9 Functions of a Health Coach (Part 1)

What is the role and responsibilities of a certified Health Coach? This is part one of a two part blog, points one through five.

Health coaches join you on your journey

Health coaching may sound like a broad and general description, but in actuality it has a very specific goal in mind- and that’s your health!

The functions of a health coach include assessing clients’ health, coaching clients (that’s you) on how to improve their health, and developing health care plans. Below are five of the health coach responsibilities.

  1. Conducting initial consultations and evaluations of individuals

When working with individual clients, a health coach first wants to have an initial consultation.  This is different than what is termed as a discovery call. A discovery call is a complimentary, brief phone conversation to see if you are ready to take the steps into benefiting your health. An initial consultation is when a health coach actually starts recording a your information and begins to develop a plan for you to move forward with. This initial consult can be done either on the phone, in person or online.  It may consist of some or all of the following, but is not limited to: a series of verbal questions to get to know you, a bit of history about the health coach themselves, information on the health coach programs and paper or electronic questionnaires. After the initial consult, a health coach may provide a specific program geared towards your need.

2. Providing guidelines to reduce or eliminate unhealthy behaviours

Include good habits, eating & fitness

During the initial consult, health coaches want to identify your unhealthy behaviours. These habits need to be eliminated while at the same time better and healthier habits need to be introduced. Substituting healthy habits for poor habits may seem like an obvious way to alter behaviour. But is can be extremely challenging to do by yourself.  Behaviours that may be deemed poor by the health coach, may be perceived by you as essential for your well being (ie: eating when feeling depressed or watching tv to relax). The purpose of the health coach is to stimulate your desire to exchange those behaviours that actually do harm for beneficial behaviours, such as: seeking counselling when feeling depressed, eating a healthy diet to support emotional well being, and thus reducing the likelihood to go into depression, recognizing that poor food choices lead to depression. And, for example, choosing fitness over television, accepting physical hardship at first to develop a pattern of fitness that strengthens the body and that provides an actual sensation of relaxation once the fitness is complete.

3. Developing and conducting seminars for clients and their family members

Seminars can be done online, in person or electronically through a series of emails that provide information in a step by step process. Seminars should include up to date educational information about diet, fitness and ways to develop proper habits. Often times this will be done through a slide show with easy to follow bullet points expanded on by the health coach. Seminars are open, judgement free spaces, where you can ask questions relevant to your situation or someone’s that you know of. Health coaches may ask questions to the room to stimulate conversation. Many different types of questions may be asked, from the very broad to the very specific. Do not be surprised if questions are asked about things that you may consider to be common sense. Everyone learns different information throughout their life. Also, considering that we are overwhelmed with information and misinformation through access to the internet, it may appear to be a challenge to get through the seminar and clarify all questions. That’s where individual coaching comes into play. Often times additional workshops may be offered at the end of the seminar, along with contact info to book coaching sessions. It is then up to you to take the steps necessary for the deciding which program you will follow through on. 

Seminars disseminate info to a large group quickly

4. Developing and conducting seminars for clients and their workplace, including their employers

Seminars are useful for not only yourself and family, but also at your workplace.  Healthy employees equal better work productivity. As a manager or employer, taking the workshop with your staff demonstrates not only your commitment to their health and well being, but hat you also take this seriously for yourself.  Being a role model for your staff is imperative to give direction on how you hope they hold themselves. This is not demanding or being authoritarian. This is called being a leader. You can’t control your staff’s behaviour, but you can certainly influence it. And this isn’t only in regards to diet and fitness, but also in regards to developing better habits. 

5. Creating and distributing health education materials, through brochures, blogs and website info

Get in touch for a copy of the Primal Action brochure

It is essential for health coaches to provide education to you. They will use different mediums to disseminate information based on their abilities.  Not all health coaches are long form blog writers. Some work better by jotting down points in a brochure and then discussing face to face with clients.  Some may use a video format.  It’s important for you to know how you learn and connect with a coach that provides information in a way that you can absorb. 

The best health coaches will use a variety of mediums and curtail that to the needs of the client.  If you find the information is not being provided in a way that is accessible to you, let the health coach know.  They may have misinterpreted your needs, or do not realizer they are not being clear.

This was part one of a two part blog. Sometimes it’s easier to digest information in smaller amounts, and makes it more accessible.  Not thinking you have to read all the information at once can be valuable for those of you that put something on hold and return to it at another time when you’re ready to continue on. But for others, having a more concise amount of information presented to you in an amount that you can confuse in one go, may be more vital. If you have any feedback you wish to provide on how you best learn, feel free to email in directly to info@primalaciton.ca or leave a comment below.

Published by Collin Wynter

Exploring rights of our freedom of expression and justice

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