I think it is safe to say we have all heard of health coaching by now. A profession that is fairly new and was once overlooked by the medical community is now booming, and being recognized for its benefits. You can find health coaching services everywhere now a day.
Health coaching has some pretty mixed feelings surrounding the field. With there not being much regulation on the field yet, as it is still in its infancy there are a lot of questions on what health coaches actually do and how to find a good one. From apps on your phone, to your doctors office, even some health insurances offer health coaching to their consumers. With the health coaching profession growing, why should you care about it, and more importantly what can it do for you? You may be surprised by the benefits of health coaching and all that it can do for you and your loved ones. So long story short, yes you should care about health coaching.
What do health coaches do?
A health coach is just that... a coach! Someone on the sidelines cheering you on and helping you to achieve your health related goals. Health coaches work with you to develop a plan that allows you to implement sustainable lifestyle changes and improve your physical health. Individuals see health coaches for a wide variety of reasons. Some popular reasons for visiting a health coach include: weight loss, management of chronic illness, stress reduction, improving diet and exercise, tobacco cessation, improving sleep, and more. Although some health coaches follow different schools of coaching, most health coaches use motivational interviewing and evidence based approaches to help you identify and achieve your goals. Health coaches believe that you are the expert in your own life, meaning they believe you already have the answers, and they ask the right questions to help you get there. Health coaches never focus on what's wrong, instead health coaches focus on what is going right, and what your strengths are, once they identify your strengths they help you develop a plan that utilizes those very strengths. Having a health coach means having a constant support system.
So does health coaching work?
Okay so we know what health coaches do, but the more important question is, does health coaching work? The answer is yes! With health coaching being a growing profession there is now more and more evidence to support that health coaching works, and that health coaches really do
help their clients in improving their lives and making sustainable change. Research has shown that individuals who work with a health coach showed "clinically relevant improvements in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, fasting glucose, body weight, body mass index, waist circumference, and cardiorespiratory fitness". Health coaching can also allow you to better understand your health, and stay accountable for healthy habits. Another great aspect of health coaching is that it can be used as preventative care. Health coaches can help you identify modifiable risk factors in your health and work on a plan for change with you. By addressing modifiable risk factors you can decrease your chance of developing disease. One study showed that patients with COPD who also received health coaching had significant improvement in quality of life, and fewer hospital admissions. Health coaching can also be used after a major health event to allow the individual support and accountability in creating new sustainable habits. No matter if you are trying to improve or maintain your health, a health coach can be beneficial!