9 Functions of a Health Coach (Part 2)

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

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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.

6. Developing health care plans tailored for each client’s needs

Education leads to knowledge

A health coach’s practice is one of generality education, but specific when it comes to assisting you with your needs.  What this means is, unless a health coach is trained as a nutritionist or a physiotherapist, for example, they are not certified to provide individual diagnoses. Instead, they provide general programs that they will recommend to you. Based on your needs, they can recommend modifications to the programs, in so far as, they would recommend those modifications to anyone.  For example, if you are finding it hard to exercise in the morning due to time restraints, a health coach may suggest to exercise in the evening instead.  Or, if you do not enjoy eating steaks, the health coach might recommend having chicken or fish instead. The tailored plan is developed through discussion with you and your needs. This may be done in conjunction with consultation of your other health care providers, like a medical doctor or dietician. The health coach is there to support and help you maintain the path of healthy habit development. There will be another blog done on the ‘Three Things a Health Coach’ cannot say. 

7. Coordinating with client’s health care providers

Medical professionals can be important along your path towards well being

As mentioned above, a health coach may be involved with coordinating with your health care providers.  A health coach may go with you on a visit to your appointment, be provided information from your consultation with them, be put into email contact with them, or contact them via phone. This can include professionals, such as: medical doctors, psychiatrists,  physiotherapists, dieticians, and nutritionists. This may not happen right away. A medical care provider may wish to get to know you personally before having another individual getting involved. However, it is your right (I believe nearly everywhere in the U.S. and Canada), to have another person present during your appointments. Please check your local guidelines about this. The medical care professional may wish to meet with your health coach in person before providing any documentation.  There may be a request for the health coach to provide confidentiality agreements. In the end, both the medical care professional and your health coach have your best interested at heart and want to assist you with your health and well being. It just comes from different angles.  The medical angle being one of diagnoses, and the coach angle of being consistent support.

8. Supporting clients on their path to well being 

Support is key

Supporting you on your path towards well being is the main goal of the health coach. Whether that path is focused on diet, exercise or mental clarity, a health coach can help you develop the habits and behaviours required to make this a success. They do this in a variety of manners. It can be in the form of a weekly phone or in person check in, through a daily email inspiration, access to community groups on social media, website information, blogs, vlogs and podcasts, or even webinars and public seminars. Whichever way you receive support, ensure that it is valuable to you.  If you are receiving support from your health coach and it’s not resonating with you or doesn’t seem relevant, talk to your health coach about it.  It may be that there is some miscommunication.  The last thing a health coach wants is for their client to feel unfulfilled from their experience.  However, you do have to put in the time and effort, also.  That means, doing the work set in front of you, being honest about how you’re going and with what’s challenging you. A health coach’s ability to support you is determined but eh amount fo information you share so they have a full understanding of what is going on.  This may not occur at first, it may take time to build a trusting relationship. Health coaches will use open ended questions to encourage you to open up.

9. Continuing personal education and training to apply up to date science in a functional manner

Health coaches are always learning. It is essential for them to stay onto of current research to better assist their clients. Not necessarily because science is overturning past knowledge, but because there is a lot of misinformation out there. It is important for the health coach to be able to sift through information that you may be reading also and clarify that information for you.  You do not need a degree in science or nutrition to start your path to well being. But you may be inclined to read the literature and take your knowledge to a deeper level. A deep these levels of knowledge are.  There is so much information out there because scientists need to repeatedly review information from various perspectives to see if they can invalidate the theories.  If they can invalidate theories, they then can apply a new theory. One area of research a health coach may focus in on is the controversy in nutrition: vegan/vegetarianism vs the keto/carnivore/paleo/primal diets vs the Standard American Diet. What is the best type of diet? Primal Action focus on the keto/carnivore/paleo/primal diet spectrum, and even within that, there is room for debate.

These two part blogs were intended to give you an idea of what health coaches do so you can determine if seeking one out to help you on your journey towards well being would be beneficial. It certainly can be pointed out that having support from someone increased your chances of success. Check out the Primal Action programs on the website and see which one’s right for you.

Find your path. There may be bumps along the way, but the adventure will be worth it.

Published by Collin Wynter

Exploring rights of our freedom of expression and justice

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