Think about your last doctor visit. How much time did your doctor spend with you? Did you discuss health habits or nutrition or your lifestyle and activity levels?
Generally the answer is no. Most doctors only have a few minutes to spend with each client. Not that they don’t want to spend more time with patients, they simply don’t have enough time. Today’s doctors are trained to focus on sickness.
Most conventional doctors aren’t trained in the skill set of how to develop a long- term plan to keep you healthy and motivated, while holding you accountable.
Today’s doctors have less time for personal interaction and are required to have a more in depth knowledge in a narrowly defined niche.
Additionally, the landscape of healthcare has changed. Chronic disease far outweighs acute illness.
Australians are living longer than ever before but 1 in 2 of us are living with at least 1 chronic disease, which can affect the quality of our lives as well as those of our families or carers.
This is where health coaches can help! Many chronic diseases are preventable through diet and lifestyle changes. Health coaches have the time to support clients on an individual basis.
The primary goal of a health coach is to help clients achieve their health goals. In other words, a health coach provides personalised care. Health coaches not only help clients work through lifestyle and behaviour modifications, they mentor, inspire, guide, and motivate to cultivate positive health choices!
When it comes to healthy eating we understand you already know what is healthy, and what isn’t. However, there are a lot more factors to consider, which is where a health coach comes in handy.
Health coaches have the luxury of time that medical doctors don’t to delve deeper into the how’s and why’s of preventative care. Many doctor offices are even starting to add health coaches to their staff, which is a huge win for patients!
Health coaches provide guidance and management in the major components of health, including diet, physical activity, and overall wellness. In short, health coaching is a collaborative effort between the client and the coach.
Specific examples of a health coach’s role may include:
-Assessing a client’s current health condition -Developing health goals for a client -Providing counseling services -Documenting a client’s progress -Conducting behavioral health screenings -Establishing a client’s plan of action
Health coaching utilizes evidence-based clinical interventions which incorporates a three-pronged approach:
(1) the best available research evidence bearing on whether a treatment works and why
(2) expertise to identify client’s individual health state and their individual risks
(3) client’s preferences and values
Methods of health coaching involve motivational interviewing to facilitate behavior change, the transtheoretical model of change, goal setting, and active listening.
Each of these in more detail can be described as:
-Motivational interviewing (MI) is a client-centered counselling approach for eliciting behavior change by helping clients to identify strengths and weaknesses for meaningful change.
-Behavior change refers to efforts to address and change personal habits to prevent disease and achieve wellness.
-The transtheoretical model is a means of assessing an individual’s readiness to act on a new behavior to provide adequate strategies of change to guide the individual.
-Goal setting is a personal development tool used by health coaches to create an action plan designed to motivate and guide individuals toward a specific goal.
-Active listening is a communication technique used during sessions where a health coach fully concentrates on what an individual is communicating in order to establish an appropriate plan of action.
It’s important to keep in mind a health coach may not be a licensed dietitian.
Many states require separate license for prescribing specific diet plans. However, a health coach can help you understand the fundamentals of nutrition. Nor are health coaches medical advisors who treat medical conditions or disease.
The following describes the role of a health coach to facilitate a client’s wellness plan:
-A health coach offers support for client self-management. This can include providing educational resources and helping problem solve.
-A health coach can help clients become well versed in the health care system and medical resources.
-A health coach is excellent for providing emotional support.
-A health coach can be useful for building a relationship with medical providers by helping clients keep health histories to provide their medical doctors.
-A health coach will provide support throughout health and wellness efforts made by the client. Health coaches are increasing in demand to help fill the gaps in traditional medicine. The future of health care is reshaping with the focus moving from treatment to prevention.
While conventional medicine specialises in acute illnesses, chronic disease is now noted as being an epidemic today.
Because acute and chronic diseases act differently in the body, traditional medicine simply cannot (and does not) have the necessary approaches in place.
Fortunately, health coaches can help! The holistic care they provide is truly the future, treating the whole person, not just symptoms.
Here are a few approaches utilised by health coaches that conventional care simply doesn’t have the foundation for:
-Focus on holistic care
-Making a personal connection
-Retraining the brain
Health coaches have the unique ability to focus on a holistic approach.
Holistic health is defined as ‘an integrated approach to health care that treats the “whole” person, not simply symptoms and disease.’ The concept is based on the idea that the human being is multi-dimensional, therefore health and wellness approaches need to consider the physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs of the person to achieve optimal health. Health coaches do just that.
Health coaches work one-on-one with clients to focus on the emotional, physical, behavioral, nutritional, and lifestyle factors that are needed to enhance overall health and well-being!
Another aspect often lacking in traditional healthcare settings is an established bond between the patient and the doctor. Instead, health coaches work hard to provide genuine and meaningful interactions by building respect and trust with their clients.
Health coaches take the time to get to know clients in order to help set up obtainable goals. By understanding the psychological, behavioral, and emotional needs of clients, a health coach can provide a truly personalized client-centered experience.
By understanding lifestyle factors, for example someone being too busy to cook a health meal every day, a health coach can provide alternatives and tips for healthy eating while taking into account a client’s busy lifestyle. The goal is positive change! Of course, this cannot happen without understanding what a client is and is not capable of.
Being a health coach is something I am extremely passionate about. I love watching others while they achieve their goals and supporting them along the way!
If you have any further questions, please post them below and/or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am here to support everyone and look forward to hearing from each of you!
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