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Distinguishing the Role of the Health Coach

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>> Hi. Now that we've outlined the key qualities of health and wellness coaching, let's further define what coaching is by comparing and contrasting it with similar related professions and demystifying a couple of common misconceptions. Coaching can sometimes be confused with other roles, such as a consultant, advisor, educator, mentor, or counselor. Often coaching shares overlapping qualities with these other roles but they're also quite different. And this can be confusing for coaches and clients alike. Let's make some distinctions. First, coaching is not education. Our clients only know what they know. And at times, they rely on us to bridge this gap or knowledge deficit around health information. They may need guidance on what's processed versus unprocessed or healthy versus unhealthy for example. But health coaching is different from education. Now some coaches might be like, "Hey, I do workshops, and it's all about health education." But when we're working directly with clients, we need to be able to clarify and distinguish between the formal version of health education and the use of education as a tool. Coaches should do the ladder. What I mean by this is that in coaching, education should be used sparingly and strategically. It's not a knowledge dump. The goal is to selectively share pieces of information with the client's permission to help a particular client move forward with his or her specific goals. To help contrast this difference, consider that formal education is a top-down model. The educator is an expert who shares a wealth of information to the client who's sort of like a passive sponge. Again, to clarify, educating does occur in health coaching, but it's a different type of educating. It's more active and purposeful. As a Health Coach, you want to shift away from always educating and advising to holding back. And this is done to help your clients learn how to facilitate their own change. On that note, health coaching is collaborative and client-focused. If you take away one thing from this course, let it be that. You'll hear us say this over and over again and that's because it's a key point to remember. We don't want to disempower our clients by always putting information on them and pushing our own agenda. Here's another important distinction that's easily confused. Health coaching is not therapy or counseling, it's easy for these lines to get blurred if you don't understand the foundations and scope of these two professions. So if you take a look at counseling here on the left, you'll see that like education, this is a top-down model. The medical model positions the counselor as the expert who knows how to fix the client. Counseling is focused on fixing a problem, the expert provides information. And the goal is to restore the client to a certain level of functioning. In contrast, when we look at health and wellness coaching, it's collaborative. Coaching uses a total learning and self-development model. And that's what's neat about coaching. The client is regarded as the expert on him or herself. And through the process of coaching, they discover from within, what they need to do to grow and achieve their goals. So as the client moves through this process, they may come up with entirely new goals and ideas that were not even on the radar in the first session. That's how self-development happens. Next, counseling has a diagnosis component. It's based in a medical paradigm of pathology. Coaching, on the other hand, is about focusing on a paradigm of possibility. It's forward thinking, instead of looking back and asking what went wrong, we're looking forward and asking what's possible. We're empowering our clients. Coaching focuses on optimal performance rather than trying to fix something that's considered wrong about a person. Counseling is about healing from a pathology, so it's essentially saying, "This person needs to be fixed." Coaching, however, is about building on a person's strengths, discovering what they already do well and bolstering that. Coaching is based on supporting the exploration of a client's health priorities. It's about really learning and prioritizing what a client can focus on and harness. Coaching involves utilizing a lot of "how" questions. There's a focus on present and future and moving toward optimal behavior. In contrast, counseling involves a lot of "why" questions and reflecting on how the past has shaped the present. Another common misconception is that coaching involves always pulling from the past to help shape the future. Doing this may actually interfere at times with an individual's ability to envision the future based on the present. The shift occurs from being forward thinking not looking back in the rearview mirror to see everything that's gone wrong. The fix it mentality that we're trying to avoid is based on past stuff. Instead, coaching involves guiding your client to look to the future to see what they can do moving forward. So while there are some similarities between the two professions, you should now be able to see this key distinction that coaching is very much client lead. It's a collaborative model rather than a top-down model. Next, health coaching is not consulting or advising. Coaching is misperceived as telling others what they should do. And yes, there are times when you need to impart advice and information to your clients. This should be done only when it's what they need to move forward. You shouldn't just be advising your clients every session or else they're just going to be sitting there passively and they won't be learning self-efficacy. The goal is for clients to come up with action steps themselves, not for them to think, "Oh, my Health Coach will tell me what to do." Your role is to walk alongside them, to empower them so that they learn what they need to do, to dig deep within themselves, to think, and to be resourceful. Also, coaching is not a talk with a friend or mentor. This