Behaviors and actions matter. When patients are given instructions to follow, listening to their medical providers’ advice is often the key to recovery. Unfortunately, not everyone does what they should to change their lives and health.
Some people need more support, which is where a coaching program can be helpful. Making lifestyle changes isn’t always simple for clients who are looking for wellness coaching, which is where an integrative health coach comes in. Integrative health coaching is a client-centered approach to addressing a client’s overall health and wellbeing. With integrative health coaching, healing is about acknowledging the roles of the body, mind, and spirit during recovery. Self-care, goal-setting sessions, and lifestyle changes may all be implemented during the coaching process.
What is Integrative Health Coaching?
Integrative health coaching is a partnership between individuals or groups and their health coach. The coach focuses on the innate healing capacity within clients and places an emphasis on behavior changes, such as investing in more regular self-care. Integrative health coaches are well-trained and prepared to partner with clients to work together to heal minds, bodies, and spirits. Integrative health coaching is designed to provide support to patients in the way that they need it.
Do they need help setting goals? Do they need help with behavioral changes? Perhaps they want someone to help them understand why they’re being placed on a certain treatment program, or they simply need assistance getting started. This is where an integrative health coach can make a major difference in the patient’s life.
What Does an Integrative Health Coach Do?
During an integrative health coaching session, the goal is to work with the client to identify goals. For example, the coach may ask what is most important in the client’s life and why they want to be in their best health. A parent may suggest they want to be healthier to play with their children, or athletes may want to be the best versions of themselves so they can compete at the highest level. During this discussion, the coach may ask about behavior changes that have been made to address health in the past to get a good idea of what has and has not worked for the client.
With the coach, clients will then rate the core areas affecting health and wellbeing, such as sleep or nutrition. By identifying those core areas that need more attention, it’s possible to focus and create changes that help the person more holistically. A behavior change takes time and is not always easy to do immediately, so clients may rely heavily on input from health coaches.
Clients are expected to create a goal to improve overall health and wellbeing with input from their coach, and it’s the coach’s job to make sure that the goals are reasonable and actionable. Multiple goal-setting sessions may be needed, and goals can change as more is learned about the patient’s health and ability to adapt.
Coaches then assist clients in taking action to achieve their goals. Coaches will go over the ways that those actions can happen, how long those actions should take, and help anticipate challenges. Coaches may also provide accountability methods to help clients stay on track.
For example, a coach may be helping a client set a plan for weight loss and discuss a reasonable timeline for the amount of weight the client wants to lose. They may help them anticipate challenges, like a potentially interruptive health issue, and go over how to get back on track if the plan is derailed for any reason. Integrative health coaches will focus on teaching accountability methods to help keep their clients on track, but they will also focus on treating the entire person and look for ways to help make real behavior changes rather than temporary fixes.
Benefits of Health Coaching
By helping clients improve quality of life through necessary behavior changes, integrative health coaching offers a number of benefits. A health coach finds fulfillment in seeing the results of helping another person improve their overall wellbeing.
How Integrative Health Coaching Helps People
Those who want to work with patients and help them be their best selves can appreciate that integrative health coaching treats the whole person. It considers their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs to help them make real changes while receiving the support they need from a medical professional.
There are many different ways that integrative coaching helps others. With a coach, clients are more likely to meet the goals they set for themselves. It can help them:
- Make physical health improvements
- Feel less stressed in day-to-day life
- Boost emotional health
- Improve quality of life
By working with an integrative health coach, it may be possible to:
- Increase productivity
- Make positive behavior changes
- Improve personal morale
- Decrease the risk of burnout
Patients work with integrative health coaches for support as they focus on prevention, health, and wellness. Perhaps most importantly, coaches advocate for their patients. They help patients understand clinical notes or directions from health care providers while they help patients change behaviors. Some patients can benefit from motivational interviewing or health education; others may need support with goal setting or general health coaching.
How to Become an Integrative Health Coach
If you would like to work in a career that helps patients understand their goals and change their lives, consider pursuing a career as an integrative health coach. An integrative health coaching certification, such as the Holistic Coach certification course from Pacific College of Health and Science, is necessary to enter the field. To join the program, applicants must have a background in health or medicine.
Education Needed to Become an Integrative Health Coach
At the very least, you need a Holistic Health Coach certification to become an integrative health coach. At Pacific College, our certificate program offers:
- 172 hours of instruction
- 100% online delivery
- Full accreditation
To enroll for this certificate, you need to be a health care provider. That means that you need to show that you are a/an:
- Registered nurse
- Primary care physician
- Or that you are working in another area of medicine accepted by the institution
Candidates for this specific program may enroll full- or part-time. During the course, you will need to complete a series of modules going over what a health coach does and the importance of their role in patient care.
There are four courses in our Holistic Health Coach certification program. These include:
- Health and Human Performance Coaching: Personal Growth
- Health and Human Performance Coaching: Principles and Practice
- Health and Human Performance Coaching: Interpersonal Skills
- Health and Human Performance Coaching: Professional Skills
Each one of these courses provides insights and training in different areas. For example, the personal growth module goes over self-discovery and techniques for personal growth. It focuses on the dynamics of a coach-client relationship.
The principles and practice module teaches different approaches to coaching as well as how to integrate modern coaching with Chinese medicine. Some other topics discussed during this course include safety, regulations, and ethics. Role play is utilized throughout the course of the program, as is peer review.
The interpersonal skills section reviews coach-client communication and interpersonal skills. Students in the program are taught to instruct clients in methods for improving personal or professional communications.
Finally, in the professional skills module, students learn about ethical issues in public health education. They also develop a plan for career development and networking.
Finding a job after becoming an integrative health coach may be easier than you’d expect. Did you know that integrative health coaches work in all kinds of businesses and industries? Some of the places integrative health coaches work include:
- Community health clinics
- Women’s health centers
- Insurance companies
- Nonprofit agencies
- Family resource centers
- Veterans’ centers
- Group medical visits
- Disease-specific facilities
- Mental health programs
- Primary care offices
- Pediatric offices
This could be an opportunity to be an educator, patient advocate, and coach to those you care about in your life and those you have yet to meet.