What is health and wellness coaching?
Frequently Asked Questions
You want support to cope with your own or another’s health issue, restore emotional wellness, rebalance family dynamics, reclaim your life.
Health and wellness coaching can help you achieve that.
This FAQ answers questions you may have about health and wellness coaching and how I work as a Health & Wellness coach.
What is health and wellness coaching?
What is health and wellness coaching?
The type of health and wellness coaching I practice is supporting people living with serious health issues to live well with and beyond the health issue, to restore emotional wellbeing and look positively towards the future. The person may have the health issue or be in a caring or supporting role.
The health issue is the starting point. People often want to learn how to manage their health issue better. Or feel more at peace having to live long-term with the impact of it. They want to restore their emotional wellbeing which is often negatively impacted due to a challenging health issue. Or they may wish to restore healthier communication and connection with family members.
Sometimes the person wishes to make changes in various parts of their life, but they have to consider the impact of the health issue when they do that. For example, if you are living with fatigue or chronic pain, that can have an impact on the type of career/job you may wish to do.
People often want to carve out a life for themselves that gives them joy, purpose and meaning again within the realities of the health issue they or a loved one lives with.
What does health and wellness coaching NOT do?
Health and wellness coaching does not involve medical, nutrition or weight loss advice, treatment for long-standing addiction issues (drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex, etc.), or treatment for clinically diagnosed mental health issues. If you require support for any of these issues, please speak to a suitably qualified professional.
Health and wellness coaching is not a substitute for medical treatment. It can sit alongside it, much like acupuncture, mindfulness, meditation, and yoga can compliment your medical treatment. But coaching does not replace it.
Health and wellness coaching will not cure you of your health issue. It’s aim is to help you find non-medical ways of living well with and beyond your health issue.
How does coaching work?
Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximise their own performance… helping them to learn rather than teaching them. – Sir John Whitmore (Coaching for Performance, 3rd ed., 2002)
Coaching is a powerful way to resolve issues, clarify what you want, and get past feeling stuck, and is especially suited to times when you’re navigating change.
In a series of purposeful, forward-looking conversations, we’ll get clear on what you want to achieve and set objectives for our work so you can get to where you want to be.
You’ll find you will develop a greater awareness of your situation, and uncover new ways to resolve issues that might have felt ‘stuck’ for some time. You’ll leave each session with actions to take to move you towards your goals.
What does a coach do in a session?
Coaching assumes that you can find the solutions to your questions and issues yourself. As your coach, I facilitate that process rather than telling you what you should or shouldn’t do. That’s what makes coaching different from therapy, mentoring, consulting or advising. It’s uniquely placed to empower you to be the expert on your life thereby supporting you to take back control after an injury or diagnosis – and ultimately, to restore your own sense of wellness and wellbeing (with the support of me as your coach).
I’ll partner with you to help you find answers by:
- Listening attentively and non-judgmentally
- Reflecting back to you what you say and do, and what you don’t
- Asking thought-provoking questions
- Gently challenging your assumptions, beliefs and current ways of doing things
- Reminding you of your strengths and abilities
- Being your sounding board
- Supporting and encouraging you
- Helping you keep yourself on track for what you want to achieve.
I also take responsibility for keeping us focused on your agenda throughout, and undertake to keep the details of our conversations confidential (unless the law requires otherwise).
How can I get the most from coaching?
You will get the most out of coaching if you:
- Feel you’re ready to make a change in your life, with the right support. It doesn’t matter how large or small that change may feel like.
- Are prepared to talk about yourself and contribute to conversations openly and honestly
- Know what you want to achieve from our work together, or are willing to explore that with my support
- Collaborate in seeking the answers and solutions, and identifying the actions you can implement in between our conversations to move yourself forward
- Implement those actions
Ultimately, you take full responsibility for the choices and decisions you make. It is this recognition and exercising of your personal power which makes coaching so effective.
Who is coaching NOT for?
Coaching does not assume that you are ‘broken’. I am not here to ‘fix’ you. It does not involve the diagnosis or treatment of mental disorders, nor is it a substitute for counselling, psychotherapy, mental health care or substance abuse treatment.
You might not be ready for coaching if you:
- Don’t feel ready to talk about yourself or to make changes in your life. If that’s you right now, I’d suggest you sign up to my email newsletter so you can get to know me and read my free advice, and then get in touch when you do feel ready to make a shift.
- Are looking for a space to complain about what other people do or don’t do. Of course, we all need to ‘vent’ from time to time, but our focus will be on what you learn from what’s going on and will do differently going forwards.
- Want someone to give you the answers and tell you what to do.
