Wondering how to start a health coaching session is probably one of the biggest concerns you may be facing as a new health coach. With a few helpful and straightforward steps, you will be well on your way to having a great coaching session.
About Health Coaching
Health Coaching is useful for people managing various health conditions, and it has helped improve health-related quality of life. More organizations have begun to recognize the expertise and support health coaches can provide. They offer healthy lifestyle adjustments and facilitate positive behavioral change. Today, health coaches have become an integral part of care teams in hospitals, clinics, and rehabilitation facilities.
The Role of a Health Coach
The health coach’s role is to employ or apply coaching skills to work with their clients in bringing about the lifestyle change they desire in their lives. “People tend to hire health coaches to help them with a wide variety of health issues, such as weight loss, stress reduction, the management of chronic conditions, improving diet and exercise, tobacco cessation, addiction, and adjusting to a life-altering health event, like a heart attack” states Dr. Grinspoon of Harvard Medical School. Since coaching is presently a non-regulated industry, health coaches are not mandated to obtain certification or any other type of specialized training. Anyone interested in improving the health and overall wellness of others can become a health coach. However, several clients, i.e., individuals and organizations, would prefer to hire coaches who are credentialed or have a background in Nursing, Fitness and Nutrition, Medicine, Health Management, Sports Medicine, etc.
A Health Coach is NOT….
a Medical Practitioner, Psychologist, Therapist, or any other licensed health professional. They do not treat, diagnose, or analyze data or information relating to an individual’s health. Health Coaches focus on disease prevention and overall health and wellness.
How to Start a Health Coaching Session – Simple Steps to Follow
How to start a health coaching session successfully requires the following six basic steps.
- Preparation: Getting yourself ready before starting a coaching session with your clients is essential. Before the visit, you must have obtained some background information using a questionnaire to assess the client’s current mental and physical state.
Obtain a coaching plan to show the specific problem to address for the day’s session.
- Goal Setting: You and your clients will identify what they desire to be coached on today and encourage them to envision their desired outcome.
Example: A client suffering from a chronic disease such as diabetes or high blood pressure will probably engage in a session with the health coach that will focus on lifestyle changes, i.e., healthy eating, stress management, adequate rest, and exercise.
The health coach will help them get clear about the obstacles in front of them. Help them identify what is working and what is not; they may need learning creative strategies.
- Ask Powerful Questions: Starting with the desired outcomes, you and your clients will work together on realistic action plans that will produce the desired results. You want to ask them powerful questions that get them describing what a “10” on a scale of 1 to 10, would look like as far as their health and overall wellness is concerned.
- Commitment: You want to ensure that the client is ready to commit to the “treatment” plan, i.e., the action steps you have both reviewed, and the client has agreed to.
- Accountability: The coach needs to hold clients responsible for what they have promised to accomplish.
- Follow-up from the Session After the session, the coach will summarize all discussed in the session for the day, commitments, actions, and other issues that needed to be addressed. The follow-up session helps give the clients more direction and allows the health coach to see how their clients are progressing.
The health coach will most likely provide the client with resources and tools that may help them attain their goals, and this will be coupled with homework to be completed before the next session. Providing clients with assignments helps motivate them to stay on track to achieve their desired health goals.
I hope you find the tips on how to start a health coaching session helpful as you prepare for your first coaching session as a new health coach.
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Margaret K. Olubiyi
Writer, Coaches Training Blog community