What is health coaching?
Health coaching is the process of working towards health and wellness related goals. A board certified health coach can provide sessions either one-on-one or in a group setting. Not all health coaches address the same health concerns as they typically specialize in different areas. For example, this health coach works with clients on work-life balance and chronic pain management. But no matter the specialty, every good health coach follows a set of guidelines to . First and foremost, they do not tell you what to do. Instead, they guide you towards discovering your own needs surrounding your health, then help to break it down into actionable steps. This allows big changes to be made in small, incremental steps. They also serve as an accountability partner as you work towards attaining the healthy lifestyle you desire.
How Does a Health Coach Promote Mental Wellness?
Health coaches are not therapists, so they do not treat mental illness. However, they do help promote mental wellness by cultivating healthy behaviors that improve mood and emotional well-being. For example, some health coaches may incorporate mindfulness into their sessions to help clients manage stress and reduce chronic pain, both of which are key to mental wellness. Working with a health coach is a chance to take a deep dive into examining your current lifestyle and how you want to change it for the better, including your mental and emotional well-being. The process is transformative and the insights you learn about yourself improve your overall sense of well-being.
Does Health Coaching Work?
Yes! With the support of the American Medical Association and the National Board for Health & Wellness Coaches, studies show that health coaching is an option for making positive health changes in your life. Due to these findings, healthcare is shifting from an illness-based model to a wellness-based one. This means that instead of focusing only on what is “wrong” with a patient, the medical community is finally recognizing the power of self-discovery through health coaching as a way to create lasting postive changes.
By working with a health coach, you can turn your doctor’s recommendations into an actionable plan. By utilizing motivational interviewing, positive psychology and other behavioral change techniques, health coaches work alongside physicians and other healthcare providers to create a customized wellness plan that fits each individual according to their own personal health goals and needs.
How Do I Find the Right Health Coach?
A great place to start is the National Board of Health & Wellness Coaches (NBHWC) directory. Here you will find over 5,000 board certified health coaches with a variety of backgrounds, specialties, philosophies, and methodologies. Most health coaches offer a free consultation, so once you have found a few coaches that could be a good fit, schedule calls with them. Since health coaching is a big investment in yourself, getting multiple options will allow you to make the best decision for yourself. You want to feel seen, heard, and validated by your coach. You also want to choose one that can help you with the particular wellness goal you are trying to achieve. For example, don’t pick a health coach that focuses only on weight loss if your goal is to lower stress and improve mental wellness.
Is Health Coaching Covered by Insurance?
As of right now, insurance coverage for health coaching is in the early stages of approval. When receiving health coaching in a clinical setting and with a doctor’s referral, you may qualify for coverage. However, as the process progresses and it is fully approved there will be more widely available coverage for independent coaches working outside of a hospital or doctor’s office. One advantage you can use right now is paying for services with your Health savings Account (HSA) or your Flex Spending Account (FSA). Since HSA and FSA accounts are pre-tax, this could save you some serious money. For this spending to be approved, your health coach will need to provide extra documentation for your health insurance. When you are interviewing coaches make sure they are willing to take this extra step for you, like this health coach does.
If you want to improve your mental wellness and work towards making healthier changes in your life, a health coach could be a great fit for you!