- Are looking for specific advice on a matter possibly from a different profession. Coaching is not a substitute for input from legal, medical, financial, business, spiritual or other qualified professionals. If at any time I feel your needs would be better met by any of these professionals, I will let you know. Any decisions and actions you take as a result of working with other professionals are your sole responsibility.
- Don’t want to take action in between sessions.
- Have a tendency to ‘disappear’ and not be in communication. Part of your commitment to coaching is remaining in communication if you can’t make a session, something about our work isn’t working for you, you wish to end working together early, want to change our focus, or you just want to take a break from the coaching.
- You just want someone to talk to about life in general, you’re looking for a friend, rather than changing anything about yourself or your life. A befriending service, support group (face-to-face or online), or meet-up will better meet this need.
My coaching style
Clients tell me they feel heard, and that means they’re able to open up and explore different solutions. The observations I make and questions I ask create awareness that changes how they think and feel. I’ve been described as the ‘supportive challenger’ – my input might cause you to stop and think, but is always delivered in a gentle and understanding manner. Many clients find what they learn about themselves very empowering.
Outcomes from work with previous clients has included better management of stress, better management of symptoms, reduction of symptoms, reduction in pain medication, feeling calm and in control of life again, feeling less stressed at work, and better communication and connection within families.
I hold the Associate Certified Coach credential with the International Coach Federation. My qualifications include a MA in Coaching Psychology where my research for my dissertation focused on evaluating coaching’s impact on people living with a neurological condition and their primary caregiver. You can read a summary of that research here.
I have done further training in Acceptance Commitment Therapy and Family Constellations (also known as Systemic Constellations). I also hold a Certificate in Professional Coaching Skills recognised by the International Coach Foundation, and have studied Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) to Practitioner level. You can read more about me here.
If you would like to learn more about how we can work together, check out the services I offer to find one that suits you. And get in touch for a free no obligation consultation by completing the contact form below.
Defining health, wellbeing and wellness
Can I improve my health and wellbeing whilst living with a serious health issue?
I believe that it is possible to increase your health, wellness and wellbeing whilst living with serious health issue, whether that be a long-term medical condition, a temporary serious illness, disability or even a benign health issue. I believe you determine what your wellness and wellbeing looks, sounds and feels like for you.
I don’t believe in denying or discounting the symptoms you may live with on a daily basis (pain, fatigue, other fluctuating symptoms, etc.). Or the fear of relapse. They are there and real. And sometimes they can be very difficult to live with.
Our work is about rebuilding and renewing your life; creating your ‘new normality’ as I often like to say. It may include finding non-medical ways to manage any ongoing symptoms and aspects of your health issue. Or you may want to develop a new relationship with your health issue and even redefine what ‘health’ means to you. Or you may wish to re-evaluate and make changes in other areas of your life like your relationships, interests and hobbies, or the career/job you have.
The aim is for you to recover your sense of emotional wellbeing and feel that your life once again is meaningful and purposeful. I don’t want anything less for you.
The following represent the definitions of health, wellbeing and wellness I work to. When you work with me, we start by completing your Wheel of Wellness to set the focus and priorities for our work together. And we work to your definitions of health, wellness and wellbeing.
How I define health
An optimal state of physical, mental and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity – Dorland, 2012
The health definition recognises that there are different types of wellbeing and collectively they constitute health. Yet the word ‘optimal’ allows for a variety of experiences as it means the ‘most desirable, possible under a restriction expressed or implied’ (Free Dictionary, 2012).
Although we may have a long-term condition, serious illness, or disability, we can still experience health. I think of this as health within illness.
How I define wellbeing
A form of happiness as a global assessment of a person’s quality of life according to his own chosen criteria’ – Shin and Johnson, 1978
Within the wellbeing definition is the assumption that determination of it relies on self-assessment and that the individual has the control, choice and the ability to do that.
So you determine what wellbeing means to you.
How I define wellness
An active process through which people become aware of, and make choices towards, a more successful existence – Barwais, 2011
Wellness can consist of various life areas such as spiritual, emotional, intellectual, physical, cultural, occupational, and social (National Wellness Institute, 2012)
I like how the first wellness definition assumes it is an ‘active process’. And it is. It’s a purposeful process where you become more aware and make choices to move towards what you want for yourself.
Like the wellbeing defintion, it assumes that you determine what your ‘successful existence’ is like, and you have the control and ability to do that. It’s empowering.
The second definition recognises that many factors contribute to our sense of wellness. It’s a holistic approach to wellness which is what I advocate.
If you would like to learn more about working together, have a look at the services I offer to find that suits your needs, and get in touch via the contact form below for a free no obligation consultation.
If you are interested in learning more and getting your questions answered, complete the contact form and I’ll respond to set up a mutually convenient time to talk.