Monthly Archives: February 2018

The Basics Behind Health Coaching

A health coach is often employed by a person who has some type of chronic illness. This isn’t always the case though, sometimes people need a coach to guide them through making healthy changes on their own. These coaches become models in the area of self awareness and are able to engage in a caring relationship with the person being coached. People who enjoy this type of work have to complete one of the many health coaching certification programs offered, either online or in a traditional classroom.

People who are already licensed health care providers can train to be health coaches, but this isn’t a certification in health coaching. The types of professionals who seek our training include; physicians, nurses, health care administrators, physical therapists, massage therapists, pastoral care associates, psychotherapists, and social workers. This training can take anywhere from several weeks to a more comprehensive 12 month program and it also includes many classes that are necessary for certification.

The certification program may include specific training modules that must be completed, in order to gain certification for health coaching. After taking all the required courses, there is an application for a certificate that must be submitted within the following year’s time. Besides turning in proof of course completion and the application, there are a few other steps that need to be taken before certification can be achieved.

One online program requires that a person seeking certification must show proof that he/she has been employed as a health coach for 6 months or been paid for at least 60 hours of health coaching. An application fee of 250 dollars needs to be submitted, as well as the following; current resume, 3 references from professionals, sample contract for a client, written description of some sort of scope of professional service, and promotional materials.

Once all the proper documentation has been gathered and is ready for submittal, there is an evaluation of skill that needs to take place. The person applying for certification will need to demonstrate the following:

  1. Understanding of how to practice emotional wellness
  2. Ability to avoid prescriptions and medical diagnosis
  3. A vision for what their practice will be
  4. Ability to be non-judgmental and work with this type of attitude
  5. Ability to perform a Health Assessment
  6. Understanding of several health strategies
  7. Ability to listen in both a somatic and verbal manner

The seven classes necessary for health coaching certification include a course on the basic fundamentals, skills needed, personal mastery, personal mastery partnership in coaching, the business of coaching, how to coach from an integrative health perspective, and the seven steps of change.

At least 80 percent of these classes need to be attended in order to gain certification. If any classes are missed, the person enrolled in the course must listen to the tapes of the missed class.

There is a lot involved in attending these programs; above is an example of just one, but the benefits are fantastic. Being able to help others through their feelings of powerlessness against the physical and emotional issues they may be going through is a great feeling.

The Key to Replacing Bad Habits With Good

Too many people are quick to take physical well-being and fitness for granted until it is too late and they find themselves without it. It is a familiar story. No matter how many examples individuals see of the impact such things as lack of exercise, poor nutrition, harmful lifestyle habits and preferences and stress on the health and well-being, physical and mental of others, they have a tendency to ignore it. They tuck it out of sight and out of mind, categorizing it as “someone else’s problem” – that is until it comes home to roost over their own door.

Yet, although you may have the best of intentions, it is never easy to replace old habits with ones that optimize both your fitness and energy levels. This is particularly true if you feel you have little or no support in the task. This is where a health coach comes into play. Health coaching is a wonderful way of helping us get onto the right track and staying there. The role of a health coach is to act as both your guide and champion. This results in a strong basis of motivation and makes it much easier for you to locate what you need to achieve your short and long term goals concerning health and fitness.

One of the biggest problems individuals face is their own unrealistic approach to the problem. They set goals to improve their overall fitness and health or to simply address a specific health issue that are not probable. They are unrealistic and can make it difficult and stressful to achieve. This increases the level of disappointment and sensation of failure. The result is a resurgence of the old habits. If, however, you work together with a health coach, you will be guided through a process of identifying, selecting and implementing distinct and achievable objectives. A life coach will also help you through the process and, in doing so you will acquire the basic tools you need to create for yourself an improved quality of life.

