Jennifer Shearin Group Health Coaching

Health coaching, also referred to as wellness coaching, is a process that facilitates healthy, sustainable behavior change by challenging a client to listen to their inner wisdom, identify their values, and transform their goals into action. Health coaching draws on the principles of positive psychology and the practices of motivational interviewing and goal setting.The terms “health coaching” and “wellness coaching” are used interchangeably.

Coaching has occurred since the beginning of mankind. It involves a conversation where one person listens and then advises another person on any subject matter. Over time this term has been used for coaches in education, athletics and music. Through his book The Inner Game of Tennis, Tim Gallwey changed the perspective of coaching when he shifted the focus of coaching. Rather than teaching a skill or technique, his process encouraged individuals to explore their inner strength and wisdom, improving their confidence and making changes and improvements from within. Health coaching is embedded in psychology, social work, nursing, eastern philosophy, holistic health and wellness management fields.

The roots of health coaching began with psychologists treating persons addicted to alcohol. In the early 1990s, The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism conducted a study that compared several methods of treatment for alcohol addiction. They included: cognitive behavioral therapy, a twelve-step program approach similar to Alcoholics Anonymous, and motivational interviewing.

The findings demonstrated that while all were equally effective, motivational interviewing was more cost effective and timelier in reaching the desired results.

Due to the success of this project and others, researchers have been keenly interested in using this approach and studying how its use may affect health behavior change in persons with chronic conditions. Studies are likely to continue in this arena as this is a relatively new approach for many healthcare providers.

There are many people seeking help for various situations and in 2009 the largest category of coaching was that of health, fitness and wellness, with a combined 83.7 millions listings. The importance of a health coach is widely needed as well as guidelines to properly counsel somebody in the area of health and fitness.

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