Health and Wellness Coaching is an emerging field for nurses. I first heard about Wellness coaching a few months ago when I was reading an article in Home Health Care Nurse magazine.
Unlike life coaching, which deals with different aspects of your life such as business, personal or your relationships, health wellness coaching deal with certain diseases or condition such as weight loss, diabetes management or smoking cessation.
It’s a unique approach when dealing with clients who are non compliant, helping them to achieve better outcome when dealing with chronic conditions.
What is a Health/Wellness Coach?
Health coaching first came about as Motivational Interviewing for patients with alcohol addiction back in the 1980s by Drs. William Miller and Stephen Rollnick who used this method as an intervention for persons with drinking problems. In the 1990s it was started on persons with chronic illnesses to help change behaviors, particularly with patients who had frequent re-admissions.
The Coaching industry has exploded since than with more and more people entering the profession. It’s an excellent area for nurses (RNs and LPNs) to explore.
What Health Coaching is not
You do not counsel clients; instead they have a conversation with a person, getting to know them, guiding that client to discover his or her own personal ambivalence as to why they are behaving in certain ways that affects their overall health.
It’s about helping them to figure out why they are not being compliant and helping them to change that behavior into a positive outcome that best suits the client, not the coach.
What does a Health coach do?
We as nurses tend to teach and educate a patient with information directed at the client, telling him what he needs to do and if he doesn’t follow orders, these are the consequences. We are very task oriented and follow a plan of care not straying far from that plan of care and because of that not always listening to what the patient may be trying to tell us.
As a coach you’ll listen to what he/she has to say and ask specific questions as to why he/she isn’t following doctor’s orders. It’s about the client coming to the conclusion themselves, with the coach helping the client to find ways to overcome the fear or anxiety he/she may be having.
When a client has ambivalence about their care, he/she will not move forward in the process of getting better. A Health coach helps the client achieve his own motivation for change and being supportive to the treatment that best suits the client. This is very different from traditional nursing.
A Health coach helps to guide clients into talking about what is most troubling to them about their conditions, what they most want to change, what support systems are in place to help overcome obstacles or difficulties that are in their way of creating healthy behaviors for optimal health and helping them to reach their goals, not yours.
- Be an Active Listener
- Work from the client agenda, not yours
- Discover the clients beliefs and values systems, than use this information as guidance for the best outcomes
- Establishing client goals, assisting with change, helping them to meet their goals, not goals we as nurses have set for them (this is the big difference between a traditional nursing approach and Health Coaching).
Health Wellness Coaching Jobs
You could start out by working for someone else than set up your own health and wellness practice which has some of the best opportunities for better pay and better work environment.
Health coaches can work by telephone, emails, in person and could easily be done as a part time, a work at home nursing job.
You could specialize in a specific chronic illness or:
- Work in a health or fitness center
- Be a Health coach for a corporation helping CEO and their employees maintain their best health
- Insurance companies
- Set up your own health and wellness practice
Health Coach Certification
You do not need to be certified to work as an Health Coach, but you should seek training on how to coach effectively because being a nurse does not mean you know how to coach. And after you’ve worked as a coach for a certain amount of hours (same with all nursing certifications) you’ll be ready to take the new health and wellness certification program being offered to registered nurses only at this time.