Health Coach is a Necessity Rather Than a Choice
With increasing pressures, scientific advancement, further specialization and time constraints; doctors cannot meticulously train and follow the patient for lifestyle management. Health coach learns the desired goal as a team member of health care providers.
Health coach like any coach determines the strengths and weaknesses of the client vis-a-vis the objective to get to the goal as efficiently as possible. Health coach develops people especially with chronic medical conditions excel at living and attaining healthy lifestyle.
This is a new field practiced by healthcare professionals or anyone who has undergone the training.
Lifestyle management and risk factor modification are the first line of treatment or used in conjunction with pharmacologic and or procedural/surgical treatment. With increasing pressures, scientific advancement, further specialization and time constraints; doctors cannot meticulously train and follow the patient for lifestyle management.
Health coach learns the desired goal as a team member of health care providers. Coach meets with the patient to understand lifestyle, harness strengths and shore up weaknesses to attain the goal. It is a team effort with patient in the driver’s seat. Coaches help with a variety of issues like tobacco cessation, weight reduction, blood sugar/diabetes management, addiction thereby preventing life altering event and a negative prognosticator like heart attack or stroke.
Pillars of health coaching are open ended questions and positive psychology. Instead of stating the goals coaches decide with the patient the path to goal attainment. Although patients may have the same disease or goal, the path to the goal will be different depending on strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes and time available. This helps identify challenges and blind spots on the path to change. Patients are empowered and held accountable once the pathway to goal is established.
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There had been anecdotal reports of positive outcomes from health and wellness coaching. Now research shows that health coaching has positive effects on clients dealing with heart disease, hypertension, obesity, and diabetes, among other chronic diseases.
The success of health change often benefits other parts of life. Patients become more confident with each attained milestone. The confidence helps them take charge and change other aspects of their life. There maybe break through in work life balance, family life, exercise routine, meditation, sleep routine and interpersonal relationships.
Attributes of a Good Coach
Coaching requires empathy, personal insight and reflection, unconditional positive regard for clients, and a nonjudgmental approach. Clients may not do the work that they commit to, and some clients may expect to be told what to do. Coaches should manage expectations and emotions, keeping sessions focused, and maintaining focus and openness demand a lot of a coach. Great coaches practice self-care to ensure that coaching is a successful, fulfilling, and sustainable endeavor for them.
Some self-care coaches do:
- Take time for personal reflection through journaling and meditation
- Practice what they preach around diet, exercise, and lifestyle
- Maintain a manageable client load
- Schedule clients with enough time between sessions to write notes and reset
Coaches should also be able to recognize and know when to refer clients to other health professionals. Mental and physical health concerns should be referred out to a health professional qualified to deal with these issues.
Professional Life of Health and Wellness Coach
Health and wellness coaches can work independently or in a team of healthcare providers. It is a new field therefore there are no clear guidelines to training and qualification that can lead up to being a health and wellness coach.
Healthcare system employs lots of experts, diagnosticians, and professionals who can develop individualized treatment plans. Healthcare professionals help people understand these diagnoses and treatment plans. Health coaches help patients make the necessary changes to get them better.
Most of healthcare coaches can work virtually or use VITAE (Virtually integrated technologically aligned Ecosystems in healthcare) and SMART (Smart Medical Access, Response and Treatment) platforms like mHospital.