What is health coaching?
Health and wellbeing coaching has become an established area of practice in the Australia, UK and USA. Health coaching has even been offered as a free service within some Primary Care Trusts in the UK. Professional bodies such as the Association for Coaching recognise health coaching as a specialism.
There are a number of definitions of health coaching that have been developed over the past two decades. One of the earliest definitions published in an academic journal was developed by the Co-Director of the Centre for Health Coaching and colleagues:
Health coaching is the practice of health education and health promotion within a coaching context, to enhance the well-being of individuals and to facilitate the achievement of their health-related goals (Palmer et al., 2003: 92)
This definition focuses on wellbeing, facilitation and allowing the client or coachee to proactively develop their personal health-related goals. A health education and coaching framework, underpinned and informed by psychological theories, research and practice.
Health Coaches may undertake a range of duties as part of their work depending upon their training. The chart below highlights some of the key areas.
Palmer, S., Tubbs, I., & Whybrow, W. (2003). Health coaching to facilitate the promotion of healthy behaviour and achievement of health-related goals. International Journal of Health Promotion and Education, 41, 3, 91-93.