Another problem facing many who wish to alter their current bad habits to improve their health and fitness level in general is the availability of what can only be termed as generic information. The guidance and instruction one can access tends to be applicable in a variety of broad or non-specific situations. This contradicts the individual wants and needs of every human. Where they come from, their situation and circumstance varies one-from-the-other. This is also applicable to what they need and hope to achieve. It is obvious that if anyone wants to make progress, they need an approach that is tailored to their own requirements. It is the only way to motivate them towards a successful change. Health coaching is designed to look at each and every individual. It is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Health coaching allows everyone to feel a part of their own personal transformation as coaches guide him or her through the steps necessary to address personal needs. Under a health coach the program will fit in with the individual’s own life style including the demands of time and place.

A health coach is not to be confused with a personal trainer. An online coach cannot be there physically urging someone on to do more, eat less and direct the level and type of physical exertion. A health coach works on a different level. He or she guides the client through the sometime painful process of discovering and comprehending what their goal actually is. A health coach helps a client realize and utilize his or her own personal strength, motivation and inner being to accomplish the goals at hand. This is more effective since it works on changing from within not relying on the rote directions from some external force. It is easier to obtain what we really want when we are provided with the right tools, are truly self-motivated and have the support we require. If these are all in place it is much easier to make those changes in our life we need, finding motivation and determination to succeed within us.

Musings From a Health Coach

I’ll begin with a conversation I had with a student just this past week. A female in her early 30s, let’s call her Joe, signed up for the health coach training program, not in order to become a health coach, but simply to learn how to live a healthier life. However, as she moved through the program Joe became a little more open to the idea of health coaching and has just recently signed on a client. Unfortunately, just a few days after signing the client, the client called Joe to say that she was reconsidering the health coaching program for financial reasons. So Joe began to doubt the worth of she is offering as a health coach, just as any new health coach would after having a client cancel their program.

During our call last week, Joe started asking me questions like, “What am I providing for the client? Why is it valuable? Do I really have something of worth to offer them if it’s nothing physical that they are getting from me?”

Of course, there may be many reasons that someone would back out of working with a health coach before their program has begun. If a client backs out because of finances after already committing to the program, one reason could be that they don’t know or understand everything that a health coach can provide for them. They understand it in theory, but they don’t actually feel it and they can’t imagine how great it could be. I want to focus on this potential situation in particular because it is easy to avoid with a little practice.

The average person has forgotten what it feels like to have a health professional fully committed to spending a significant amount of time on them.They have forgotten that someone could be physically, mentally and emotionally focused on them for longer than 5 minutes! When a health coach sits down with a client, the cell phone goes off, there are no televisions in sight and the door is closed. No one is leaving or coming. Health coach and client face each other seated, in comfortable chairs with a notepad and glass of water, and they talk. They work through the challenges that interrupt a healthy, balanced lifestyle and they create solutions so that the client may move forward with his or her goals and dreams. Even if the potential client does understand this, sometimes they still can’t see the benefit because they have never had someone do this for them.

All that being said, there is a solution!

It simply takes more of an effort to help your prospective client see what you can do for them.

I know two specific “tricks” that you can use to overcome this health coaching challenge and I think that as you read them, your faith in the value of your service will be reaffirmed.

First of all, you need to tweak your initial conversation with the potential client. There are two steps to take during an initial consultation that I believe are essential. The first step is to summarize their health challenges and/or goals after taking their health history.

This step helps to establish trust between client and coach and to remind them of what it feels like to have someone listen and actually hear them.

Then right after you summarize their specific health challenges and/or goals, you ask the magic question. That question is, “How do you want my support with reaching these health goals (or, with overcoming these health challenges)?”

Sometimes they will have no idea how to answer this question. You can clarify by giving them examples of how you could support them, like by talking through the problem with them, taking them grocery shopping, giving them private cooking lessons, trouble-shooting when they can’t figure out how to fit more greens in their diet, organizing their pantry, teaching them about nutrition, etc.

The point is that they need to verbalize how they want you to support them with reaching their health goals and you need to confirm that that is what you can and want to do for them.

Don’t forget to give them some examples of what you will do together, ask them if they have any specific requests, and take notes!

My second thought on how to help a potential client see the worth of your service is less specific but even more important. It has to do with your confidence level.

