What is a Health Coach and Why you need one

1024 683 Michele

Recently, I was interviewed by an intern at my local, small town newspaper.  I was thrilled and very grateful for the opportunity to get the word out to the community about what I do! Little did I know that it would turn into what would feel like a disaster!

When the article came out, the headline read: Coach offers ways to heal… Within the article, the intern mentioned three different times that I, the coach, am “prepared to heal,” “tries to heal,” and referred to my clients as people who need to be “healed.”

Suffice it to say that I experienced a momentary freak out! Why? Because, as a health coach, I NEVER offer to heal anyone; nor do I tell them that I can heal them. I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure out how this intern got there. I certainly never said I heal during the interview, nor did I imply that healing was something that I do. That term is reserved for doctors only. I am not a doctor. I do not diagnose, treat, cure, heal, or prescribe – ever. Saying that I heal could land me in a lot of trouble with governing authorities. So I wrote a letter to the editor disputing the error, which she printed. Whew! I still have not determined how this intern came to that conclusion, though I know the mistake was unintentional.

It got me thinking … others may have the same thought.

So, what is a health coach, exactly?

A health coach can be defined as someone who helps individuals gain the knowledge, skills, tools, and confidence to become active participants in their personal health, so that they can reach their self-identified health goals. The familiar adage, “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day; teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime,” demonstrates this principle well.

I educate; I guide; and I empower individuals to take control of their health through lifestyle changes and modifications. I provide resources and make suggestions which the client takes and evaluates, then he/she can use that information to make decisions on what is best for him/her. I help them uncover and discover factors that may be contributing to a health concern that they were not aware of or that they did not know to look for. I prepare individuals to have meaningful, informed discussions with their healthcare provider. The education and guidance I provide is as diverse as the individuals I coach.

I listen; I peel back the layers; and I connect dots they did not know existed. Together, we look at all areas of life: food, stress perception, sleep, recreation, spiritual, exercise, emotions, and the like.

We determine what goals to accomplish; we make a list and we work together to accomplish those goals. It may be finding ways to manage stress or change stress perception. It may be finding ways to incorporate more whole foods into the diet. It may be uncovering the cause of sleep disturbances. It could be digging deep to find the reason why he/she can’t lose weight. It may be discovering hormonal imbalances or gut issues. It could be a myriad of issues. We embark on a journey of discovery, together.

We all need someone to walk with us.

I care deeply about the health of humanity. It is why I do what I do.

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