Secrets to Launching an Effective Wellness Program: Health Coaching
(Third in a series. A personal health improvement plan that includes recommended health coaching classes to address specific health needs is yet another secret to a successful employee wellness program. Last week’s post discussed the importance of building a great communications strategy. Today’s post explores what health coaching can do for your company.)
By Guest Blogger: Terrina Thomas, Director of Health & Preventive Services, Optima Health
What exactly is health coaching? It best described is as a method of guiding others to address their health and, make behavioral changes to improve health or to stay healthy.
Just as the word “coach” implies, health coaches help folks by establishing personal plans to work on over the long-term, discussing challenges, figuring in personal support systems and setting goals. This accountability relationship between the coach and the client focuses on the overall, long-term health of the client, not just on issues for one point in time.
Health coaching has hit the health and prevention market in many different forms. Many employers and health plans are offering telephonic, online and in person health coaching solutions. At Optima Health, we are proud to offer health coaching to our members in all three formats. We offer three formats because we recognize that everyone learns differently, one size does not fit all, and humans naturally love variety!
Anyone who engages with a good health coach will find that the conversation is all about him or her — not the coach, not the company, not his or her spouse, just the individual receiving coaching. There is no judgment when someone has a tough week or misses a goal.
Instead, the coach will take the opportunity to learn why the person missed the goal and strategize a new plan to make the goal more manageable. This interaction is not to replace the advice and direction of a person’s physician, and conversations are not usually very clinical in nature. The health coach will work to find out what is motivating and realistic for their client and devise a plan together to make good changes each day.
You may be thinking this sounds great, but most people are just too busy to work this into their packed schedules. The good news is that health coaching normally does not take more than 20 minutes. Most health coaches have extended hours so people who work or have no time during the day can spend a few minutes on the phone in the evening, often after the family is tucked in for the night. Additionally, online coaching options are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Consider offering this valuable resource to your employees to help keep them healthy. Everyone can benefit, no matter what his or her health or fitness level. Get started on a healthier path with a health coach today. Visit Optima Health Coaching Resources and learn how.
(Next week’s post, the last in this series, will discuss providing employee incentives.)