I had a great conversation with someone recently, and she praised the health coaching experience she almost missed out on if her doctor hadn’t recommended it.
That really got me thinking about how you might experience the same revelation if you knew more about coaching. So…in that moment I decided I wanted to share with you an example of what might occur in a “typical” coaching experience.
…my own experience…
Getting My Own Health Coach
As a student of the Functional Medicine Coaching Academy, I was given an opportunity to be coached for 5 sessions by a fellow student.
I knew I wanted to take advantage of absolutely every resource available through my school. Gaining a well-rounded perspective of the whole coaching experience was important to me.
This was also so exciting. I knew I’d have a fresh set of eyes looking at what I was doing and thinking and feeling, and giving me some much-appreciated consideration. I would gain a non-judgmental, unbiased, yet informed resource in my corner, strategizing with me and cheering me on.
Health Coaching Begins
I decided to go for it. I clicked the button to sign-up for sessions, and my coach emailed. Let’s call her Renee. Since I tend to be very visual, I chose to meet using Zoom, an online, private video communication source.
After completing the detailed but not difficult health history questionnaire, I realized how only a few years ago I would have wondered how some of the areas asked about related to my health. Now, however, I understand the connections so much more vividly.
A Pill for Every Ill?
You see, we live in a society that Clinical Nutritionist Tom Malterre describes by saying “instead of getting to the root of the symptom, (some practitioners and the general population) give a synthetic substance to mask it.”
Think about it. When someone gets a headache, do they start evaluating what’s causing the headache and make adjustments to deal with the cause, or do they head straight for the medicine cabinet and pop a pill to cover up the symptom?
However, functional medicine “…seeks to identify and address the root causes of disease and views the body as one integrated system, not a collection of independent organs divided up by medical specialties. Functional medicine practitioners are specifically trained to treat the whole system, not just the symptoms.” as stated by Dr. Mark Hyman in Dr. Tom O’Bryan’s book The Autoimmune Fix.
And if you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Our bodies are beautifully designed and contained in one package. There’s a crazy number of functions that work together so you can walk, know when you’re hungry, breathe, laugh, and so on.
A Coach’s Functional Medicine Lens
Because Renee was trained as a functional medicine health coach, my health challenges, choices, and future goals would be considered through the lens of functional medicine.
Of course, I wanted helpful guidance and encouragement. Having access to someone that is knowledgeable, objective, available to listen and inform, and then working with me to co-create strategies was huge. I think the biggest piece for me, though, was having support and encouragement as I pushed through areas of challenge.
When I didn’t meet a goal, we talked about the struggles and obstacles that got in the way, and then we either redirected to a new goal or reset to stay on the same but slightly tweaked goal path.
The Initial Coaching Session
The first coaching session was the longest, but not too long. Renee had sent me connection information for our online meeting already, so our session easily started. After intros, she began to summarize the information I provided on the health history questionnaire and asked for more detail in certain areas that called for a little more sharing. Isn’t it always interesting to get those questions that just can’t be answered in 2-3 words on a form?
Some Areas Covered
Her questions spurred our conversation and it flowed comfortably. Some of the topics that came up included:
- common food and drink choices
- sleep habits and environment
- relaxation and exercise tendencies and preferences
- thought life
- spiritual activity
- current challenges
- goals and strategies already in place
These areas are all intertwined in ways that are unique to each person and have so much more depth that simply cannot be described in a few bullet points, but you get a general idea.
It was a little over an hour before we completed our initial coaching session, and I left with 3 recommendations to consider incorporating during the next 2 weeks.
Making Progress Through Follow-up Sessions
We continued our meetings for 4 more sessions. Talk usually began with my sharing if and how I incorporated previously discussed recommendations. I would mostly talk, and Renee would reflect back to me or summarize information shared by me. We looked at current practices and observations relating to recommendations. We considered related information, brainstormed new interests and possibilities, and then I selected a manageable number, usually 2-3, options to incorporate into my lifestyle and time constraints before the next session.
It was really interesting to hear Renee periodically summarize what I had just said and become newly aware of certain tendencies, beliefs, and habits that I hadn’t noticed before. Some we talked about, particularly if they were potentially helpful or hindering to my progress. My new awareness of others was enough for me to appreciate a strength or think about a norm.
In the midst of our sessions, Renee also had me complete additional forms that were more particular to specific areas that we were focusing on and really helped in fine-tuning existing strategies.
I chose to schedule my follow-up sessions two weeks apart, so I had time to effectively pursue goals after each session. We consistently reviewed my strategies, made adjustments and/or redirections in focus, and considered new or updated goals.
Listening and Trust-Building
Helpful listening and discussion continued through my sessions and centered on reviewing successes and challenges of the strategies from previous sessions, celebrating progress made, updating and adjusting from new and improved positions, and considering other areas for growth and change as previous goals were met. Throughout our sessions, I set the pace. I moved forward, fitting action and change to my level of comfort and time allowances.
Trust increased, and, I believe, in some ways, progress increased in some of the more difficult areas because of trust. It was really an interesting and refreshing experience to be able to actually share my observations and concerns and goals, have someone listen and ask informed questions, and then support and encourage me as I created a strategy that I knew I could incorporate into my life.
What about you?
Could individualized health coaching be what you are looking for?
Having a coach was really so helpful, including in some ways I didn’t expect. I think my big takeaway was that even with my health coach glasses on, there were areas and obstacles that I simply wasn’t aware of or relating to certain goals.
Support from another person can often be a game-changer. A coach can be a great source of information from a whole person perspective.
“A coach takes a person from where they are to where they want to be.” Margaret Moore, MBA
Access to someone that is in your corner sharing information, encouragement, and support can change your future. Whether working with your practitioner or pursuing health information and support independently, a health coach is worth considering. I can say as both a health coach but also as a client, I would recommend.
Can you imagine having someone listening, informing, and encouraging you in your journey? That’s health coaching.
The Time is Now
Have you considered a health coach?
- unbiased listening and co-created planning to move you towards your goals
- support and accountability to help you implement change
- information, maybe some revelation, and support as you face and work through challenges
- encouragement to stay on track and celebrate successes?
Maybe its time you get a health coach.