Q & A with Shane Pearson, IHS Health & Wellness Coaching Trainer

Shane has his roots in farming yet his passion for health and wellbeing and his keen interest in the mind-body connection led him to study healthcare methods that focus on both the mind (NLP, Coaching and Stress Management) and body (Nutritional Therapy and Massage).

Can you tell us about the HWC course in IHS?

The Health and Wellness Coaching course offered by IHS is delivered in collaboration with Real Balance Global Solutions. It is an ICF (International Coaching Federation) and NBCWHC (The National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching) recognised course. It consists of 32 contact hours of training combined with home study and coaching practice.

The training can be delivered both in-class or via live webinar and HIS offer both options. In-class options are usually 4 day intensives and online learning consists of 20 two hour webinars held twice a week though other formats may be rolled out.

What is the difference between a life coach and a HWC?

The ICF defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximise their personal and professional potential. Health and wellness coaching is the application of the principles and process of professional life coaching to the goals of lifestyle improvement for higher levels of wellness.

What are the key benefits of HWC?

We now live in a world with an incredible amount of information and anyone with a smartphone has almost instant access to an incredible amount of 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 (such as eat better or move more) and doing it.

Almost everyone knows many things they can do or not do to be healthier or feel better. Knowledge is, quite simply, not enough. Lasting lifestyle change is not easy! 93% of New Years resolutions fail by year end and most of them by February.

What a H&W coach offers is an alliance. Hiring a H&W coach will give you a powerful ally who, rather than tell you what to do, will guide and support you on your journey through the change process to your desired outcome.

How does health coaching work?

What a H&W coach offers is an alliance. It works because most people underestimate change and are not experts in behavioural change. H&W coaches know you are the expert in your life so they work with you to clarify your goals, come up with a plan, identify your internal and external barriers and help you take the actions needed.

Perhaps most importantly your coach is there when you fall or when you win, when you are struggling or when you are soaring. They have your back, they will push you when you need a push, slow you down when you are going too fast, listen when you need to be heard. They can help you detangle your thoughts, make a plan, scrap a plan. They can help you recommit, re-evaluate, reset or release. A good coach will do whatever it takes to help you be successful. Your goals are there goals.

What are the career prospects for HWC?
Health & Wellness and Coaching are both growth areas so new careers are being created all the time. Many student coaches come to H&W coaching because they are already working in areas like nutrition, fitness, medicine, stress etc. but recognize the struggle most of their clients have making the changes they recommend. They want to add the ‘how can I help my clients make the changes’ skills because telling them isn’t enough.

There is an emerging field of medicine called Lifestyle Medicine that now acknowledges that changes to lifestyle may not only help prevent disease but is a very important part of treating chronic disease yet doctors and medical professionals are not trained in behavioural change. H&W coaches can play a huge role alongside healthcare professionals and assist them in the treatment and management of chronic diseases. Many health insurers are beginning to subsidise or offer health coaching as part of their services.

Corporate Wellness is another growth area and there are many opportunities in this field for H&W coaches to work with companies to develop services and health promotion programs for employees. One of my graduates has just started as a full time Health Coach in-house for a large company to help take care of its staff.

More of these roles are coming on stream all the time and many of my graduates have adapted their new skill sets into their private practice or existing roles.

Are there any simple HWC practices that we can put in place to manage our health and wellness and Covid19?

Almost everyone is now living in a state of adaptation to constant changes. Many of us are adjusting to new realities and having to accept so much that is not in our control. That isn’t easy! So first acknowledge that. It’s ok if you feel upside down right now. It’s ok to feel sad, upset and fearful even if some people have it a lot worse than you right now. Self compassion and compassion for others is hugely important right now.

There is also opportunities for us all in this ‘new reality’. Two of the biggest enemies of health and wellbeing recently have been a frantic pace of life and being time poor. Now we are stuck at home and life is slowing down and we have more time for some things we haven’t had time for in a while.

Use the state of flux we are now in to establish some kind of healthy routine. Keep it simple, start small and be consistent. The same way brushing your teeth every day is great for your oral hygiene there are simple activities we can build into our day that will keep us healthy.

Ask yourself “What is one thing I can do for my health and wellbeing every day?”

Create a list and pick one as a new habit to form.

Examples include a 10 minute morning stretch, drinking a pint of fresh water on waking, meditation, a breathing exercise, journaling, soaking your porridge the night before, 10 push ups before TV time. Whatever, just pick something that appeals to you.

Repeat it over and over, preferably every day and keep track of when you do/don’t do it. If you keep at it for a few months you will likely never have to think about it again or make yourself do it. It just gets done like brushing your teeth before bed! Then pick another one.