Updated: Oct 26, 2022
Health coaching is a profession that empowers people by encouraging them to take control of their health. Health coaches work with clients and support them to be active in making positive changes. It is a collaborative partnership between the client and coach.
It is working together, as client and coach, breaking down health problems or symptoms and translating them into achievable, realistic and sustainable goals. It is motivating, encouraging, supporting and sharing knowledge and experience with clients to ensure the best possible outcome.
Health coaching is recognising when clients health problems go beyond the health coach scope of practice, and when to refer to clients own doctors / GPs. Did you know, the health coaching profession is recognised by the NHS service in the UK, therefore health coaches are able to - with client consent - refer and write to clients GPs.
In fact, the College of Naturopathic Medicine where I studied and graduated with a Health Coach Diploma are the first college in the UK to achieve accreditation with the UK NHS Personalised Care Institute (PCI). This is a huge shift in the UK's healthcare system because it signposts early intervention via health coaching as being a key part of health and wellness.
Health Coaches may also refer clients to other professional service providers such as nutritionists, chiropractors, and herbalists.
What is the customer experience like?
Most health coaches are trained to conduct an initial consultation followed by subsequent check-ins and follow-ups. The duration, number and frequency of each meeting may vary by health coach. Health coaches are trained to use various different coaching tools to really help pinpoint the things that matter. The outputs from health coaching are personalised coaching plans that are unique to each individual client. In addition to coaching plans there will be various other reference sheets available, be that recipes, handouts or links to additional resources. The experience is very positive, upbeat and goal focussed. Clients thoroughly enjoy the meetings and often feel like it is time they should get to spend with their doctor. This is because health coaches review the whole person and focus on identifying the root cause rather than treating the symptoms. "Whole-health" is the health coach mantra.
When to Hire a Health Coach
The rise of the internet and access to it has meant that many people are looking for health advice online. It's very easy to find a range of information, from sites about weight loss programmes to sites providing general health information. But what's good? And who do you trust?
Perhaps you're a busy person who has little time to do the latest research or maybe you're stuck in an "old habits loop", maybe you just find it really difficult to get started on your health goals, or maybe you're good at starting your health goals but struggle to stick with them. If any of these points resonate the good news is, you're not alone. These are perfect reasons for choosing to work with a health coach.
You could be suffering symptoms that you want to hone in on but you don't know where to start or how to tackle the investigations. Health coaches are trained in how the body works and the most common pathologies so they are perfect candidates to help you with root cause analysis.
As science progresses, we know that more and more medical conditions can be reversed by making changes to diet and lifestyle. Diabetes Type 2 and Fatty Liver Disease are two perfect examples of this. Dr Rangan Chatterjee talks a lot about reversing Diabetes Type 2 using a naturopathic approach in his blog here.
I constantly hear people say things like "It's how I am". They seem to think that it is the way they are and the way they will always be. It doesn't have to be this way. People can make positive changes to their health at any age, and it isn't too late to start. So why not start now?
Benefits of working with a health coach
Working with a health coach will help you get from A to B faster than going it alone. Health coaches are like personal trainers for your health. They work one-on-one with clients, helping them set goals and achieve their objectives. Some Health Coaches do offer group programmes in addition to one-to-ones.
Health coaches will remove the overwhelm from information and Google overload, saving clients time and keeping them focussed on their goals.
Being accountable to a health coach will boost the chances of achieving goals and greater success. They will be cheering clients on from the sideline and picking them up when they fall. Always around to impart knowledge and expertise when clients need it.
Health coaches will educate, support and motivate their clients to make, holistic, sustainable changes and to help them overcome self-sabotage.
Health coaches are highly qualified experts trained in whole-health principles. They will be continuously improving their knowledge and skills by means of Continuous Professional Development (CPD) and imparting this knowledge and experience to their clients. Knowledge is power!
How to find a Health Coach
In order to practice health coaches are (or should be) members of organisations such as the UK Health Coaches Association and The Association of Naturopathic Practitioners. This ensures they work to high standards and have an agreed scope of practice. You will usually find practitioner directories on those websites so do take a look and check out membership status before signing up with a health coaching practitioner.
Health coaches usually hang around on social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram so why not follow them first to get a feel for how they work, who they work with and the sort of problems they like to solve.
When you've found a good match, chat with them on direct messaging services, email, WhatsApp or ask for a free consultation. Any qualified health coach will be able to support you but the important thing is finding one that you can work with and this is a really important factor in the selection process.
Health coaches typically offer coaching services via online video services such as Zoom so you don't need to be physically located close by to your preferred coach. This is something you should check first. At the time of writing this, I have coached most of my clients online over Zoom and it's never been a problem. In fact, I often find that people are a little more relaxed in their own surroundings.
As you can see, health coaching has many wonderful benefits. If you’re interested in learning more about health coaching and how it could benefit your life, don’t hesitate to reach out. I’d love to chat with you over on Instagram! You can find me here
Fancy a Career Change?
If you're interested in training to become a Health Coach, it is important to select a respectable and reputable company. The College of Naturopathic Medicine (CNM) is offering a £250 discount on a Diploma Course such as the Health Coach Diploma (other courses are available). Click here to find out how you can save £250 and start working towards your next career move.