Personal wellness coaching is a relatively new practice that has grown in popularity for people looking to improve their overall health. Some professionals use the terms “wellness coach” and “health coach” interchangeably, while others are more specific about their title and what they can offer to their clients.
Same, Same but Different
Personal wellness coaches and health coaches are both leaders who are trained to work one-on-one with clients to help them to achieve optimal health. The Journal of Occupational Health Psychology specifically describes wellness coaching as a relatively new behavioral intervention that has gained popularity in public health because of its ability to address multiple behaviors, health risks, and illness self-management.
Personal wellness coaching is also considered to be individualized and patient-centered. When a coach works with a client, the entire process is goal-oriented, measurable, and promotes self-discovery and accountability.
Although sometimes used interchangeably with the term wellness coach, a health coach is someone who typically focuses on client growth in three areas: changing behavior, increasing activity, and developing healthy eating practices and lifestyle behaviors. Wellness coaches, on the other hand, believe being healthy is about far more than eating a balanced diet and exercising. They look to help improve all areas of your life, including your self-confidence, work-life balance, relationships, spirituality, and community.
What’s the Difference Between a Wellness Coach and a Fitness Coach?
The main difference between a personal wellness coach and a fitness coach is that a wellness coach helps his or her clients find the motivation to reach their physical and emotional health goals. Unlike a fitness coach who makes recommendations based primarily on exercise and your physique, a personal wellness coach helps you to make better choices both physically and emotionally that fit your specific lifestyle. This holistic view of health is what makes a personal wellness coach stand out from other health professionals.
Still Not Convinced You Need a Personal Wellness Coach?
Although wellness coaching is an evolving field of research, studies have shown there to be positive psychosocial and physical health benefits. To better reap these benefits, you need to hire a personal wellness coach to help.
In one study, in particular, Mayoclinic had 100 Mayo employees complete a 12-week, in-person wellness coaching program. The primary aims of the study were to examine potential improvements in quality of life, including physical, social, emotional, cognitive, and spiritual functioning, as well as in depressive symptoms and perceived stress levels.
The results published in 2014 showed significant improvements at 12 weeks in all areas, including decreased stress levels, after participating in the wellness coaching program for 12 weeks. Twenty general practitioners and 1045 patients participated in the study using questionnaires and semi-structured interviewing techniques. Patients self-rated behavioral change in their areas of choice after participating in motivational interviews.
Results showed an increase in motivation among patients and a high level of feasibility. Although health and wellness coaching is not generally a part of primary care, the conclusions showed promising results in the areas of mental and physical well-being.
Additional studies have also found that care-management programs that include health and wellness coaching can help reduce medical costs, hospitalizations, and many symptoms associated with chronic illness.
Other Benefits of a Personal Wellness Coach
With more and more health concerns on the rise, you may be wondering if a personal wellness coach is right for you. Interestingly enough, personal wellness coaches also work with clients who consider themselves to be in good health overall. Many professional coaches work with clients who want to improve their quality of life and are lacking the motivation or the tools to do so.
Choosing to work with a personal wellness coach can be beneficial for a variety of reasons:
1. Encourages Reflection and Goal-Setting
Reflection is one of the main vehicles for positive change in the workforce. If you are able to reflect on what went well or poorly and then implement changes, you are likely to continue to grow as an individual.
Wellness coaching encourages self-reflection by helping you to set small, achievable goals that work for your lifestyle. A personal wellness coach will also help you create a plan to achieve these goals as well as find a system to actively monitor your progress. You will work together as a team to revisit your goals and set new ones.
2. An Increase in Personal Accountability
Have you ever wondered why some people feel frustrated after they make diet and lifestyle changes and then revert back to old ways? Another benefit of a personal wellness coach is that he or she teaches you how to hold yourself accountable for the changes you wish to see.
Ultimately, we want to be able to sustain the changes we make for long periods of time or indefinitely. It can be disheartening to see the results of a new diet change or workout regime that only last a few weeks or months. A wellness coach can help you identify what obstacles hinder you from keeping on track with your goals and offer tools to overcome these barriers. You will then be better equipped to hold yourself accountable for sustained, measurable changes.
3. Encourages Productivity
Ever feel like you hit a slump mid-day when you still have mountains of work to do? Whether that work be house chores, personal finances, or office related work, discovering ways to be productive is essential to success. Working with a personal wellness coach can increase your productivity by helping you to find a system that works best for you.
Do you struggle to be productive past a certain time in the day? Perhaps your coach can help you discover how to use time more effectively. Get burned out too quickly? Time-blocking could be a strategy your personal wellness coach could help you implement into your busy weekdays.
Who Else Would Benefit From Working With a Personal Wellness Coach?
Personal wellness coaches also tend to work with people with one or more of the following health concerns:
- High-stress levels and a busy schedule
- Parents and their children who are trying to follow healthier diets
- Patients with existing medical conditions including diabetes or pre-diabetes, heart problems including high blood pressure, high cholesterol or high cholesterol
- Issues with weight management
- Those with digestive issues including bloating, gas, constipation, acid reflux, symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
- Adults going through hormone-related changes such as menopause
- Adults wanting to adopt healthier eating habits
- Those looking to find more motivation and/or work-life balance
Finding a personal wellness coach that fits your individual needs could help to fill the gap in the health care you are receiving. Even if you do not suffer from a major health concern, connecting with a wellness coach can help you to find the strength and motivation to live a more vibrant, productive, and fulfilling life.
Visit TelMD.com and find a wellness coach who can guide you toward achieving your health and wellness goals!
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