Health Coaching: What is it? How does it work?

There are various approaches to health coaching. This is the definition of health coaching on Wikipedia: “Health coaching is becoming recognized as a new way to help individuals "manage" their illnesses and conditions, especially those of a chronic nature. In both sports and health, a "coach" is a person who observes, gives objective feedback, teaches, helps to develop a plan of action and holds another responsible for their actions and commitments. The coach will use special techniques, personal experience, expertise and encouragement to assist the coachee in bringing his/her behavioral changes about.”

As a personal life coach, I work with clients who are going through health transitions or have health goals they want to achieve. My approach towards health coaching is that it's takes into account the client’s whole life and that it increases personal awareness of mind, body and spirit.  By taking steps to improve one's health, it will improve other parts of one's life. The focus is on personal growth and development.

Health is not static, it’s dynamic and changes over time.  Our bodies change as does our experience of our body.  With illness, with an injury, with pregnancy and nursing, with stress, with time and age, our experience and perspective of our body go through transitions and changes.

In health coaching, as in life coaching, the topics and agenda are driven by clients. Here are some examples:

  • Relationship to food,
  • Stress management,
  • Emotional eating,
  • The changing relationship with one’s body,
  • Fear of aging and mortality,
  • Planning, organization and setting priorities
  • Lack of motivation and/or procrastination (i.e. to exercise)
  • Saying no to others and advocating for self
  • Exploring and knowing one’s life purpose.

During health coaching sessions, the focus is on helping the client achieve their goals (measurable, thrilling and resonant) using a variety of coaching strategies, tools and resources that inspire awareness, growth and change. There is ongoing support and accountability during (and in-between) sessions which take place every week or every other week.

What it’s not:

  • Health coaching is not about advice or expertise about diet, nutrition, fitness or exercise. There are skilled personal trainers and nutritionist or dietitians who offer that and are an excellent complement to health coaching.  As a health coach, I believe that clients are the experts about their body and that my role is to help increase attunement and awareness of physical, emotional and psychic needs.
  • Health coaching is not indefinite.  It takes approximately 6 months, depending on the frequency of sessions, to see sustained changes and results.  My goal as a coach is to help the client learn how to self-coach so they can do it on their own. Check-ins and maintenance coaching sessions are always available as is the possibility for the client to seek out coaching sometime in the future.

So what are the benefits of health coaching?  Here are some of the benefits that my clients have experienced:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Lower resting heart rate
  • Weight loss
  • Smaller measurements, smaller clothing sizes
  • Changes to their beliefs about food, exercise, health
  • Increased  sense of personal leadership
  • Increased sense of confidence and self-efficacy
  • Feel lighter, stronger and more powerful
  • Increased sense of self-awareness
  • More energy, joy, and fun
  • Increased sense of calm and inner peace
  • More attuned with their body
  • Increased connection between mind, body and spirit
  • Increased ability to advocate for themselves
  • Increased organization and planning, and less procrastination
  • Awareness of their life purpose

When you honour yourself and take care of your health and well-being, it will reflect in all the other parts of your life too: healthy work environment, healthy relationships, healthy finances, healthy leisure and fun, and healthy home.

Health coaching helps you make long-lasting, meaningful and powerful changes to yourself and your lifestyle so you can enjoy the life that you've been yearning to have.