What do you do again?????
Blank stares. Quizzical looks. Upturned eyebrows. Those are just some of the responses I get when I tell someone I am a health coach. Listen, I get it. Health coaches are a relatively new field and not everyone has heard of them.
For my first blog, I thought I would take a moment and explain a bit about how you can use a health coach.
What is a health coach?
So a standard definition that I like to use is: A health coach’s purpose is to facilitate behavior change to help you transform your wellness goals into reality.
At this point some people may wonder: “Behavior change? I thought we were talking about health?”
Well in a nutshell your behavior dictates your health. Your everyday habits contribute to the current state of your health. If someone is overweight, they know they need to lose weight and have tried to in the past, but it hasn’t worked. Why? Are there some habits or behaviors contributing to this problem?
A health coach will help you discover what some of the issues or obstacles have been and work with you to co-create goals and help identify trouble spots. A health coach really listens to you to understand your challenges. They can spend the time with you that normally your doctor can’t. A health coach can work with you at a deeper level because they take the time to understand your unique situation.
Did you notice the word “co-create” I used earlier? That’s because another feature of the health coach – client relationship is that you, as the client get to drive. What I mean by that is you decide what you want to work on and you decide how to get there. If you want to quit smoking and I think you should lose weight and I “dictate” that you should tackle weight loss first – do you think that will be successful? Uh no. Of course, we will have discussions and I can help guide you, but ultimately the decision is yours.
Maybe you are, at this point, noticing that there is an empowering aspect to this for the client. You’re right! Once, you start to see progress and learn more about whatever issue(s) you are facing, you become more aware of what works for you. You start to know your body and how your environment contributes to your health.
How you can work with a health coach is as wide and as varying as the health and wellness issues that people face so it is hard to put us in one neat box.
I can tell you what a health coach is NOT: A health coach is not a doctor. We don’t diagnose conditions, prescribe medications, or recommend changes to your current medications. We are not doctors, nurses, therapists, personal trainers or nutritionists/dieticians. Health coaches do not treat disease or psychiatric conditions, and we do not diagnose or prescribe, or provide therapy.
However, if you are:
- In pretty good health, but want to perform better….
- Working with a doctor, but need more support…
- Sick with autoimmune or a chronic disease and don’t know where to turn…
- Want to age well, but not sure how….
- Need help with sleep issues or stress…..
Then a health coach can help! If you didn’t see your particular situation above, don’t worry. Feel free to contact me or set up a free 15 minute consult to see if your situation is something I can help with. There is no obligation and I am not high pressure.
When choosing a health coach, consider the following:
So maybe this “health coach thing” sounds like it is just what you need. How do you make sure you choose someone who is right for you?
Well one important consideration is fit. Do you feel comfortable with the coach? Do they seem like they are listening to your needs? Do your personalities mesh? If you don’t feel comfortable with the coach and don’t feel like you can trust them, then it’s a bad fit. Move along to someone else you do feel at ease with.
That is one of the reasons I offer my free 15 minute consult. That way we can talk and get a feel for each other and so I can understand what you are looking for. If I am not the person for you or I don’t cover your situation you find out quickly with only an investment of a few minutes of your time.
Did you know that you don’t have to be licensed or certified to be a health coach? Check your coach’s background. Where did they train? And make sure their training (if they have any) matches with your needs. For instance, I have been trained as a Functional Medicine Health Coach through the Functional Medicine Coaching Academy (FMCA). A Functional Medicine Health Coach has been trained in the most recent scientific breakthroughs in the field of functional medicine: a modality that addresses finding the root cause of chronic disease with the specific intent of prevention and reversal, while treating the person as a whole, rather than just treating the symptoms.
I specifically chose this program because I was familiar with functional medicine and I always want to find the root cause of a problem. I was tired of doctors just giving me more medications as a band-aid instead of trying to find out what was causing the problem.
Are you tired of this too? If so, then my approach may be right for you.
Do you want to meet with your health coach face-to-face in a professional setting or would you like to do this virtually either over the phone or via online video? Some coaches offer both and some offer just one or the other. What is most comfortable for you? Are you super busy and can’t imagine having to leave the office or home for another appointment?
Check with the health coach and see what they offer. I personally offer phone or video chat. They have proven to be just as effective as a face to face session and I find it is easier to fit into people’s busy schedules.
Health is a habit, health coaches are habit forming!
Improving your health can be truly life changing. But sometimes you need some help in making it happen. Health coaching is becoming more common and doctors are quickly learning the value of having a health coach as part of their team. But you don’t have to wait until your doctor gets one on staff. Health Coaches, like me, are already here and ready for you! So don’t wait to start to feel better, start today. Take that first step towards a better future today.
I hope that helps explain my role a bit more. And the next time someone tells you they are a health coach they will see that spark of recognition!