Have you ever tried to learn something new on your own? Maybe a new sport or hobby? Depending on what you were learning, you may have found going it alone got to be so frustrating that you simply gave up.
I’ve been fortunate to learn from great teachers and coaches. With their encouragement and instruction, I gained new skills and behaviors I likely wouldn’t have persevered to learn on my own. Five years ago I took up rowing and I’m always on the lookout for ways to advance my skills. When I heard about a local program that offered ongoing coaching from a three-time Olympian, I jumped on it. What a difference it’s made! My coach’s guidance and training helped me reach my goal to significantly improve my technique.
I believe when you’re trying to cultivate a new habit or change an old one, working with a coach can boost the likelihood that you succeed. When it comes to developing healthy behaviors, a health coach can be a valuable partner.
What is health coaching?
Health coaching is a structured approach that helps a client make changes in behaviors surrounding their health. Coaching is given in person or on the phone, using evidence-based conversation, clinical interventions and strategies to encourage the changes necessary to manage chronic disease or achieve a personal health goal. Health coaches are certified or credentialed through a governing body or educational institution. A key element of the coaching is that the client sets the agenda and goal. The coach helps identify behaviors and barriers that may be keeping the client from achieving that goal and offers strategies to overcome them.
Who can use health coaching?
Anyone who wants to change a behavior or improve his or her health can benefit from health coaching. It’s common to initiate coaching following a new diagnosis such as diabetes, or to quit a long-term behavior such as tobacco use.
Health coaching is often available at little or no cost to individuals through an employer health or wellness plan or an employee assistance program (EAP). It’s a valuable resource that can yield excellent results, yet it tends to be an underutilized benefit. For this reason employers should regularly promote the benefits of health coaching to employees.
Partnering with a health coach can be life changing for individuals who are motivated and willing to make the commitment to do the work. Don’t go it alone. Professional training and guidance can improve the chances of successfully reaching your desired goals.