Health coaching has been recognized as one of the fastest growing careers of the decade and the fastest growing source of employment in our economy. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, health coaching is expected to grow 21.9 percent by 2022.
The medical community recognizes the power and value of health coaching. Dr. Mark Hyman and Dr. Dean Ornish, both well-known thought leaders in the world of health and wellness, believe that “lifestyle medicine” or “lifestyle change” is the future of health care.
COACHING FROM THE SIDELINES
Coaching, however, extends beyond the health field. Today you can find world-class coaches in the disciplines of relationships, business, finance, empowerment, passion and happy living, just to name a few. Lifestyle intervention is the direction in which I began my own career as a coach by helping clients eat real food, make good decisions and be accountable.
“Everyone needs a coach from time to time or even ongoing,” says master trainer, coach and motivational speaker LuAnn Buechler. Buechler explains an ideal coach is “someone outside your close-knit circle, who is impartial and can see beyond your self-limitations.” Buechler is a Passion Test facilitator who helps her clients discern what they are truly passionate about so they can walk the path to living those passions.
Empowerment coach Jennifer Hiscox with Higher Insight Life Coaching Group (HILC) works with clients who seek self-confidence. She encourages self-care and self-love so they can better communicate, be heard and cultivate the relationships they desire. “When I became a coach, I realized that I had to quit being a fixer,” shares Hiscox. “As a coach, our main goal is to see our clients’ progress and, ultimately, success. We don’t give them the answers but ask the questions to draw the answers out of them,” Hiscox explains. “Only then, when they have that ah-ha moment will they truly be ready for change.”
COACHING VS. COUNSELING
Is there a difference between coaching and counseling? Yes, but it’s not that simple. Coaching and counseling or therapy serve specific purposes, but they overlap a fair amount. Both coaches and counselors create a safe and positive space with the intent that it is the vehicle for change. It is important to note that coaches cannot diagnose mental health conditions.
Coaching focuses on the present and the future by helping clients set realistic goals to create the future they long for. Coaches provide support and ask evocative questions to enhance the skills, resources and creativity that the client already possesses, which allows them to function at a higher level.
Counselors may spend more time than coaches examining the past, looking for solutions to emotional and mental health concerns. Unlike coaching, insurance typically covers sessions with a licensed counselor as often their role is to diagnose mental health challenges.
COACHING FOR MEN AND WOMEN
When we look into who seeks counseling, according to the doctors at Gateway Counseling Center of all of the people who are in counseling, only one-third of them are men. Perhaps, it is because men tend not to seek help when they need it for fear of looking weak or being labeled.
Buechler and Hiscox have both worked with men in their coaching programs. Buechler learned that, “it wasn’t until I added the words ‘for business’ to my Passion Test program did men begin to approach me and ask for help.”
Hiscox’s experience working with men is a little different. She feels that the men she coaches are much readier for change than many of the women. “They are empowered to understand why they held people at a distance, which was keeping them from the relationships they wanted,” she explains.
A DIFFERENT APPROACH
Audrey Elegbede, Ph.D., has spent the past 15 years as a disability advocate for families with children who have autism. As a mother of an autistic child, Elegbede understands that counseling is the primary direction for families. “Counseling may not address the distinctive situation each family faces, however, and doesn’t always provide specific techniques to move forward.”
Her recent move to Rochester has allowed Elegbede to try a different approach as a certified coach. Her deep understanding of autism fuels her passion to meet families where they are, and coach them to build the strategies and techniques that will help them alleviate caregiver burnout.
Three things that Elegbede would like us to know about coaching are: It works, trust the process and you will get out of it what you put in.
THE HAPPY LIVING COACH
As The Happy Living Coach, my clients are ready to live their dream life. Rather than
focus on one random goal at a time I encourage them to discover their big picture. What is it that they would really love? Then the goals they set are more attainable and applicable to their result. Not only do they accomplish their goals, they exceed them.
FINDING THE RIGHT COACH
How do you find a coach who is right for you? Here are some tips:
• Get clear on your core values and what success means to you.
• Consider your needs and your goals to decide whether working with a coach or a counselor
right for you.
• Interview a few coaches to ascertain whether there is a good “fit” with the professional’s
personality, approach and values.
• Visit LivingHealthyList.com. Living Healthy List is an online magazine and directory that connects
you with the information and experts you seek in the areas of health and wellness,
relationships, career, personal development, finance and fun.
Denise Stegall is The Happy Living Coach.