What is a Health Coach?
Although there is a steady rise in chronic illness and increasing health care costs, research has demonstrated that chronic illness is predominantly related to lifestyle factors, not genetics or lack of medical advancement. In fact, more than 85% of chronic illness is driven by our lifestyle habits and our environment .
A few significant challenges when it comes to implementing and maintaining health-promoting habits are knowing how to start, sustaining motivation, and having positive support. This is where the role of a health coach shines, as they play a role in helping you reach your health goals by serving as a change agent. Health coaches are specifically trained to help you change unhealthy habits and are specialized in helping people overcome obstacles on their wellness journey. In many ways, health coaches help people connect the dots between who they are and who they want to be, and to take the incremental steps that will enable them to succeed in their desired changes. In doing so, these changes can lead to a higher level of health and well being.
As part of a collaborative care team that includes Functional Medicine practitioners, nutritionists, and other unified health providers, health coaches support their clients as they make positive changes.
How a Health Coach can Help You Reach Your Wellness Goals
To become a health coach involves unique training that not only involves health and wellness education, but specialized training in behavior modification which are combined to more thoroughly support people as they combat chronic illnesses. Many people find that working with a health coach helps them to discover personalized solutions to optimize the success of their treatment plan. In many ways, health coaching gets to the heart of what providing good health care is about: acceptance, partnership, compassion, and helping patients feel respected and understood.
At Newbridge, we recognize that a functional medicine approach is new to many patients, and a comprehensive treatment plan often involves nutrition and lifestyle changes. In addition to making changes to one’s diet, some patients might also need to make adjustments to their overall environment, which can sometimes feel overwhelming, especially in the midst of illness. By including health coaches as part of our collaborative team, we hope to optimize patient success, providing a sense of partnership for the healing journey.
Coaches are also available for regular check-ins. If you’re having trouble with any aspect of your plan or you’re experiencing some unexpected side effects, you don’t have to wait as long to see your doctor. Instead, you can speak to your coach before your next follow-up appointment.
Not only can a health coach help you navigate your individualized treatment plan, but they can also help you with diet changes, find ways to cope with and manage stress, and even discover ways to incorporate regular activity and exercise in a way that’s manageable for you and your family.
Health coaches are also skilled at supporting their clients when change is difficult. They use methods like Motivational Interviewing, which helps people to discover their own motivation and strategies for change and overcome uncertainty. Instead of issuing a diagnosis, your coach will work closely with you to:
- Understand your current condition
- Help flesh out exactly what you want to get out of the coaching interaction
- Ask powerful questions to help you gain insights into how you can achieve change
- Assist in the creation of goals that are doable
- Hold you accountable
Most importantly, a health coach is someone who becomes your personal ally and advocate. You, as their client, are the primary focus and your health coach is always going to offer the personalized support you need.
Our Health Coach
Angie O’Connell has experience as a social worker and years of personal experience with functional medicine. She has a passion for helping others succeed in achieving their goals, especially as it relates to attaining optimal wellness.