What even is a health coach? If you’ve been around the integrative medicine or wellness industry in the last few years, health coaching has become a popular addition to a well-rounded medical support system. But what do health coaches even do?
Many people have never worked with a health coach before, or even know what health coaches do, or what kind of impact they can have on their care. Let’s dive into that a bit and really explore how important a health coach can be in elevating your patient experience (from me, a certified health coach).
What’s a health coach anyway?
A health coach is a trained expert in the field of nutrition and overall well-being, who offers clients well-rounded guidance for improving their health. Health coaches focus on the whole person, meaning and everything that affects you, including diet, stress, relationships, work, physical activity, spirituality, and more.
That’s why you’ll often see the words “integrative” or “holistic” in a health coach’s title. Instead of simply looking at the basics of your life to provide generalized diagnoses and advice, health coaches are trained to look into your sleep, diet, lifestyle habits, and more to get to the root cause of issues you may be struggling with—chronic or not. A good health coach takes a 360 degree approach to wellness, to provide the highest quality of care to patients.
What role does a health coach play in patients’ care?
Health coaches empower patients to figure out the “why” behind their goals, explore the motivations behind these goals, and guide patients to take steps to get super clear on their goals in order to achieve them. Learning these skills allows patients to make long-term, sustainable changes that will last a lifetime.
Holding a safe space for patients to be able to express their frustrations and celebrate their wins is also key role for health coaches. Health coaches walk alongside their patients in whatever journey they’re on without judging them, making them feel inadequate, or trying to ‘fix’ them.
When a health coach holds space for someone, they open their hearts, offer unconditional support and let go of judgmental control. This allows patients to go at their own pace and explore ideas in a safe space.
Health coaches are also accountability partners that patients can rely on to help keep them on track with their progress, reassess goals and make changes whenever necessary. Having such a customized approach is crucial for patient success!
In summary, I like to explain the concept of a health coach to patients as someone who will hold your hand and be your partner on your health journey. Need help translating that 3-page treatment plan into digestible, actionable, prioritized steps? Want to get support on which things to do first, if you can’t do them all at once? Your health coach is here to help.
How you can experience health coaching at MIMC
MIMC has a membership model that is really nice for patients to feel they have a whole team taking care of them as they navigate their health journey. A new piece to that membership model is health coaching sessions.
I have recently joined MIMC as their new health coach and I am thrilled to be working with amazing practitioners and patients. The core values of MIMC align so well with my personal values around health and wellness and it is truly an honor to be working with like-minded practitioners who care about their patients’ well being and prioritize personalized care. The integrative medicine approach is becoming more mainstream nowadays and it is so beautiful to see patients lean more towards this model of healthcare.
It is such an honor and privilege to be able to serve my patients as a health coach. I truly love my job and am energized by my patients. As a part of a team of Naturopathic doctors, I feel that patients are well taken care of and prioritized as individuals, not just patients of our practice. I hope to be able to serve you soon and have the pleasure of walking with you on your journey!
Marwa Ismail, Health Coach, uses her training from Institute for Integrative Nutrition and MindBodyGreen to empower patients in making sustainable lifestyle changes to better their health & wellness.