What is Health Coaching?




Health and wellness coaching developed as a field in the late 1990s in tandem with the rise of lifestyle medicine and the search for new ways to help people combat lifestyle-related illness, such as heart disease and diabetes. Early health coaches drew largely on established executive coaching skills, and there was little in the way of dedicated health and wellness coach training or nationally recognized certifications in the field.

Since then, though, health and wellness coaching has really come into its own and gained notoriety as an effective and necessary mechanism for patient support and lifestyle change. International Coaching Federation-accredited training programs, like Institute for Integrative Nutrition Coaching Intensive Practicum 2.0, ensure that all certified health and wellness coaches receive a rigorous and consistent education.

The National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching was established in 2012, as well, and since 2016 they have partnered with the National Board of Medical Examiners to administer the field’s national board exam. Additionally, the Institute of Coaching at McLean, Harvard Medical School Affiliate and other research entities have spearheaded dozens of studies on the effectiveness of health coaching, and the results have been overwhelmingly positive.

It’s now clinically proven that health coaching, as a supplement to proper medical care, helps people make measurable lifestyle changes and lower their risk factors for disease. It helps people improve their blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels. It helps them lose weight, increase physical activity, and manage stress. On top of that, it helps people build their self-confidence, self-efficacy, and overall sense of well-being. Health coaching doesn’t just help people get well, in other words, it helps them thrive.


How Specifically Does Health Coaching Do All That?



To put it simply, it trains your brain to tackle and conquer big challenges more effectively, and it does that with the help of a wide variety of methods and theories largely drawn from the world of psychology. Importantly, coaching is not therapy, and it does not take the place of working with a psychologist or psychiatrist. However, it is a form of growth talk that draws on positive psychology and cognitive behavioral therapy techniques, self-determination and social cognitive theories, as well as methods like motivational interviewing, appreciative inquiry, and non-violent communication.

Most likely, though, when working with a coach you will never hear them speak of these theoretical underpinnings. Your conversations and relationship is center around your personal growth edges, goals, and challenges, and your coach is focused on exploring and defining what it means for you to be well and thrive in your own unique way.

Health Coaches are known to tap into our fighting spirit and innate desire to change, identifying and harnessing your strengths, resources, values, and dreams along the way. She helps you set realistic, achievable goals, and together celebrate your successes and learn from your struggles. Throughout the coaching relationship, you have a safe, confidential space to grow into the healthy, happy person you know you can become.