We all know how important our health is. We are what we eat, and as we grow older, the condition of our body deteriorates and it is important that we take good care of our body. Many health experts have advised people that they should not smoke, eat more greens and vegetables and also to exercise regularly. However, even though many people are told to do such things over and over again, they fail to listen to these good instructions and only regret in the later part of their lives. Well, perhaps one of the ways out of this is to engage a health coach.
Let me first define what health coaching is. Health coaching is employing a health coach, or if possible coaching yourself through some personal coaching, such that you obtain some guidance on how to improve your health. This also includes addressing your own health needs and making changes to your behaviours to improve your own health. Like traditional forms of coaching such as life coaching, health coaches would formulate goals to reach certain health targets with their clients. This also includes identification of obstacles and the use of personal support systems. The relationship between the coach and client hinges on accountability. The coach would also focus the client and lead him to achieve what was set by his healthcare practitioners as the overall health outcome goals.
There is also some history to health coaching. Health coaching actually began with psychologists treating persons addicted to alcohol in the early 1990s. Then, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism conducted a study that compared several methods of treatment for alcohol addiction. The findings revealed that while many of the methods used to treat alcohol abuse were equally effective, motivational interviewing was more cost effective and timelier in reaching the desired results. This has led researchers to be more interested to use this approach. They now study how such motivational interviewing can be used to affect health behavior changes in persons with chronic conditions.
While the traditional approach to patient teaching and education is to give information to the patient, health coaching or motivational interviewing, on the other hand, involves engaging a health coach to guide the patient to talk about what is most troubling to them about their conditions, what they most want to change, what support they have to foster change, and what obstacles or difficulties must be removed or minimized to advance healthy behaviors.