kind of support involves setting examples by drawing and applying from one's own life experiences. This is not what coaching is about. Many times, however, the lines of a Health Coach's scope of practice can easily and innocently become blurred. It's important for coaches to always be aware of their scope of practice, and how these guidelines are shaping their language and behavior. So a theme with these related services, educating, counseling, consulting, and mentoring is that they're rooted in a more authoritative model. This is a key distinction when contrasted with a coaching model. Authoritative models are top-down, meaning that there's an expert distilling information onto the client. The coaching model on the other hand is distinctly collaborative and is more of an egalitarian approach. The coach is a partner. Rather than sharing the correct information, the coach elicits the client's goals and helps them explore an inner process to create change. Authoritative models are externally driven and are guided by correct information, protocols, or behavioral rules. Another key distinction is that authoritative models have a focus on the outcome while coaching is all about tuning into the process. An authoritative helper sets the agenda and directs the session. A good deal of time is spent teaching and supplying answers. In this type of model, the helper is responsible for creating change and the goal is to eliminate problems. Coaches, in contrast, pull the information and answers from the client. And this is what creates the agenda. The coaches' main jobs are to evoke insight, inspire change, hold the client accountable and be supportive. In the process, they help the client identify and tap into their unique strengths. The coach is a guide and an advocate, while the client embarks on a journey of learning and self-discovery. So now that we've taken a look at all the things that health coaching isn't, let's answer the question, what is health coaching? Well, in short, health coaching is about facilitating a process of discovery for the client, where insights and strengths are built and values are clarified, while progress is made and sustained towards the client's goals. Remember that the goals you establish with any client have to be the client's goals. We can't create goals for them. Even I used to do this when I first started out, especially after doing the Health History and they'd say something like, "Okay, so what should I be working on?" I'd get their input, but then I clean it up a bit, present it back to them, and they'd agree. Looking back on this, I can see that I really constructed their goals more than they did. Now I'm like, "Nope, what are your goals?" During this process, in your head, you might be thinking of something like, "Wow, this person really needs to cut out all that processed food or get some more exercise or sleep more." But maybe their goal is I just want to get stronger, and I want to drink more water. When this happens, you have to be like, "Okay, if that's what you want to work on" because here's the thing, over time, you'll be able to start naturally working in some of those other points and bring that stuff in. But if they initially come to you with something else, you have to empower them and follow their lead because that's what's going to keep them motivated. So your response sounds like, "Yes, that's great. Let's get moving on that!" You will always want to stick to what the client wants to do within reason. Later on in the course, we'll talk about what to do when a client has goals that are unhealthy or unethical for us to support them around. Now that we've distinguished coaching from other related helping professions, let's zoom in a bit and take a look at some of the variation within the field of coaching. To help us better understand what Health Coaches actually do, it's helpful to consider that there are many different types of coaches under the general umbrella of coaching. As you'd expect, there are many overlapping qualities across health and wellness coaches and other types of coaching professionals. These include life coaches, business or executive coaches, intuitive or spiritual coaches, relationship coaches, coach-consultants, and coach-psychotherapists. And closely related to health and wellness coaches, there are also nutrition coaches, fitness coaches, and stress management coaches. As you can imagine, while there are elements that create distinctions between these various forms of coaching, their theoretical foundations are quite similar. For example, according to research by Douglas and McCauley, "The aim of executive or life coaching is sustained cognitive, emotional, and behavioral changes that facilitate goal attainment and performance enhancement either in one's work or one's personal life." The health coaching model has been influenced by other coaching models due to their level of proven effectiveness. And this here is a good example. You can see that here too, there's a focus on goals which leads to outcomes and enhance performance. And here also you see the emphasis on the whole person. Coaching is a holistic approach. You should now have a clear picture of the role of a Health Coach and how it differs from that of an educator, counselor, advisor or consultant, mentor, and even other types of coaches. It's important to be able to distinguish the approach, philosophy, and job functions of a health and wellness coach from other related professions. Not only does this bring clear boundaries to the profession, it helps you, the coach, to understand your scope of practice. It also helps your clients understand what they can expect from the coaching relationship. If you're still unclear about any of these role distinctions, be sure to seek our support in your course Facebook group. Thanks, and bye for now.

Video Details

Duration: 12 minutes and 44 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
Genre: None
Views: 5
Posted by: ninaz on Aug 23, 2019

Distinguishing the Role of the Health Coach

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