Dr Charlotte Hay
What is a Health Coach, and what do they do?
Many people are unclear on what exactly the role of a health coach is, and how they fit into the wider framework of healthcare professionals. Health coaches are different to Dietitians or Nutritionists (although sometimes their roles may overlap in places). So what exactly is a Health Coach there to do?
A health coach is someone who supports you in achieving your health goals; someone who helps you see and overcome the obstacles holding you back from achieving your goals, who champions you and your body’s own healing mechanism. A health coach is kind of like a cheerleader on the side, someone to not only encourage you, but also hold you accountable to your commitments and goals.
They are also there to deeply listen to you and hold space for you – a health coaching session usually lasts around 45 minutes so we have time to really dive into your challenges and build a relationship. In contrast, when you go and see the doctor nowadays, you’re lucky if you get 15 minutes – they simply don’t have the time to ask questions and dig deeper, to ask about your history and what else is going on in your life. As a result (and due to current Western medical culture), they tend to just write you a prescription and send you on your way, rather than really taking time to get to the root cause(s) of your issue(s) and/or discussing all your options with you.
Don’t get me wrong, our Western medical system is great for certain things, namely acute illness, accidents, and emergencies, but it is generally ill-suited to properly addressing chronic long-term conditions (particularly those associated with lifestyle and diet) - which is the vast majority of health concerns nowadays! (From speaking to countless women, there also seems to be a worrying trend, particularly among male doctors but even some female doctors, to dismiss women’s health concerns as ‘hysteria’ or hypochondria, to refuse to recognise hormonal imbalances (besides menopause) as a health condition, and/or to treat hormonal imbalance (including menopause) with anti-depression medication, rather than addressing the underlying cause. This, however, is a much wider problem that I won’t get into now, as I could write a whole thesis!)
A health coach is there to fill in some of these gaps. Ideally a health coach is part of your health ‘team’, made up of a variety of different professionals (chiropractors, osteopaths, GPs, naturopaths, etc.) working collaboratively to help you implement change. Your health coach takes the time to really get to know you and your background, looking holistically at all areas of your life, to help you undercover the root cause(s) of your issues, to help clarify and find ways to overcome the obstacles that are preventing you from achieving your health goals, and to provide you with the tools you need to make lasting change in your life. As a health coach I offer tips and recommendations each session, but my end goal is to help you tune into your own body and what it needs to heal, so that you have the tools to continue and achieve lasting sustainable change long after we’ve finished working together.
If you’re interested in learning more about how health coaching could help you, book in for a free ‘discovery call’ with me, or send me a message to learn more.
Have you had similar experiences with your doctor or healthcare provider? Have you ever heard of a health coach before? Let me know in the comments below!