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Health and Wellness
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4-5 mins
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Janet Masters, MSN, APRN

Health Coaching: What is it and why should I try it?

Most of us are familiar with the role of a coach when it applies to sports. We observe the coach on the sidelines of a football game, for instance, providing support and encouragement to assist individual players to perform and behave optimally for the team to win the game. Similarly, yet a bit different, health coaching is the practice of supporting an individual in choosing positive lifestyle behaviors to perform optimally in relation to their health and wellbeing. 


We could all use a health coach no matter what stage or journey we are on. Coaching allows us to gain a better and different perspective of ourselves and can help us notice things that may be subtly blocking our way from achieving what we set our eyes on. Health coaching is a form of personalized care and helps combat the loneliness and isolation when navigating one’s health journey which can be complex and confusing.

Let's dig a bit deeper into health coaching and learn why it's growing in popularity!

What is Health Coaching

Wikipedia defines health coaching as the following: "Health coaching is the use of evidence-based skillful conversation, clinical interventions and strategies to actively and safely engage client/patients in health behavior change. Health coaches are certified or credentialed to safely guide clients and patients who may have chronic conditions or those at moderate to high risk for chronic conditions. "(wikipedia.com)

Who are Health Coaches

Health Coaches provide support, guidance and accountability as they work in collaboration with their clients in setting goals for better health and wellbeing. They can be licensed professionals such as, Registered Nurses, Social workers/counselors or Registered Dietitians. Or, they can be prepared in other fields, such as health education or exercise physiology.  Additionally, there is a certification for health coaches indicating they have received training in behavior change theory and listening techniques that are above and beyond their field of study. 

Why should I try health coaching?

Research is showing that health coaching has a positive impact in the management of chronic health conditions and gives you support to help you feel less alone in your healthcare journey.

Experiencing a Health Coach

Health Coaching may be a new kind of experience for you. Here are some differences between health coaching and traditional counseling:
Coaching:          

- focus is prospective

- Orientation on solution and

  capacity for change

- achievement/goal oriented

- can make therapist's job easier

- clients viewed as whole

- change is self-developed

 Counseling:

- focus is retrospective

- client has decreased level of functioning 

- may involve medication 

- "why" oriented

- diagnostic and theory driven

- recovery from past traumas

- Practitioner seen as authority 

Please keep in mind that not all health coaches are alike and you want to find the best coach for you!

You'll know you have a good health coach if:

  • You are given a good explanation and introduction of your health coach
  • You, rather than your health coach, spend most of the time talking during your time together
  • You are asked open ended questions and given time to reflect 
  • You are getting individualized and personalized care, not cookie cutter suggestions and solutions
  • Your own ideas and goals are the ultimate guide to your next steps  

And, last but not least, by engaging with a health coach you will finally receive the individualized care, focus and attention you deserve to become your best self in your health and wellbeing journey!

THE AUTHOR

Janet Masters, CNP, is a board certified Adult Geriatric Nurse Practitioner and a Supervising Nurse Practitioner at Reviving Mind utilizing her training and experience in behavior change methodologies and integrative medicine to positively impact the health and wellbeing of her patients.

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