Health coaching is a new and evolving profession that helps people make behavioral changes to improve their health. It is practiced from a holistic perspective and considers the patient as the expert in his or her healthcare. Health coaches act as a member of their client’s healthcare team. They partner with physicians, therapists, nutritionists and other practitioners to offer support and help the client meet their health goals.
Health Coaches provide a structured and supportive relationship to help their client meet their health goals. Health Coaches will help their clients by creating a personalized healthcare plan that addresses physical, mental, emotional & spiritual issues. Sessions between the client and coach will help the client meet goals along the plan and help shift behaviors and increase self-care, reflection and growth. Coaches empower their clients to discover more about themselves and make healthy changes by holding them accountable in reaching their goals.
Health Coaches can help with a variety of issues including chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. They can work with clients virtually (on the phone or via Skype) or in person - at hospitals, clinics, businesses or in private practice. Other types of practitioners may learn the skills of health coaching and integrate it into their work. These practitioners include nurses, social workers, psychologists, doctors, nutritionists, pharmacists, chiropractors, naturopathic physicians and acupuncturists.
Health Coaches can receive their training at a variety of institutions which all focus on empowering clients with a holistic view of health. Below are two examples.
The Integrative Health Coaching Professional Training program at Duke Integrative Medicine offers a Foundation course and a Certification course in health coaching. Students receive training in health coaching skills, how to develop personalized health plans, and mind-body-spirit modalities.
The Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota offers a health coaching track. In the program, students gain knowledge in the integrated use of complementary and conventional therapies to fully understand their clients’ needs and goals. They learn how to design personalized health plans, recognize and shift behaviors, and facilitate communication between conventional and complementary providers and the client.
Credentials and Regulation Bodies
There are currently no regulations around health coaching. Many coaches have additional credentials in other health disciplines which they supplement with coaching. These disciplines include nutrition, yoga, nursing and acupuncture. When deciding on hiring a coach, it is best to ask them about where they received their education, their background and relevant experience.
Health Coaches usually engage in multiple session programs. An average hourly rate is $75 to $100.