What is health coaching all about? Why add it to my nutritional therapy program?

Health coaching is a process that facilitates healthy, sustainable behaviour change by challenging you to listen to your inner wisdom, identify your values, and transform your goals into action. Health coaching draws on the principles of positive psychology and the practices of motivational interviewing and goal setting (You want to make sure that your health coach is board certified.)

 

To really appreciate health coaching you need to understand the process.

 

Relationship

First we establish a relationship. We need to want to work together, have a sense of trust and build a rapport. That rapport is important and must be maintained throughout the entire program.

Motivational Interviewing

Once we have established a strong level of communication, which is essential to successful coaching, we start the motivational interviewing process. This is the same process used in psychotherapy, social work, medicine and other related fields. The basis for of this method is that motivational interviewing provides motivation to shape the knowledge obtained which encourages behaviour change. Research shows knowledge alone does not promote change, this is why the more knowledge we have does not guarantee success and therefore why diets fail; but when motivation is added to the equation, change is likely to occur. We explore motivating factors and individual core values and goals. This allows you to express your desire to change your lifestyle and helps you identify it yourself rather than having it come from someone else. We focus on the present and not the past, which is what differs from traditional therapy.

Wellness vision

A wellness vision is a creative statement by you that reveals your highest potential and can include physical, emotional, social, spiritual and financial realm’s of one’s life. A new vision empowers one to see new possibilities along with specific and clear direction. This is a tool used by most health and wellness coaches to help you move to new levels of well-being by connecting to truth and wisdom within.

Goal Setting

The manifestation of a wellness vision is done through the process of goal setting. During the motivational interviewing process, after strengths, values and desires are determined and your vision is set in place, specific goals are set so you are able to move in the direction of your newly formed desires. Goals promote behaviour change which are achieved by us working as a team. This includes making a plan, follow up and evaluation of progress. Having a health coach will help you focus on the success you have had, even if the goal is not yet achieved. Evaluating strengths and what is successful helps you to move forward. Positive feedback can be that small piece that is needed to help you move through the negative self talk, ambivalence, resistance and other hurdles.

 

So why health coaching? Success that’s why!

 

Efficacy of Health Coaching:

Several studies have shown health coaching to be effective in improving various aspects of health. One study on type 2 diabetes concludes that after 6 months, individuals who were coached showed improvement in medication adherence. Coaching had a positive effect on patient’s knowledge, skill, self-efficacy and behaviour change while a non-coached control group did not show any improvement. Additionally, coached participants with a hemoglobin A1C over 7% showed significant improvement in A1C.[15]

A study on coronary heart disease indicated that patients in a coaching program achieved a significantly greater change in total cholesterol of 14 mg/dl than the non-coached patients, with a considerable reduction in LDL-C. Those involved in the coaching program showed improvements in secondary outcomes such as weight loss, increased exercise, improved quality of life, less anxiety, and improvement in overall health and mood.[16]

Another study shows that telephonic coaching is an effective program for assisting individuals with self-efficacy and weight loss. Confidence to lose weight increased from a baseline of 60% to 3 months 71%, 6 months 76% and 12 months 79%. The average BMI significantly decreased during this interactive coaching study. Average baseline was 32.1%, and then documented at 3 months (31.4%), 6 months (31.0%), 12 months (30.6%).[17]

A study on tobacco cessation concluded that after 12 months, the coached participants had a 32% quit rate compared to 18% for non-participants. Those that participated in the program, who acknowledged that they were ready for change, had the highest rate of quitting at 44%. Additionally, 11% of participants who did not quit reported reduction in tobacco use. This is considered a positive outcome because other studies have shown that when individuals reduce their tobacco use they find increase energy and general health.

Want more proof? Check out my testimonials page.

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