What does a health coach do?

Unlike counseling, or any other type of therapy, coaching is a client-driven, self-directed vehicle to achieve a higher level of health and well-being, especially when change is challenging. Simply put, the client is always in the drivers seat.

“Coaching is not about diagnosing or directing behavior. It is about facilitating change from one’s intrinsic motivation.”

Ruth Wolever, PhD, professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and director of Vanderbilt Health Coaching at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine

What is a health coach?

Coaching is built on a relationship of trust and connection in a judgement-free, safe space, supporting personal growth, discovery and transformation.

A coach is a partner who offers a thought provoking creative process of inspiration through positive energy, while assisting the client to achieve all of their goals and dreams.

A masterful coach understands that the client is the expert of his or her life and encourages self-discovery through various techniques unlike any other partnership ever experienced before.

Why do we need health and wellness coaches?

Did you know that human beings are wired to thrive, but only 20% of us are doing so? The positive from this is people really want to be well, but the reality of everyday living gets in the way. New life skills and techniques to manage it all are needed and connecting with a health coach is the first step to get to that path of success.

A study led by Ruth Wolever, PhD, professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and director of Vanderbilt Health Coaching at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, found that 10 sessions of health coaching for people at risk for coronary heart disease (CHD), type 2 diabetes (T2D) or both led to increased physical activity which was sustained six months after the intervention ended.

Our Healthcare System

People don’t resist change, they resist being changed. Unfortunately, our healthcare system is made up of experts telling us what to do rather how to do it. And most of us are not equipped with the knowledge or self-efficacy for long-term behavior change.

Therefore, chronic diseases account for more than half of all deaths in our country with obesity and diabetes reaching epidemic levels. This is where health and wellness coaches have stepped in with a focus on self-care reform and potentially prevent these diseases from occurring in the first place.

“Chronic health conditions — particularly heart disease and diabetes — are largely driven by behavior and lifestyle patterns,” Wolever said. “It can be very hard to create and sustain a healthy lifestyle, so any interventions that will help people make and sustain these healthy changes are vital.” Learn more about this study here.

What really happens in a coaching session?

As health coaches, we believe that anything is possible and nothing breeds success like success. Studies have shown that creating a clear and compelling vision for your future can lead to sustainable behavior change. This is because we’re naturally motivated through compelling conversation where our words have the ability to become our world. Happiness can occur when we have clear cut goals so that our dreams can become our reality.

The 1st Session

The first session will be longer, generally about 60-90 minutes, as we get to know each other, get a sense of connection, and lay the foundation for our collaborative partnership. The time we spend together, that will be over the phone most of the time, will enable us to dig deep into your hopes and dreams for your future to create your vision, create 3 month goals and your first set of weekly goals or experiments.

As your coach, I will help you design a compelling and engaging vision to inspire motivation and then translate that vision into realistic behavioral action goals to improve your self-efficacy, increase your potential for success and learn a sustainable key life skill. Ultimately, we will develop and implement plans to improve your overall health and well-being from day one.

On-Going Sessions

Then you’ll have the option to schedule on-going coaching sessions each week or how often you’d like. Within those 35-45 minutes or so, you’ll start with the positives and highlights that have occurred in your life since you last connected with your coach, including best experiences with your goals from our prior session.

Next you’ll get to the heart of the matter where you can talk about anything that is on your mind to provoke deeper thoughts and maybe even bigger dreams.

From there you’ll have the opportunity to create some SMART goals for the upcoming week bearing in mind these are small achievable baby steps that you feel comfortable in setting. And lastly a positive wrap up giving you an opportunity for feedback and to schedule another time to connect.

When you work with me, I will also include coach texting when needed for 20 minutes per week Monday – Friday. This means when you’d like to reach out, get a question answered or be coached throughout your day, I will be there for you.

Learn more about your 1st Session with me, Coach Cristina, here.