Health coaching, also known as health counseling, health education, and wellness coaching is a valuable service that has been proven to improve health outcomes in patients with a variety of lifestyle-related diseases or conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes. Before choosing a health coach, be sure to ask them questions about their board certification, career experiences, methods of working with clients, and payment options among other things.
If you are considering hiring a health coach, there are many questions you might have before working with them. To start, consider asking the following:
What is your health background?
Coaches will typically be health practitioners, often including physical therapists, medical doctors, registered nurses, or other health professionals. This only matters because it means that they likely have an understanding of health problems and health behaviors that can help you improve your health status.
What education do you have in health coaching?
This education will vary depending on the certification method used by the coach. However, most coaches will have at least some level of training on how to apply lifestyle changes using behavior change strategies. The more education they have received in coaching methods and specific health topics, the more health coaching experience the coach likely has.
How do you plan on working with me?
Some coaches will simply provide health education and then be there to help guide your changes. Other health coaches may take a behavior change approach, using health goals as an incentive for incorporating new health behaviors into daily routines. Or some health coaches might use other methods altogether. Be sure to find out what this coach does so that you can expect them to act during your sessions together.
Where are your main practice areas?
This is important because it means that they work in places where they see the health problems caused by these health conditions regularly, which makes them especially knowledgeable about how to apply lifestyle improvements to improve those health problems. Health issues common in these places are diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and smoking.
What health coaching methods do you use?
Different health coaches will have different health coaching methods that they feel work best with their clients. Find out ahead of time if the health coach has a method that matches your style of learning or goal for health coaching. There are many health coaching methods to choose from so it can be helpful to know what these are in advance before choosing a health coach.
How frequently should I expect to meet with you?
Some health coaches will tell you to stop meeting once your health problem improves but others will recommend continuing meetings even after healthy habits are formed. Knowing this information is important because it will help you decide whether or not working with this health coach is worth the time and money.
How do I pay for health coaching?
Health coaches will often use a combination of health coaching payment methods such as health insurance, health spending accounts (HSA or FSA), and direct out-of-pocket payments. Be sure to understand health coaching billing and payment options before choosing a health coach.
Do you have testimonials from past clients? Can I contact some of them?
This is important because it means that other people who might be in a similar situation as you found success with this health coach. Previous client testimonials can help you feel more confident about hiring this health coach. You may also get an idea about how readily they respond to your questions or concerns if they provide previous client contact information.
What does health coaching cost?
Health coaches may have different health coaching costs depending on the health coach’s location, health background, education, and health coaching methods used. It is important to consult with health coaches about health coaching costs before hiring them because it will help you figure out their value compared to others in the market. You can also get an idea of what kind of value you are receiving by asking whether or not they provide a free initial session for new clients.
How long should I expect to work with you?
Different health coaches may have different health coaching timeframes based on the health conditions treated, type of health problems faced, and types of health changes incorporated into daily routines. Generally speaking, 1-3 months is enough time to see health changes but health coaches may recommend continuing health coaching past the initial timeline if deeper health changes are needed. Asking this question will help you decide whether or not the health coach is the right fit for your health needs.
Can The VIOS Clinic Help Me Connect with a Doctor to be My Health Coach?
It takes a unique set of skills to be an effective health coach, but it’s worth the investment. If you are looking for someone who is board-certified and has experience working with clients in your particular situation, we can help. We provide comprehensive family medicine services that include wellness coaching along with treatment of acute and chronic illnesses including diabetes management, high blood pressure control, and weight loss counseling.
Visit our Family Medicine Dept today, join our concierge membership plans and schedule your appointment with your own personal health coach.
Dr. Ismail Sayeed
Dr. Sayeed is the Medical Director of ViOS, Inc. He is a deeply committed physician entrepreneur & medical blog writer. While building the global infrastructure of the VIOS Clinic, he is dedicated to educate people on the potential of specialist telemedicine for managing chronic diseases.
Read more about him in his author bio