What does a Health Coach do anyway?

I had the same question when I was hired by a large health tech company just under 4 years ago. Now, after sustaining one role and complementing it with a number of others in the health coaching space, including my first real go at entrepreneurial-ship, I know the answer to be much deeper than it might appear on the surface.

As a Board-Certified Health & Wellness Coach (NBHWC.org), I’m tasked with empowering clients through the six stages of change as laid out in the trans-theoretical model: pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance, and termination. In short, Health Coaches support individuals to lead happier, healthier lives through enjoyable, sustainable behavior change. The behaviors able to be supported by the unique experiences and knowledge of each Health Coach do differ; my work is specifically concentrated in four facets of wellness from which my own educational background and certifications apply: mind, body, relationships/intimacy, and contributions to society (work-life balance, meaning, purpose, values, and strengths).

In an initial session with a client, be it via text or on the phone, over Zoom or in-person, a Health Coach typically comes with one particular goal in mind: helping the client get clear about where they’d like to go. For some, this might be a vision of health that includes weight loss, improved cognition, or better sex. For others, it might be determining next steps at work — like striving for that promotion, switching careers, or building a values-based business. For clients who employ others, goals might be more team-oriented, like boosting workplace productivity or kickstarting a corporate wellness initiative. Most importantly, Health Coaches are skilled at meeting each individual client where they’re at in every session. This includes stepping back and offering referrals when topics outside the Health Coach’s scope of practice arise (i.e. to a therapist for mental health concerns or to a physician or naturopath for medical questions).

Once the client and coach have pinpointed the client’s vision for the future, sessions become devoted to empowering actions that propel this client toward their vision. Familiar terms like SMART goals, intrinsic motivation, and back-up plans all come into play. Potential set-backs like going away for vacation, falling sick, or the menstrual phase of the menstrual cycle are all brought into the open, dissected, and strategized around. Structures to help a client sustain helpful habits and behaviors through these challenges are built from the outset of the coaching relationship.

So let’s say you’re the person considering a partnership with a Health Coach. Maybe you’ve already identified a key change you’d like to see happen in your life: you’d like to ward off health concerns you’ve seen throughout your family history… or you’re working to build better habits this summer when you have some extra free time… or you’re eager to see your decisions in better alignment with your values. Whatever your vision looks like, a Health Coach can help.

Ready to dive in? From TextAHealthCoach.com, members of the Alliance of Professional Women can access a full-scale 1:1 coaching package for 20% off! Simply use the “APW” code in the package type dropdown menu. At the end of the day, working with a Health Coach helps you go deeper, build more complete awareness, and take more intentional action. It’s your vision, brought to life!

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