5 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Working With a Health Coach
So here you are, at the door, ready to knock and eager to see how a Health Coach can help you to better your health, your life, and to give you the peace of mind you yearn for. Maybe you are here to get a better grasp of a struggling weight challenge.
Perhaps, you’ve tried countless times to quit smoking and just cannot seem to get over that final hump. Or, maybe you’re just curious to learn what this whole wellness thing is all about.
Whatever your reason for exploring this exciting space, you’ve done it. You’ve taken a step, and that in and of itself is an achievement!
Working with a Health Coach can and should be 100% supportive of your personal health goals. The intention for this relationship is to bridge the gap between your personal health struggles and the desires you have to improve your health, to make certain that you are not alone during your journey, and to help motivate you to continue even when you feel you want to give up.
Regardless of where you’ve come from, what you’ve attempted in the past, or whether you’re fully ready to dedicate yourself to being the healthiest version of you, Health Coaches are a lifeline, a supportive beam in the foundation that makes you whole. They practice empathy and compassion toward you and your unique goals. They celebrate your dedication and eagerness to work toward improvement. And, they are professional, qualified individuals with the intention to help you to become the healthiest you can be. In other words, they are fully invested in your well-being!
Whether you’re new to working with a health professional, or not, rest assured that there are viable ways to get the most out of this very profound relationship you are about to enter, particularly when working with a Health Coach.
Here are a 5 ways to get the most out of working with a Health Coach:
- Have clear intentions and specific goals. It’s so easy to wish for something, but without clarity of what you’d truly like to achieve, working toward these goals will inevitably and unnecessarily be difficult. Instead, plan on going into this program with clear intentions on what you’d like to work toward. For example, let’s say you’re hoping to be able to run your first 5K in 1 month. Make sure this is something you are prepared to work toward and that you understand you won’t be able to merely achieve this without training and a real commitment toward improving both your cardiovascular and your physical health. If you’ve never owned a pair of running shoes, avoid running (or even walking), and know little-to-nothing about what’s involved in running a 5K, be prepared to encounter some challenges. If, on the other hand, you’ve determined why you want to achieve this goal and what it means to be so dedicated to this physical and mental demand, you’re already well on your way to the finish line!
- Be honest with yourself and your Health Coach. So you’ve set some clear goals that you’d like to work with your Health Coach to achieve. Now what? Well it’s essential to be honest about why these goals are so meaningful to you. Let’s revisit the running scenario previously mentioned. You’ve decided that you’d like to complete a 5K run, but decide that 1 month isn’t enough time to train, so you decide to attempt one in 6 months instead. You’ve determined that this goal is important to you because you’d first like to lose 20 pounds and to increase your muscle density (tone up!) first and 1 month isn’t a realistic amount of time to do so. You’ve also explained to your Health Coach that the reason you’re so determined to achieve this goal is because you recently lost a loved one to heart disease and this loss has opened your eyes to your personal health status. You’ve come to realize that losing some weight and improving your physical health will help you to reduce your risk for heart disease. Perhaps you’ve realized that being overweight and being so distraught over your recent loss has become the motivation you need to improve. This is an honest and essential part of working successfully with your Health Coach and how with this information, real progress can be made.
- Be patient with yourself and your Health Coach. Understand that change doesn’t happen instantly. Remember that in order to make long-term, sustainable lifestyle changes, it involves much more than just simple goal setting. Sticking with our running example, let’s say that you’re 2 weeks into your training program and up until this point, have felt your hard work paying off. Suddenly you have a new project at work, one that involves working longer days. In addition to that, your child suddenly gets the flu, which requires you to spend extra time helping around the house. Then, before you know it, you too get the flu! Before you know it, you’ve missed a couple weeks of training and feel that you’ve lost all your progress. These are very real and typical life situations and oftentimes create setbacks. Instead of getting fed-up and giving up all together, get yourself up (once you’re feeling better of course), dust yourself off, and give yourself a pat on the back for the hard work you’ve accomplished already. Give yourself a chance to get back to the training program and do not allow these setbacks determine your long-term success. You’re work is and will truly pay off!
- Commit to making necessary changes. As mentioned, change doesn’t happen instantly. This is especially true for real, and sustainable changes. Of course there are so many fad fixes out there- diet plans, for example. These promise an instant weight loss or quick solution, however, as we’ve all seen, they generally fail in the long run. Instead, set specific goals, both short- and long-term, and stick with them. Work with your Health Coach to make amendments when necessary and commit to the success you deserve.
- Celebrate your dedication and your achievements! In addition to setting short- and long- term goals, don’t forget to celebrate along the way. Let’s say that you’ve been working diligently to move from a walking pace to a jogging pace in order to run that 5K in 6 months. Up to this point, you’ve only been walking, but you attempt jogging this week for the first time, and you’ve done it almost effortlessly! This is a great accomplishment and must be celebrated! Determine what will help you to feel accomplished and want to continue working on your long-term goals. Maybe this is a monetary reward to buy a new pair of running shoes, or you tell yourself you’d like a day at the spa. Whatever keeps you motivated, by all means, do it! Celebrate each step of the way and before you know it, you’ll be moving up from a walking pace to that intended jogging pace!
Following these tips is merely the tip of the iceberg for finding the greatest success with your Health Coach, however it will undoubtedly help you to be prepared. Regardless of your goals and your intentions, just know that you are not alone in working toward your achievements. A Health Coach will be there for you ever step of the way!
Monae Byrne is a Certified Health Coach, Certified Health Education Specialist, Certified Corporate Wellness Specialist, Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Fitness Nutritionist, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Pre-Health/Nutrition and Master’s Degree in Health Science – Global Health Education & Research Teacup Wellness, specializing in fitness and weight loss.