Many people, on recognising they have a health problem, will seek help from a Natural / Complementary Health practitioner either in addition to, or instead of conventional medical care. However many people also find it difficult to make and sustain the necessary changes in their behaviour which will lead to an improvement in their health.
The usual model of health care provision is one of diagnosis followed by prescription. The patient is then sent away and expected to implement the changes, or even worse just take the medication and not make any changes. There is no mechanism to address the many complex and interrelated factors of an individual’s lifestyle and health choices.
This applies even with Complementary Health Care. For example, someone might visit a Reflexologist, Chiropractor or Massage therapist where they have treatments done to them. In addition they might receive advice on diet and lifestyle changes. But essentially they are then sent away and left to get on with it. Similarly an appointment with a Nutritional therapist will result in a prescription for dietary changes and nutritional supplements. The patient is then expected to go away and implement the changes, and report back at a later date.
Often the results that are obtained are unsatisfactory, or even if initially successful are rarely long lasting.
The trouble is that information alone is rarely a sufficient incentive for change. Compliance is often a problem when patients lack motivation or find it difficult to change.
What is Health Coaching?
A health coach is someone who uses their unique combination of skills, experience and knowledge to guide their clients to making lasting, beneficial and sustainable changes to their health and well-being. True health is more than the absence of disease. Every aspect of our life affects and impacts every other part. For example poor diet can lead to an unhealthy mental state which in turn can impact relationships, which in turn can cause stress etc. True Health is holistic and should take into account all parts of an individual, mind, body and spirit, and all aspects of their life.
A good health coach will be able to use their knowledge and expertise to educate, inform and teach their clients in the appropriate health and lifestyle practices. This usually encompasses nutrition, physical therapies, stress management, exercise and meditation, amongst other things. They will also provide motivation and support for clients to help them reach their health goals.
Coaches provide a supportive environment to enable the individual to move from where they are currently to where they want to be. It is the on-going support and sense of partnership which makes the difference. An effective health coach will need to perform several roles simultaneously; that of a motivator, a cheer-leader, a collaborator, an educator, and a facilitator.
The Coaching process
The purpose of health coaching is to support clients towards implementing and sustaining behaviours, lifestyles, and attitudes that will promote good health. The coach works with the client on a journey of empowerment and self discovery.
But the big advantage of a coach is someone who can hold their clients accountable and responsible for implementing changes, and it is this accountability and responsibility which helps bring about the lasting improvements.
The client will define their health goals, and suggest what support and resources they will need to meet these goals. With this information the coach can then devise a program specifically for that client.
Throughout the duration of the coaching program the coach and the patient will work together to address any problems that might come up and act as a barrier to progress.
Clients are able to make considerable and sustained improvements in their health because they are able to work continuously with someone who not only educates them but also provides support, motivation and inspiration.
How will it help me?
Health coaching is a powerful support system that will empower you in your quest to obtain radiant good health. It will help you to create the life you want to live, free from ill-health, pain and stress.
You most likely know on an intellectual level what you need to do in terms of diet and lifestyle changes. However it is not easy to make such changes by yourself. Take the analogy of successful athletes or tennis players; they all have a coach. Why? Because we all have blind spots, habits and fears, which prevent us from reaching our goal. Having a guide or mentor makes it easier to stay focused. Coaching provides accountability, encourages responsibility and provides an environment where you can overcome the fears and challenges that are keeping you stuck in a place you don’t want to be.
Engaging with a coach will inspire you to see new opportunities, uncover hidden abilities, and make the shifts you need to make, in order to be the person you were meant to be.
So if you are looking to turn things around; to deal with the physical issues; to become more emotionally balanced; to feel freer; to introduce lasting changes and to achieve your ultimate goal then you would do well to seek professional guidance and support.