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How Health Coaching Can Help You

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If you’ve seen my Profile Page, you’ll know that I’ve been health coaching for 20 years now. During this time, I’ve had the pleasure of supporting hundreds of clients to reform their lifestyles and achieve their personal health and fitness goals. And I’m not too humble to admit that I’ve been part of many success stories.


However, even though it’s a growing industry, there is still lots of confusion and misunderstanding surrounding the role of the health coach. I’m always asked by prospective clients ‘How can health coaching help me?’ and ‘What are the benefits of health coaching?’


To clarify these and other commonly asked questions, I’ve created a health coaching FAQ. While comprehensive, the FAQ isn’t exhaustive. It focuses primarily on broad questions. In addition, it aims to shed light on some of the particulars of the coaching process. If you get through the FAQ with any unanswered questions, head over to my Coaching Page for more information.


What is health coaching?

At its essence, the chief concern of the health coach is to help people make positive lifestyle changes. These changes can potentially exert a dramatic impact on a person’s life and radically improve their longevity.


Please don’t think that I’m overinflating the importance that health coach plays in peoples’ lives. A coach that supports their client to quit smoking or reduce their BMI from obese to healthy weight, has significantly reduced that client’s risk of suffering long-term health problems.


It's worth remembering that health coaching isn’t exclusively about identifying unhealthy habits and prescribing solutions. Followed by the expectation that the client will implement the solutions and live happily ever after. If only it was so simple!


Essential reading: The Power of Habits >

Coach-client relationship

The coach will endeavour to establish a relationship with the client, a relationship based on trust and mutual respect. Though often understated, this is an integral part of the process. The coach’s capacity to uncover unhealthy lifestyle habits will be impeded if their client does not feel comfortable sharing personal information.


Once a relationship has formed, the coach will embark on an exploration of their client's lifestyle. This will, of course, encompass areas that initially compelled the client to seek support in the first place. However, the coach also remains vigilant for opportunities to uncover previously overlooked habits that could undermine the client’s health or ability to implement improvement strategies.


Why is health coaching important?

As we saw above, by facilitating lifestyle changes the coach takes an active role in reducing their client’s risk of long-term health problems. According to many leading medical institutions, improving our lifestyle is the single most significant step we can take to avoid disease and premature mortality. Let’s use diet as an example.


According to Dr Tim Spector, a ‘poor diet has been estimated to account for around 50 per cent of common diseases.’ Spector goes on to say that eating ‘optimally’ could ‘prevent or delay around half of the disease burden of heart disease, arthritis, dementia, cancer, type 2 diabetes, autoimmune disease and infertility,’ (Food For Life)


The coach who supports their client's transition to an optimal diet could help steer them away from those diseases listed above. What could be more important?


Coaching is empowering

Another important role of the health coach is to educate and empower the client. Being better educated on those lifestyle factors that are known to erode health enables the client to make better choices. For example, an understanding of what constitutes an optimal diet informs us which foods to prioritise and which to avoid.


An educated client is also empowered. The more empowered a person feels, claims Michael Neill, author of The Inside Out Revolution, the more they become aware of the realisation that they’re not helpless victims, that they hold the keys to open the gates of change.


But there’s more to it than this. After all, possessing the most accurate knowledge is useless unless it is actioned: You might know which foods are beneficial, but if you continue to buy ultra-processed or eat takeaways, then it’s unlikely your health will improve. A competent coach will strive to cultivate confidence and self-efficacy in their client. These qualities are of paramount importance because they are powerful drivers of decision-making.


Who’s health coaching suitable for?

Health coaching is suitable for anyone who wants to make positive lifestyle changes. And it doesn’t matter what shape or size those changes come in. A common misunderstanding is that, before approaching a coach, you must first know what area(s) you want to work on. But the focus can be specific – to lose 20 lbs of body fat – or holistic – to improve general wellbeing.


The reason to seek out a coach doesn’t always have to revolve around reaching a goal. You might merely need some support keeping consistent with an exercise routine. This isn’t a goal as such. More a creative method of maintaining motivation. Having someone to hold you accountable can be a decisive factor in furthering your progression.


Coaching is for all comers

Coaching isn’t restricted to a specific demographic. People of all ages and from all walks of life have benefited from working with a coach.


I’ve coached a staggeringly diverse range of people – from semi-professional athletes to people living with a chronic and debilitating health condition.


Yet, in my experience, irrespective of a client’s life goals or health status, if they are prepared to approach the coaching process with an open mind and willingness to make changes, they can achieve a measure of success.



What are the health coaching benefits?

The main benefits of health coaching have been incidentally touched on throughout the previous two questions. However, a recap wouldn’t hurt. Plus, several other benefits have yet to be mentioned.


What follows is a list of a broad range of benefits associated with health coaching. So, if you solicit the services of a coach, you may experience:


  • Improved general health

  • Increased vitality and energy levels

  • Desired body weight and improved body composition

  • Breaking down bad habits and building up better ones

  • Increased physical fitness

  • Achievement of life goals

  • Increased self-confidence

  • Improved time management skills

  • Enhanced daily planning and the ability to appropriately prioritise productive pursuits

  • Improved financial health

  • Sustained cessation of smoking, alcohol consumption, and drug use

  • Improved sleeping patterns


Health coaching key takeaways

Health coaching can serve as a transformative process that supports people improve their wellbeing and potentially extend their longevity.


Health coaching can be used as a method of achieving personal goals. The goals can range from specific to broad areas of focus. Also, they can be short- or long-term or a mixture.


Anyone who is struggling to sustain healthy habits, irrespective of the underlying impediments, can benefit in some way from coaching.


While the primary concern of health coaching is to facilitate positive lifestyle changes, the scope is far broader. For example, health coaching can encompass important factors such as stress reduction, addiction cessation, inter- and intrapersonal relationships, career challenges, personal finance, and much more.


Find out more about Health Coaching >

 

About Adam Priest –

A former Royal Marines Commando, Adam Priest is a content writer, college lecturer, and health and fitness coach. He is also a fitness author and contributor to other websites. Connect with Adam at info@hungry4fitness.co.uk.

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