Changing your lifestyle is hard. Can health coaching make it easier?

Incorporating new habits and maintaining them in the long term isn't easy. Health coaching can help you to be the best version of yourself and live better for longer.

Written by

Carmen Camargo BSc

health coach

Published

Chances are, you already know what you need to do in order to be healthier. It’s doing it that’s hard.

That’s where health coaching comes in. A health coach provides accountability, support and encouragement to help you become the healthiest version of yourself.

Do I really need to change?

Maybe you feel healthy? After all, you’re not sick. But there’s more to health than that. The World Health Organisation defines health as: “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

If you really examine your life against this statement, you’ll most likely find room for improvement. If you feel like you’re honestly as healthy as you can be right now, that’s fantastic, keep it up!

There’s increasing evidence that the way we live our lives affects our risk of developing disease. If you want to live better for longer, whatever your starting point, there are things you can do today to improve your health.

healthy-blackboard

So what is Health Coaching?

Modern life is frantic. Your days are spent juggling chores, work, family, social commitments… Reports are due, you promised to take the kids, and you can’t believe it’s already Monday again! It’s no wonder you look for little ways to feel happier. It’s just unfortunate that sometimes when you’re looking for that happiness, you can find it in unhealthy lifestyle habits. Health Coaching is all about finding healthier ways to feel happier.

Rather than focusing on what’s ‘wrong’ or what needs to be ‘fixed’, coaching will highlight what has, can and will work for you. Your coach can help you to discover your strengths and lean on them in order to overcome any mental barriers and make healthy changes.

Coaching gets you ‘unstuck’ by helping you figure out what’s keeping you from reaching your health goals.

maze

How does Health Coaching Work?

Health Coaching is a vehicle that helps you achieve a higher level of wellbeing, particularly when change is hard.

It’s not a matter of being ordered around by someone who knows best. The coaching process is a Coach-Client partnership where you are the expert of your own health. You set your own goals, create your own strategies to achieve them, while your Coach supports you every step of the way. Their job isn’t to tell you what to do. It’s to improve your self-motivation and help you understand that change is possible. Importantly, coaching is about what works for you, in your life, it is not a one size fits all approach.

Take a small step everyday

The techniques your coach might use are based on a wide range of psychological theories. Some tools include:

  • Positive psychology
  • Visualisation
  • Habit modification
  • Self-compassion
  • Achievable goal setting
  • Open ended questions

You only have to spend thirty seconds online before you’re bombarded with health and wellness guidance, products and services. Just knowing where to start on your wellness journey soon feels like a monumental task. That’s where your Coach can offer a second opinion and trusted advice to help you plot the right course.

Your Coach can help you to:

  • Discover, clarify and align with what you want to achieve. Your coach will help you connect the dots between who you are now and who you want to be.
  • Encourage self-discovery and forward momentum. Your coach helps you to define your destination point as well as design and navigate your journey to get there.
  • Generate ideas and strategies to help you develop and sustain a more healthful lifestyle.
  • Reveal your inner health coach and feel accountable to yourself.

Tangled and untangled

How can a Coach help you?

  • Through a holistic approach. There are many things that impact your health and wellbeing. The day-to-day grind, balancing other people’s expectations, supporting your family and friends - it all has an effect. Your physical, emotional and spiritual health are all interconnected and affect your overall health. Coaches will foster the connection between your mind and body so you can feel your best.
  • Focusing on the ‘Why’. True health and wellbeing isn’t just a matter of avoiding the flu and spending twenty minutes a night on the standing bike. Health Coaches go further. It’s not ‘What’ you do or don’t, but ‘Why’. They help you to explore and identify the obstacles that you’re facing, and discuss and create a plan to work on together.
  • Providing accountability. Behavioural change is hard. It can even be overwhelming. Coaching can help you make the first step and the next. Research shows that social support makes you more likely to stick with the behavioural changes that lead to a healthier life.
  • With a personal approach. We are all unique and there’s no magic formula that works for everyone. Coaches approach you as a unique individual to help you develop a plan that’s tailored to your personal circumstances and capacities.
  • Build your sense of mastery. Expert help is vital when it comes to health, but you don’t want to lose control and autonomy by delegating your health to someone else. Even if they’re an expert. When you’re changing for your own reasons and on your own terms, you’re far more likely to succeed than when someone tells you what to do.

Unlock potential

Breaking Myths about Health Coaching

Myth 1: Health coaching is only for people with health issues.

Health Coaches can help ANYONE who wants to live better.

With their holistic approach they’ll help improve your life, incorporating all aspects of life that nourish you and help you feel well. For instance, eating slowly and mindfully has an important impact on how well we feel, but can you honestly say you practise mindful eating?

Myth 2: Health coaches know it all.

Health Coaches are on their own health journeys as well! They're imperfect humans just like you. They’re constantly learning and growing by practising ‘Trial and Correction’.

Myth 3: Health Coaches are strict.

Health coaching is a collaborative partnership and your coach won’t simply tell you what to do. Instead, they provide you with the tools and the mindset you need to make the best decisions for your own wellbeing. A good coach will never tell you off or leave you feeling like you’ve done something wrong, they’ll help you understand why you might not be making the changes you want to and help you course correct.

Myths and facts

Does Health Coaching Work?

The data shows health coaching can be effective in improving many different health conditions. A large study conducted in the USA1 showed that meaningful improvements in blood pressure, cholesterol and cardiovascular risk scores were seen after just 12 weeks of a health coaching programme. More and more doctors are starting to see health coaching as part of treatment for many diseases including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes.

No matter where you are in your health journey, having support, accountability and encouragement can help. You don’t need to wait until you get sick to reset your health and start living your best life. More and more scientific evidence is showing the life-enhancing benefits of movement, eating well and being mindful. Things your Health Coach can help you do more of in your day-to-day life.

Time for change

At Selph we’ve worked with experts in medicine, mindfulness, psychology and behaviour change to create a 12-week health reset course. You’ll receive holistic support to improve your health, feel better and enjoy your life. Our Health Coaches are people just like you, who also struggle with behavioural changes and can empathise with your experience.

If you’re interested in learning more, click here.

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