As promised in this post, I’ve got 10 reasons to hire a health coach and we’re going to jump right in today. Stick with me…points 1 & 2 are longer as they pave the way for numbers 3-10.
1. “Health coaches are the missing link…”
Chris Kresser, one of the leaders in the fields of functional and integrative medicine, recently stated in a letter to his email subscribers,
“Health coaches are the missing link to solving the chronic disease epidemic.”
This is a pretty bold statement, but being a health coach, I 100% understand his point. Let me (us) explain. According to this post on Chris Kresser’s wildly popular website,
“Research suggests that up to 90 percent of chronic disease is caused by diet and lifestyle factors.”
Therefore, we can extrapolate that dietary and lifestyle changes, including behavioral and mindset shifts, are likely to have a PROFOUND effect on chronic disease and health outcomes. A qualified health coach is well-suited to help you dive into these, often deeply personal, changes. You see, health coaches, such as myself, have the time and expertise to offer regular support, guidance, assistance, and accountability. Utilizing a health coach in conjunction with licensed functional and integrative medicine practitioners, where a holistic approach is utilized to address the root causes of your health concerns, can be incredibly powerful. This thorough approach can make a significant positive difference in your health results, especially in comparison to conventional medicine where we receive sick-care – the “treatment” of symptoms versus the root cause – and receive only a few minutes with our doctors at each visit (the average visit time is 8-12 minutes).
Also in that post by Chris are some other interesting stats about the healthcare population:
- About 5% of patients seeking healthcare require serious and immediate attention, such as hospitalization, intensive care, and/or management by a specialist. Of course, after the initial urgency of their situation has been resolved, these patients would likely benefit from a functional and integrative medicine model as well, combined with health coaching.
- About 25% of the patient population requires diagnostic testing, differential diagnosis, and/or treatment protocols. They are also the ones who receive the most benefit from a functional and integrative medicine model. Adding a health coach to their team to assist with the dietary, lifestyle, behavioral, and mindset changes would help deliver the most effective results.
- Lastly, about 70% of patients experience a mild form of chronic illness or have various minor complaints, such as: sleep disturbances, digestive distress, fatigue, stress, skin issues, etc. that may be fully addressed by the diet, lifestyle, behavioral and mindset changes with which a well-trained health coach would be qualified to assist. Of course, these patients would continue to benefit from having routine care provided by licensed practitioners, but will likely not need to rely on them for more frequent visits.
As you can see from these stats, 100% of the patient population would be well-served by a health coach, with a full 70% being perhaps best served by a health coach or similar clinician. I think so often health coaches are perceived as being a luxury; in the same way we may consider hiring home cleaning services, getting massages, or utilizing food prep services to be a luxury. When in fact, we are talking about one’s health, which is PRICELESS! Furthermore, with the assistance of a coach, you are likely to achieve your goals in a much more time and cost efficient way. And when I refer to cost efficiency, I mean not only financially, but emotionally, mentally and physically too. Furthermore, often working with a coach, you find that you experience results in more areas than even expected, due to the widespread personal growth and discovery that can occur! This is why I agree with Chris when he says that, “health coaches are the missing link…”
2. A health coach can help you discover your own goals and motivation, and provide assistance with strategy for change and accountability.
A health coach can help you tap into YOUR desires, taking a deep dive into what it is that you REALLY want. Sometimes our true desires are masked by other thoughts, ideas, and beliefs. A coach can help you dig past those, into your genuine longings. Then, with a health coach, you can start to tap into the next steps that intuitively feel right for you, along with practically identifying what has and has not seemed to work for you in the past. So often we have much of the necessary information already inside of us. Sometimes we just need a little help discovering it. Using this awareness, together with the knowledge and experience of your health coach, an action plan can be strategized. Finally, as you continue to work together, your coach will be able to assist you with any questions that arise, the adjustments that need to be made along the way, the growing pains the come with change, and the proper accountability and support needed for meeting your desired goals (see this post to learn how this would be different based on which of the Four Tendencies you are).
