Defining the Gap
You know what you NEED to do in order to be healthy, right? Eat well, get enough rest, exercise, don’t smoke. But do you actually DO those things? This is the gap…having the general knowledge but lacking the execution or plan to put into practice the knowledge that you have. This is where having someone to guide you along the path and help to navigate the journey can make all the difference in the world.
For example, I remember when I was expecting my second child. I had been through all of the appointments, tests, and procedures before with my first baby. I knew in my mind about healthy weight gain, safe activity practices, good things to eat and better ways to get through the nausea that plagued me daily for 16 weeks. But it was still so helpful to have a nurse come alongside me and keep me on track and accountable for getting things done and ready for the baby. She allowed me to make my choices regarding how I wanted to labor and eventually deliver my youngest child and then helped me to implement them. Could I have done that alone? Sure. But it was so encouraging to know I had someone to walk the journey with me.
Health coaching has exploded into the healthcare scene in recent years…and for good reason. The traditional model of medicine is just not enough to get the job done when it comes to restoring or maintaining health and wellness. It may be good at addressing symptoms of illness and minimizing the effects, but rarely is the root cause discovered or investigated. Doctors are swamped with patients that are chronically sick and under immense physical and mental stress. The current healthcare model simply isn’t set up to allow the physician the time or energy needed to work with these patients in a manner that really gets them on a path to true wellness. That is why so many people are now turning to functional medicine practitioners and professional health coaching. Professional health coaches can be that bridge between “knowing” what you should do to be well and actually implementing the changes necessary to be well.
What is Health Coaching?
Depending on the source, you can find several definitions for health coaching. From the International Coach Federation to Duke Integrative Medicine to my professional alma mater, the Integrative Women’s Health Institute; all of the definitions have common threads. Health coaching is:
- a partnership. There is a partnership between the client and the coach as they are working together toward the same goal
- client driven. The goals are set by the client and not the coach. Read here to learn more about setting a vision. This will help to define the goals. Each action step is made, ultimately, by the client.
- designed to unlock the innate potential of the client. At the heart of any coaching partnership is the belief that the client can make the best decision for herself when empowered with knowledge and support.
- accountability. The client is not accountable to the coach as many would believe. But rather, the coach helps her to be accountable to herself. This allows her to continue working toward the goals that SHE set for herself.
Health Coaching is not…
- psychotherapy. We aren’t rehashing the past and delving into the depths of the mind. We, as health coaches, help you to move forward toward a lifestyle that enhances your wellness. If you have excessive anger, rage, or resentment, impulsive and unsafe behaviors, or significant unresolved grief then part of your healthcare team needs to be a trained psychologist or psychotherapist.
Who doesn’t want to make a decision based on solid information and be empowered to put into action a plan that is right for you, knowing that someone is there to offer support, help work through the obstacles and road blocks and hold you accountable to achieve the goal that you set for yourself? Health coaching is exactly the bridge that can get you to your vision.