Ever wonder what being a health coach is like? In this post, we dive into how exactly you can help clients by becoming a health coach.
Health coaching is a rising industry where coaches drive patients to positively change their behavior and adopt healthy lifestyle habits. According to the International Coach Federation (an industry association), membership has risen from about 20,000 members in 2013 to almost 34,000 in 2018; while in 2017, the business generated $2.35 billion in the US and $900 million in Western Europe.
Health coaches play an imperative role in driving client-doctor relationships. The role of a health coach, whether working in a practice or individually, is to listen to and guide patients through a process of change. This is done by using tools such as rapport-building and motivational interviewing techniques like asking open-ended questions to draw out health goals from the client. Helping affirm those goals can lead to an optimal clinical relationship. Coaches set expectations, provide feedback, and help clients identify challenges along the way.
The Functional Medicine approach uses treatment plans designed to help clients make lifestyle-changes for healthy living while also improving disease outcomes. Often, diseases occur when fundamental lifestyle factors like diet, movement, rest, and/or sleep are lacking or imbalanced in an individual’s life. Integrating the simple strategies that help patients change these lifestyle factors into a healthcare plan can improve patient responsibility and increase their overall health and well-being.
Functional Medicine starts when a solid foundation is developed between the health coach and patient. Functional Medicine Health Coaches use various tools to help clients achieve those lifestyle changes such as the VIA Character Strengths Survey, (The Institute for Functional Medicine Timeline and Food Plans), which uses positive psychology to help individuals find their strengths to enhance their overall well-being.
Motivating the client while continually building trust is an important job of a health coach to improve the well-being and lifestyle of the client. The foundation of the relationship between a health coach and client is listening and learning on both ends, and from there, positive change can be achieved.
Like what you read and want to learn more about health coaching? Check out our short courses!
“Health Coaching as a Strategy to Enhance Your Practice: IFM.” The Institute for Functional Medicine, www.ifm.org/news-insights/lifestyle-health-coaching-strategy-enhance-practice/.