After obtaining a BA in Health Education, I was offered a job as a “health coach” with an onsite corporate wellness company. My duties involved biometric screening and providing health education or coaching. A the time, the difference between the two wasn’t vey clear to me. So, to increase my knowledge in the health coaching area, I decided to enroll in a graduate certificate course in health and wellness coaching. Initially, I thought I would be learning about additional health topics that were not covered under my BA degree; however, to my surprise, I quickly found out that health & wellness coaching is very different from health education.
“Wellness coaching begins with the understanding that wellness is “not simply the lack of disease process or simply the absence of illness,” but a continuum that is fluid and ever-changing.” – Kristin Werner.
A health educator can extensively teach or educate someone on a topic and help increase their knowledge, however, if the goal is to effect change in the life of the individual, more is needed than just education. This is when health and wellness coaching comes in. A person looking to adopt a healthier lifestyle can be educated on the benefits of a healthy diet, physical activity, etc; however, for him/her to apply this knowledge into their life and create sustainable change, a health coach is an important guide to help the person take charge of their own health and assist with integrating the information into their daily routine.
Coaching, for me, is working one-on-one with clients to aid them in delving deeper within, exploring their thoughts, and
discovering the best answers that suits their needs. Behavior change is an important part of coaching, and health coaches help guide clients through the stages of behavior change, so they can be fully equipped to work on their goals and successfully achieve them.
Coaching, for me, is also about mindfulness. Mindfulness on both the coach and client’s part is very important in healing, letting go of negative thoughts, being fully present, and cultivating acceptance. Active listening is also essential in coaching, since thats the foundation needed for good communication.
The focus of the health and wellness coach will always be on YOU, forward movement, and achieving your goals. There will be a focus on motivational interviewing, active listening, creating action steps, and the transtheoretical model of behavior change. Additionally, the coach is always there to give you the motivation needed to help you leap into action steps intended to help get you to your desired destination in life and stay there long term.
Expect a lot of powerful questioning to help you delve deeper within and explore your thoughts and emotions. This will help identify self-destructive patterns and barriers that may be standing in the way of reaching your goals. We will also partner together to establish SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound) goals and help you achieve them. As a client, these are all the things you can expect in our coaching sessions.
To find out additional information about coaching, visit the International Coach Federation (IFC) at https://www.coachfederation.org
“Health & Wellness Coaching.” MUIH. N.p., n.d. Web.
“Master of Arts in Health & Wellness Coaching.” MUIH. N.p., n.d. Web.
Werner, Kristin. “What Is Health and Wellness Coaching?” KAPLAN UNIVERSITY: Center For Health & Wellness. N.p., n.d. Web.