What exactly is a health coach?

I want to be a health coach

If you had asked me that a year ago, I would have just shrugged my shoulders, and then took another bite out of my donut. For realz…

If I had not stumbled upon a simple little blog last year, I still would not know what one was, let alone BE one.

Our narrow focus on sick care

Think for one second the last time you were at your doctor’s office. How much time did they spend with you? 15 minutes? Maybe 20?  Well, if you’re lucky, right? My doc spent so little time with me that I about got whiplash wondering where he went. 

Studies have shown that a large percentage of primary care physicians book patients in 15-minute intervals. Dang. That’s not cool. 

So in that short period of time, your doctor needs to quickly assess your symptoms AND figure out how to make those symptoms disappear. His or her primary goal is to slap a bandaid on you and get you on your way.

Many times, your doctor will do this with prescription drugs, which may not have been necessary. I bet your doc never suggested alternatives to drugs, has he? Nope. That would take to long to try.

But it’s what they do– focus on sickness.

Does your doctor have time to chat with you about your health habits or nutrition? Nope. Time to discuss your lifestyle and activity levels? Nope. And obviously, no time to talk about any added stress in your life.

The crazy thing is, these are exactly what may be what keeps you well. 

But, would he discuss this anyway?

Even if your doctor did have the time, the truth is they’re not trained in these areas. Nope. Not part of med school curriculum.

Not to mention nutrition guidance – a major building block of wellness – during med school either. Instead, science turns to personalized pharmaceuticals and pushes that on doctors instead.

Today’s doctor are required to have more depth of knowledge in a narrowly defined niche – and much less breadth. With vastly less time for personal interaction and “tell me about your self-care routine” chatter.

And preventable, chronic diseases – most of which are lifestyle-derived – are not what our current medical landscape is well equipped to manage.

You can’t pop a pill for a lifestyle-related disease.

Enter health coaching

Many health coaches, like myself, became health coaches after a personal experience with their health.

For me, it happened after years of frustration; I finally learned to heal myself through simple nutrition and lifestyle changes.

Wait what? 

Yep, I believe that strongly in the power of health coaching.

So what exactly do health coaches do?

Basically, a health coach supports their clients to achieve their health goals, through lifestyle and behavior modifications. 

A big secret to health coaching?

We listen.

We also mentor, inspire and motivate our clients to cultivate positive health choices. The reality is that most people know what they need to do to be healthy, but they just don’t do anything about it. We have the time to figure out why you don’t…

Time that medical doctors don’t.

A positive  future

More and more medical doctors and traditional healthcare are starting to get it and hire health coaches to help them in their offices! So, we can all be hopeful that we’ll begin to reverse disease and improve peoples’ lifestyles. 

If you’d like to learn more about IIN, the health coaching program I attended, click here to get a copy of the curriculum guide.

Have you ever hired a health coach? Do tell!

-talk to you later, tess