Sick
Today, we have more knowledge than ever about living healthy, and most of us now know that we must pay attention to our health before a problem arises. But paying attention to your health before getting sick is not always easy.
Without worrisome symptoms, wellness can take a back seat to more seemingly urgent matters. Life easily becomes about convenience, which is often not in our health’s best interest. Regular meetings with your health coach can ensure you are prioritizing wellness. And, as mentioned above, health coaches will teach you how to make healthier life choices which work for you and your family.
Do I Need a Health Coach?
Everyone needs a partner to hold them accountable and encourage them in their wellness goals. If you don’t already have someone like this in your life then, yes, a health coach could be a wise investment. Looking for a health coach is also a great idea for those who may have plenty of support, but who lack a personalized plan.
Health Coaches are also great matches for:
- people embarking on ambitious wellness plans
- people who have not been able to meet health objectives in the past
- people who require lifestyle changes to support medical intervention of illnesses
- pregnant women
- parents who want to align the wellness goals of all family members
Should I become a Health Coach?
Health coaches are leaders, problem solvers and encouraging individuals, with a keen interest in wellness and genuine concern for their clients’ wellbeing. Does this sound like you?
If you’ve been thinking about becoming a health coach and are convinced this path is a match for you, the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute offers several health coach certifications.
You can learn even more by reading our guide on everything you need to know about health coaching.