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Advances in health and medicine.
Marjorie Bekaert Thomas
Advances in health and medicine.
Nutrition & Wellness Channel
Reported August 8, 2013

Health Coach: Pointers From The Pros -- Research Summary

HEALTH COACHING:  Health coaching is an important trend that is happening in health care.  It is a trend that is moving away from traditional health teaching, which refers to the regular patient/client relationship.  Health coaching actively engages the person to change their unhealthy lifestyle, but there are many different programs available.  So, The National Society of Health Coaching put together a list of seven questions to help guide people to a program who are interested in health coaching:

#1. IS THE PROGRAM BASED ON ACCEPTED SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE?  The answer should be “yes.”  Programs based on research and scientific evidence are more likely to result in a positive outcome.  Not all of the programs are evidence-based.  So, ask what the scientific principles are for the bases of the foundation.  They should include motivational interviewing, stages of change, medical research, and agenda and goal setting. 

#2. WHAT CREDENTIALS OR EDUCATION IS REQUIRED FOR PROGRAM ELIGIBILITY?  Some programs are designed only for those with a license to give medical advice to all clients.  Other programs require degrees for those desiring to coach only “wellness.”  There are also still programs that accept coaches from all types of backgrounds. 

#3. SHOULD PROGRAM COST BE AN INDICATOR OF QUALITY?  No.  For example, those with a license in clinical practice will pay far less for a program because these people already have a medical and psychosocial background needed for health coaching.  Some programs cost more due to the length of the program. 

#4. DO I WANT TO WORK IN A HEALTHCARE, WELLNESS, CLINIC, OR OTHER SETTING? Some programs prepare you to work primarily in wellness settings, like wellness centers and low-risk employee health, while others are more appropriate for those in medical settings, like hospitals and health clinics.  Ask if the program prepares you to “coach” primarily in one setting.

#5. WHAT REPUTATION AND CREDIBILITY DOES THE PROGRAM HAVE?  Ask who endorses the program and what entity bestows continuing education credit. 

#6. WHAT IS THE FEEDBACK FROM THOSE HAVING COMPLETED THE PROGRAM?  Ask for testimonials of those who have succeeded in the program you are interested in and who also has similar work and educational background similar to yours. 

#7. WHO ARE THE PRIMARY PURCHASERS OF THE PROGRAM?  Ask who is best suited for your program material; for example, those with college degrees in science, nurses, personal trainers, etc. (Source:

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