What Is a Health Coach?

What is health coaching?

The National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching (NBHWC), the credentialing organization for Health and Wellness Coaches define them as coaches who “partner with clients seeking selfdirected, lasting changes, aligned with their values, which promote health and wellness and, thereby, enhance well-being. In the course of their work health and wellness coaches display unconditional positive regard for their clients and a belief in their capacity for change, and honoring that each client is an expert on his or her life, while ensuring that all interactions are respectful and non-judgmental.” (see https://nbhwc.org/)

Health Coaching is a process:

Health coaching is an exploratory, client-led personal journey of change, where the client learns to make healthy, sustainable behavior change with a health coach as a guide. It is through this process that clients gain knowledge, skills, and confidence to make lasting and positive behavioral changes.

Health Coaching is a partnership:

The health coaching relationship is different from relationships that clients may have with their health care providers. Health coaches are not here to give advice, prescribe a plan, or tell their clients what to do. Instead, they serve as a guide in the client’s journey. You as the client will be a very active participant in the process. Indeed, no one knows your life better than you do. So, no one else can better say what is important to you, what you are interested in, and what you are willing to try in order to make healthy changes. To move forward, your health coach will ask you important questions, and expect you to share your honest feedback.

This partnership works best when you are able to voice your opinions, thoughts and feelings clearly. The health coach’s job is to listen with deep curiosity and without judgment, to demonstrate respect for your autonomy, and to provide you with a specific framework for change that has been shown to help thousands of people significantly shift their lifestyles. This process has also been shown to be helpful in allowing you to gain knowledge when you are ready for it, skills as you practice new things, and confidence to make lasting change. This does not mean that the coach will “go easy” on you; in fact, one of the ways in which the coaching relationship works is by helping you stay accountable to your own goals and wishes. The coach will work with you to clarify how you would like the coach to support your accountability.

Health Coaching is empowering:

Health coaching is an experience that empowers the client to make lasting, positive health behavioral changes. The process builds on the client’s strengths and values and helps the client discover his/her own intrinsic motivators. It involves the use of techniques such as mindfulness and visioning as well as enhancing self-awareness and self-compassion. The coach helps the client find their own way by defining and clarifying their own goals and moving towards them in an incremental, manageable way. Clients gain skills of self-monitoring and accountability to create sustainable change towards improved health and wellbeing.

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