Improving your Wellbeing Through Health Coaching

   "I absolutely believe that people, unless coached, never reach their maximum potential."
                                                                  ~
Bob Nardelli, CEO, Home Depo
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As a teenager in Egypt I had a swim coach who encouraged me to train when I wanted to play, to exercise when I would rather have played backgammon with the old men at the club, and managed to build my confidence and win races. All sports have coaches so that athletes put on their top performances.

Today coaching is not just for athletes. There are coaches for every imaginable issue; from personal relationships to nutrition, weight management to how to find your mate. Even some surgeons now have coaches. And in the short time since its inception life coaching no longer seems so flaky. There are TV shows featuring coaching ('Starting Over', and 'Get The Guy’), and even spoofs about coaching on the John Stewart show. Coaching is now mainstream.

Why Coaching?
Well, it’s pretty simple. We go to the doctor for a prescription or a priest for confession, a dietitian, a shrink or a counselor or even a self-help book for the answers to our problems. But no matter how good the advice, all of these tools suffer from a common weakness - they rely on the individual to take action on their own and make the commitment to act on the advice. And consider that little of the information received is customized to one’s unique situation. This is where coaching differs. The main reason - it is emerging as the way to get results.  People who are serious about change know that they are responsible to make it happen themselves. They also know that they may not be able to do it on their own.

People who do turn to coaching most often benefit from improved clarity and focus around their goals, discipline, direction, guidance and understanding, and ultimately achieve things they want but couldn't on their own. Some of us might have the skill set and support to eventually get there without assistance but it can be so much more effective to let a coach help us, and often cheaper in the long run and with lasting effects because we (with the guidance of the coach) arrived at the solution. With a coach, results almost always improve – often dramatically.

Why Health Coaching?
Happiness, the enjoying of our lives, is what we all seek. Everything we do, whether wise or not, is in support of this overarching desire. Often happiness is used synonymously with “well-being” and this begins with good health and healthy habits. But there are few among us who truly prioritize our well-being, both physical and mental.

Health coaching has become more popular in the last several years in the US, especially for the treatment of particular conditions and in corporate settings where the efficacy of health coaching has been shown to be cost and productivity-effective. It generally includes a personalized program designed to improve your health and sense of wellness, while developing your ability to manage life’s curveballs as they arise. A health coach can generally help you with:

  • Stress management
  • Diet, nutrition and eating habits
  • Weight management
  • Sleep problems
  • Physical Fitness
  • Family and social relationships
  • Work/Life balance
  • Maintaining independence with age

Where traditionally education and advice directs information at you, coaching by contrast guides you to discuss what is most troubling about your health, what you most want to change, what support you have to foster change and what obstacles or difficulties must be minimized or removed to advance healthy behaviors. It does this by providing:
  • Support
  • Structure
  • Accountability
  • A sense of accomplishment
Over time other benefits will arise that are not anticipated, not least, the cost of your medical care.
Did you know that 70% of our medical costs are due to four factors that we can control:
poor stress management, physical inactivity, tobacco and alcohol use, and food choices.

In the coming weeks I’ll share more about why I have become a proponent for health coaching, and how it’s influencing my activities today.

We each have the power to be well and age well, whatever our genetic make-up or specific problems. In this approach you become the nexus.

Healing yourself, rewiring your brain, adopting new health habits, feeling good about yourself and your relationships – no one else can do it for you. But a qualified health coach can support you through the process.

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