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2023 Monique Portraits © Niamh Walsh-Vorster 14.jpg

What does a health coach do?

A health coach helps people set and achieve health goals. These health goals include managing chronic illness, preventing the onset of an illness, reducing stress, improving sleep, and creating purpose. Health coaches also work alongside their clients to create physical fitness programmes and eating plans that align with their lifestyles and individual preferences. Key to health coaching is surfacing obstacles and self-limiting beliefs that make reaching health goals difficult. A skilled health coach will be able to hold and work through the emotions that have fed into sleeplessness, lack of purpose, and comfort eating.

Health coaching focuses on problem-solving and is future oriented. Given this, results are yielded very quickly. 12 weeks is generally the recommended period of time for working with a health coach. This time frame is based on how long it takes to stop habits or routines that do not serve your health well; develop new habits/routines; and feel confident that the changes you make are sustainable. 

2023 Monique Portraits © Niamh Walsh-Vorster 16.jpg

How do health coaches work?

Health coaches are trained to work with you to co-create health goals that are feasible, sustainable, measurable, and exciting. The programmes they develop are evidence based and aimed at achieving optimal wellness.

Core to the success of health coaching is accountability. Together with your health coach, you will decide how to establish an accountability structure. This makes all the difference in really committing to and meeting your goals.  

There is abundant evidence that health coaching is highly effective in managing a range of health issues ranging from managing weight, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, infertility, depression, and hypertension.

Health coaching works equally well in person and online. Most health coaches have practices that are hybrid, and their clients are located throughout the globe. 

Are health coaches an alternative to conventional medicine?

Coaching is effective for people managing a variety of health conditions. Recent scienfic studies have demonstrated that health coaching yields many positive results that can be monitored through multiple biomarker risk factors (including systolic and diastolic blood pressure, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, fasting glucose, body weight, body mass index, waist circumference, and cardiorespiratory fitness). It is now common for GPs and specialists to refer to health coaches for the management of chronic illness and weight loss. Not all health coaches use biomarkers. I am inclined to use them as I feel they provide us with a good picture of your health and allow us to track progress. 

Health coaches have a very clear scope of practice. They know when to refer and have their own professional associations and ethical guidelines. A good health coach is clear about when an issue is out of their scope and has a network of health practitioners they trust to refer you to. 

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