In order for a person to want to trust you with their future, they have to respect you. It almost verges on the point of them needing to idolize you. They need to want what you have. This is a very subtle, instinctual and possibly unconscious feeling that they get about you based on your feelings about yourself. Some of the time you cannot control this, but most of the time you can.

One way you can improve your confidence in yourself and your service is to practice talking to people. Practice asking them questions and try to get them to talk about their personal life. They won’t know what you’re doing and you will become very skilled at making someone comfortable with opening up to you and getting them into the right mindset to say “yes!” to working with you.

I believe that once you start putting those suggestions into practice, you will begin to believe that the work you do is invaluable, as will your potential clients.

What Is Health Coaching

I am an ex medical professional who finished her medical studies 32 years ago, and fate had it that I have not practiced medicine for the last 18 years. You could say, I should be more knowledgeable about health matters than the general public, and I believe I am; however, health coaching was not known to me.

I registered at Health Coach Training and only when I asked my husband to practice with me, and after we practiced together, that he started to realize what health coaching is, and to appreciate what his wife is doing. This is just a reflection of the public’s awareness about health coaching.

For practice purposes, we discussed the level of satisfaction in 8 areas of life that he thought may affect his health, and he asked him to choose the area that he wished most to talk about. To my surprise, this was sleep; for I was not aware yet that he wakes up 3 times a night and was tired through the day. This was significant for him; he could not enjoy his work.

An alarm bell rang in my head. Could it be our relationship? Or is it something else? It was serious for me; I needed to explore it; for if it was our relationship, then we need to explore it and handle it. Or was it something else? It was equally serious for him, for if we thought it is his coffee, while our relationship was the culprit, then drinking less coffee will not be helpful.

We had to talk and explore various issues that play a role in his life and I say his life because it is not me who does not sleep through the night. It is him who needs to decide if there is anything that bothered him. It is he who decides whether any relationship exists between his sleeplessness and coffee or the kind of food he ate or may be work related issues.

Not knowing what he could do so that he slept better, we dug into ourselves and drew some answers from within and we started him on a tiny manageable step that he can do and he was committed to doing it. To start with, he may not drink coffee after 3pm and if this is not possible he should drink decaffeinated coffee after 3pm. Definitely he should take Max GXL for this helps people sleep better at night. I had recommended to him these supplements in the past, however, he did not take them. Now, he had to commit himself to take them.

With these steps in mind, he started the following day. This time I woke up with him at 5am to make sure he took his supplements. Of course I would not do that for any client; however, this is how sincerely I would go about helping you find ways to support yourself, so that you do not forget what you need to do.

What else did I do? I researched the internet to see what people actually do to help themselves with sleeplessness apart from going to the doctor and getting themselves a sleeping pill. And I found quite a lot. Relaxation exercises, foods that can be eaten and others that should not be eaten for evening meals, no alcohol at night, these are just examples which I showed to him when he came home. There were many others that can be used by any client with sleeping problems.

He also came to an agreement that he should not take a longer nap after 4pm. If needed, no longer than 30 minutes. I found myself alert around him, whenever I noticed him asleep I jumped to wake him up: ‘wakie, wakie – no sleep after 4’. And it worked. He did not sleep through straight away, it was 4 days later.

And I tell you something: his face lit up as we discussed his sleeplessness, as if he sensed the sincerity of my approach. He opened up when we explored together the reasons for his lack of sleep. He could see I genuinely wanted to help and support him. (He probably just prayed when my schooling will be finished, so that I have more time with him)

I think my husband’s story gives you a good idea and a vivid picture about what health coaching is all about. Basically, sometimes we know what we ought to do; however, sometimes we deliberately choose to ignore it. Knowing it and doing it are two different things. Having said that, sometimes we would not know what we can do to help ourselves.

As a health coach, it is my job to remind you of what you already know; to help you get the answers you need for the best choices for your unique situation; to forward to you sifted information that is relevant to your problem under discussion, aiming at shortening the learning curve for you; and help you identify what you need to do to accomplish your goal, and get you into action by taking tiny manageable steps each week and holding you accountable for moving forward.