Published: October 9, 2020
We are still on cloud 9 from hosting our first-ever symposium, Insights Into The Future of Health Coaching! Our incredible group of industry experts shared what’s shaping health coaching right now and what’s next for our field.
We began by honoring our keynote speaker Margaret Moore, Co-Founder & Chair of the Institute of Coaching and CEO of Wellcoaches, with our first-ever Annual Impact Award, created to recognize those individuals and organizations who make significant contributions to this growing field. We learned so much from each of our symposium speakers and the wide array of knowledge they shared with us from their experiences in the industry.
Here were our key takeaways:
1- The coach is the connector.
The health coach, more than any member of the collaborative care team, can establish meaningful connections and facilitate conversation between the doctor and patient. Founder of the Texas Center for Lifestyle Medicine Dr. Cheng Ruan shared that, from the physician’s standpoint, it’s a challenge for him to have meaningful conversations with each patient during their limited time. But his coaches make it happen.
“When we have coaches, our language changes…I learn better communication through my health coaches. Whenever a practice adopts health coaching, the entire practice has a change of mindset, and conversations change. We become a guide rather than a hero.” Dr. Cheng Ruan, Founder of the Texas Center for Lifestyle Medicine
By connecting with patients and striking meaningful conversations, health coaches create less of a barrier between the physician and patient. As a result, Dr. Ruan has seen a decrease in risk of hospitalizations, medical errors, and prescription miscommunication.
Dr. Innocent Clement, Founder & CEO of EVOLVD Health said, “Health coaches play an integral role into our healthcare model because education is important. They are providing moral support and encouraging patients as they continue to grow and develop through their healthcare journey.”
2- Health coaching is in a moment of major transition.
Health coaching is at a time of both huge potential growth and ambiguity, as the profession continues to evolve and become more established. Health coaches who recognize and are motivated by this potential have the power to define the industry and move it forward.
“[Health coaches] are making the trends. We are the trends… We’ve all got the privilege of building a new profession.” Margaret Moore, Co-Founder & Chair of the Institute of Coaching and CEO of Wellcoaches.
Leigh-Ann Webster, Executive Director of the National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching (NBHWC), noted that one of the challenges for coaches with building a new profession is forging a new path. Active coaches working in the community are forging that path, and NBHWC is here to support them. “There is always an opportunity there for us to work together and overcome the challenge of doing something that’s never been done before.”
3- There is a need for significant change within healthcare.
This global health crisis has made room for a new kind of collaborative care, and the new kind of healing that comes with it. But these changes require a mindset shift.
Patients and healthcare providers will need to adjust their expectations for what healing looks like—and what its timeline is—and look at longer-term change across all areas of life in order to move towards more meaningful, lasting healing and preventative care.
Dr. Clement shared that the key to this is, “Collaborating [with health coaches] to see how they can better support and empower patients as they go through their healthcare journey, because right now that is what’s really missing in the healthcare system. The traditional healthcare system is very doctor-centric, it’s not patient-centered. So, the health coaches really are an integral part of that process, and in terms of quality care, your role is really important.”
Now is the time to be laser-focused on how healthcare can change. As Dr. Ruan stated, “What we really have to do is get the message out there for practices, large or small systems, that there are specific pain points in medicine that can be very easily addressed with health coaching.”
Health coaches are the missing piece in healthcare systems, with the potential to bridge the gap to lasting lifestyle change. If that’s the future of health coaching, we say bring it on.
Thanks to everyone who made the symposium a success. Are you ready to be a part of the future of health coaching? Learn more about our health coaching certification program here!