Wellness Coaching

What is Wellness Coaching?
Wellness Coaching is similar to Life Coaching except that it deals with issues for and about your body, your overall health and general well-being. If you want to be healthier, and you are committed to making some major lifestyle changes to get there, then a Wellness Coach is who you want to work with. Wellness Coaching can be done either in person or on the phone, and each coaching session lasts about 45 minutes. An entire program consists of an initial evaluation (up to 1½ hours), and usually can be completed in 12 weeks, although it is not uncommon for coaching relationships to last much longer.

What are some features of Wellness Coaching?
Wellness Coaching can include discussions about anything that impacts your health, fitness, and general well-being. The five main areas that a Wellness Coach can help with are: fitness, nutrition, stress management, weight, and other health-related issues. Wellness Coaching can help you to eat healthier, get fitter, and increase your daily energy. The main focus with Wellness Coaching is to make long-lasting healthy lifestyle changes, not to provide quick fixes.

How is Wellness Coaching different from personal training, therapy, seeing a nutritionist or even going to my primary care doctor?
While many Wellness Coaches are nutritionists, personal trainers, or therapists, not all trainers, therapists and nutritionists are Wellness Coaches. The biggest difference between a Wellness Coach and other allied health practitioners is in the approach that they take towards helping you to achieve your goals. A Wellness Coach won’t tell you what to do, but will rather ask you where you want to go with your wellness, why it matters to you and how you want to get there. Unlike therapy, a Wellness Coach will not focus on your past, but will rather look towards your future. Unlike a personal trainer or nutritionist, a Wellness Coach does not lead you through exercises or give you a specific diet to follow, but rather will help you establish fitness and nutrition goals and see that you accomplish them, little by little. Unlike a primary care physician, a Wellness Coach has the time to spend with you on your health and wellness vision and objectives. A Wellness Coach will support you and guide you to create your definition of wellbeing and what that means to you. The main focus of Wellness Coaching is to concentrate on your strengths and build on them to help you realize your goals. Together, you and the coach will identify your motivators and obstacles as you create your wellness vision for the future.

What are kinds of credentials does a Wellness Coach have?
Coaches go through a rigorous training, take both a written and oral examination, and must regularly take continuing education courses to stay updated on the latest research and information. Coaches only work within their scope of practice, however, and will refer to other health professionals when and if necessary. Coaches do not make diagnoses and may recommend that clients seek a psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist or other health care professional for treatment, if appropriate.

Why would I work with a Wellness Coach?
Most of us know that we need to be fitter, lose weight, exercise more, eat healthier, etc. but we find that it is extremely difficult to make these important and critical changes on our own. We might begin a fitness program or go on a diet, but we don’t seem to be able to follow through with what we started. The knowledge and information about being healthy is all around us, yet achieving good health is much easier said than done. A Wellness Coach can work with you to set goals, prioritize what matters most and help you to follow through! A good coach will help you build confidence in your ability to make changes and create new (healthy habits) on your own, so eventually, the coach is no longer needed. In Wellness Coaching, a close relationship and partnership with a coach provides structure, accountability, expertise, and inspiration. This enables the client to learn, grow, and develop beyond what he or she can do alone.

What is Wellness Coaching really like?
In the first session with a Wellness Coach, the client and coach go through a very long and detailed medical questionnaire to establish a baseline of where the client is on his or her “wellness journey.” This is followed by the coach asking the client to come up with a very detailed “wellness vision”… a picture of exactly what he or she imagines their best self to be in one year, 3 months, one month and one week from the day they start working together. After that, motivators and obstacles are identified, and long-term behavioral goals are set that align with this vision. After the client and coach establish the “why”, then the “how” is addressed in great detail. Potential obstacles to each desired behavior are discussed, and strategies to overcome them are developed. The client is encouraged to remember and discuss how he or she used their particular strengths to overcome obstacles in the past, and to formulate ideas of how to use them successfully again.

Finally, at the end of this and each subsequent session, weekly, realistic and well-defined goals are set by the client. The coach’s job is to encourage the client to stretch him or herself just enough to feel challenged by these weekly goals, but not so overwhelmed by them. Incremental, weekly successes, small as they might be, are why this process works as well as it does. Clients begin to feel accountable to themselves and their coaches. Their self-confidence and self-esteem grows with each success. Before long, they are accomplishing more than they believed possible when they first started.

Who could benefit from Wellness Coaching?
Do you have significant changes you want to make in one or more areas of your life? Do you need to overhaul your eating patterns, or begin to make exercise a routine part of your day, rather than have it be an afterthought? Do you know that your stress coping mechanisms are not working, but you don’t have any idea what to do about it? If so, a Wellness Coach might be exactly what you are looking for to help you establish and realize your health and wellness goals.