3. Make small changes.
So often we feel like change has to be all or nothing. We also live in a time where many things can happen much more quickly than they used to (thanks to technology and services like Amazon Prime, online banking, email, etc.). When it comes to our health, however, significant and lasting change often takes time. When we try to MAKE sudden and big changes, we often find it’s not sustainable. And when we EXPECT sudden and big changes, we often become quickly discouraged when they don’t come as anticipated. A health coach can help you break your goals down in a reasonable, purposeful, and effective way that will lead to consistent and sustainable small changes that add up significantly over time, yielding the results you truly desire.
4. You know what to do, but can’t figure out how to make it happen – knowledge isn’t transformation.
Sometimes we think we know what we need to do to attain our goals, yet we still aren’t achieving the desired results. This is because it’s often not an information problem, but rather a behavior challenge. This is where I think it’s important to realize that we can ALL benefit from coaching – yes, even coaches benefit from coaches. Sometimes having an outside source guide us, allows us to discover the internal and external barriers to our achievements.
Stating this point another way: simply possessing the “knowledge” is not the equivalent of transformation. Transformation requires action. Again, a coach can help us strategize an action plan and hold us accountable to it as well.
5. What you’re doing hasn’t been working.
Continuing with this point from #4, sometimes we find what we thought would work, isn’t actually moving us in the direction we desire. Maybe it has even worked in the past, but isn’t anymore. This is really common because our health landscapes certainly evolve over time. A health coach can help make adjustments to goals and action plans as discussed in number #2. That’s another distinct benefit of a coach – you don’t have to wait for your next appointment with your doctor, which could be 3 months or more away. With a health coach, you can connect and make personal adjustments on a more frequent basis for the most effective forward progress.
6. You are confused by conflicting advice.
With the technology we have now, we can find ANYTHING on the internet and it’s always at our fingertips. A health coach can help you sort through the myriad of conflicting thoughts and ideas you may hear concerning your health. A coach will work WITH you to make knowledgeable, personalized decisions that align with YOUR intuition, desires, and needs.
7. You’re unsure of how to engage your health practitioners.
A health coach will help you gain clarity in your needs and desires and empower you to advocate for yourself, fully engaging the rest of your health care team and support systems for your highest benefit.
8. Behavioral and mindset change leads to overall improvement.
You’re probably aware of how sometimes one simple shift in your thinking or behavior can impact other areas of your life. As mentioned in #1, the behavioral and mindset shifts made working alongside a health coach can lead to dramatic improvements in your life overall. Increases in peace, happiness, and self-love, for example, are common benefits I witness in my clients, and are truly priceless.
9. Receive general accountability, guidance, and reassurance.
Even in large part being an “Upholder” (see this post to learn about what that means and find out what Tendency you are) and finding it relatively easy to follow through on both internal and external expectations, I often find myself needing a fair amount of feedback upfront when making new changes to ensure I’m “doing it right”. Once I feel more confident, I still find regular, but not necessarily as frequent, feedback to be very beneficial. It helps confirm I’m on the “right track”. Since a holistic approach to our health means addressing our mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being, there are often fluctuating periods of needing more and less support in various areas. Having access to regular contact with a health coach, again especially during the longer period between doctor’s appointments, is incredibly beneficial! That way the forward momentum continues with confident, expansive, and healthful growth.
10. Getting questions answered
Similar to #9 and as discussed in #2, regular contact with a health coach means you get questions answered in a timely manner. Rather than being left wondering and stalled in your progress or turning to the risky “Dr. Google” for advice, you can often quickly and efficiently get your questions answered in a personal way.
So, if you are someone with health concerns of any type, think back to the breakdown of patients in #1 and decide where you fit. If you’re reading this now, you’re likely in the 2nd or 3rd tier and would benefit in an incredible way from working with a coach. I would absolutely love to connect with you! I offer a free 30 minute exploration call to determine whether we feel we would be a good match for one another. Please reach out and let me know when you’re ready to schedule.