I recently read an article in which a medical doctor was giving his opinion on health coaching. Given that health coaching and conventional medicine have not always gone hand in hand, I was curious about an insider’s perspective.
But let’s dive in and give some context first.
What exactly is health coaching? And why does the medical community care?
A health coach is a specially trained individual who helps a client achieve a certain goal. They do not diagnose treat or cure disease , but instead they can work alongside a client’s primary medical team and help the client with goal setting, creating a plan to achieve those goals, weight loss strategies, mindset changes, stress reduction and essentially supporting the client with life changes to help prevent or decrease chronic health conditions.
Why can’t doctors do this?
Well, they can. But the issue, as you may well have experienced, is that when visiting your doctor, you are probably lucky to spend 5 to 10 minutes discussing all of your issues and prescriptions. On the other hand, a health coach specifically dedicates larger amounts of time to really understanding the client, their motivations, their limitations and forms a very close relationship that aids the client in achieving goals. The health coach is specially trained in special interviewing techniques that enable them to identify underlying issues that are currently inhibiting success. Most of the time, your medical provider simply does not have the time available or the specialized training to do this.
While health coaches are not psychologists or psychiatrists, they understand motivation and the psychology behind habit change and they utilize similar techniques in order to improve habits and affect change.
Here’s where it gets good.
Is there any good evidence that health coaching really works?
In his article, Dr. Peter Grinspoon states, “Coaching is effective for people managing a variety of health conditions. According to a recent study, coaching “results in clinically relevant improvements in multiple biomarker risk factors (including systolic and diastolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, fasting glucose, body weight, body mass index, waist circumference, and cardiorespiratory fitness) in diverse populations.” Coaching has also helped improve health-related quality of life and reduced hospital admissions in patients with COPD. No wonder some doctors’ offices are offering it, some insurance companies are paying for it, and private companies are even starting to offer coaching to their employees in order to lower their healthcare costs.” This is HUGE! There is actual research backing Health Coaching. Which means, there will likely be an increased acceptance and utilization of health coaching services in the future according to Healthishly.
How can you find the right coach for you?
Healthishly is a compilation of certified coaches who are located across the map with various offerings, specialties and trainings. It is the one spot to find the exact health coach to fit your needs and get you the results you desire.
What’s the key takeaway?
It’s time to take health coaching seriously. Although, right now, the realm of Health Coaching is hugely under-regulated, keep your eyes out for more regulation on the horizon. Also, keep your eyes out for increased utilization by health insurance and conventional medicine practices. Your time in the spotlight is coming, health coaches. Keep honing your skills. The world needs you now.