How Health & Wellness Coaching Works – its Key Benefits and Career Prospects

Caroline has spent 20 years working in the wellness industry using coaching and behavioural change strategies with groups and individuals.

What benefits do Health Coaching skills bring to Health and Care Professionals?

We now live in a world with an incredible amount of information and anyone with a smartphone has almost instant access to advice, information, ideas, suggestions and expertise in terms of improving health and well-being. However, there is not a direct correlation between knowing what to do or being told what to do and being successful at it!

Research shows that globally lifestyle diseases account for nearly 80% of deaths. These diseases are primarily influenced by poor nutrition and a lack of physical activity and tend to show up in individuals with high blood pressure, poor blood glucose control, elevated cholesterol and obesity (WHO 2011). Research additionally shows that 50% of patients do not take their medications as prescribed. This leads to increased morbidity and death and is estimated to incur healthcare costs of approximately $100 billion per year (Mayo Clin Proc. 2011).

Astonishingly, we see patient non-compliance even when they receive a new diagnosis of a life-threatening disease, or are warned that a life-threatening disease is imminent unless they make lifestyle changes. Using health coaching skills allows health and care professionals to work directly with individuals on concerns of medical compliance and adherence to lifestyle prescriptions by addressing issues like their “readiness for change” and the support and resources they have in place to assist them. Once this is understood, a healthcare professional can motivate their patient towards lasting lifestyle change.

How do Health Coaching Skills work?

Today’s practitioners take on a two-fold challenge of treatment and prevention. Practitioners with health coaching training are equipped to take a collaborative and non-judgemental approach to patients, and use specific, evidence-based communication and coaching skills to support them in successfully adhering to treatment protocols and engaging with long term lifestyle and behavioural change. The patient becomes part of this process moving through the stages of change, building self-efficacy and self-accountability. As a result the patient becomes an advocate for their own health outcomes.

What health coaching skills create is an alliance between professional and patient / client. It works because most people underestimate the challenges associated with change and are not experts in this field. Practitioners who use this approach help clarify goals, set achievable plans, identify internal and external barriers, connect to resources and supports and motivate the patient to take the actions needed to achieve healthier lifestyle behavioural habits.

Can you tell us about the IHS Certificate in Health Coaching?

This course is aimed at health and care workers wishing to develop knowledge, skills and competence in health coaching and supports professionals to more effectively deliver quality personalised care to help transform health and wellness outcomes in patients and clients.

The course offered by IHS is a 40 hour training consisting of theory and coaching practice and is delivered via live webinar. Online learning consists of  4 days of online webinars or 16 x 2 hour online webinars – other formats may be rolled out.