How Health Coaching Makes You a Winner

by : Lynn Smith

With the coaching field expanding so widely, there are now a lot of specialty coaches out there. One field that is growing is the area of health coaching. How do you go about choosing a coach that can help you reach your goals? What should you be looking for? There are two key elements in choosing a health coach that greatly affect your ability to succeed. Those keys are the use of baby steps and they psychology of change.

Baby Steps

Baby steps are a key component to successful health coaching. What are baby steps and how do they work? Baby steps are very small changes used to develop new health habits. For example, let's say your goal is to have a more active lifestyle. You've gained some weight and are not currently doing any type of exercise. A baby step for you might be to take a twenty minute walk during the week. Sounds ridiculously simple, doesn't it? It's supposed to. How likely do you think you can achieve that goal? Quite likely, right?

Now let's take a look at a different goal you could set for the same situation. You decide to combat your sedentary lifestyle by joining a health club. Your goal is classes three times a week. How likely do you feel you can achieve that goal? What if work is very hectic and the kids have extra curricular activities? Could you do three classes in that week? How about in the following week? Could you do three classes then? If you are like most people with health club memberships, eventually it falls out of your schedule. But if your goal was one twenty minute walk a week, even if work was crazy and the kids needed you, do you think you could still work it in?

Baby steps do something very important for you. Psychologically, it sets you up with a winning attitude. The goals may start out very simple but they're designed to set you up for success. Think back to that health club membership. How did you feel when you didn't go to that class? Did you feel good about yourself? Did guilt start to settle in? Every time you achieve a goal, it's an affirmation that you are a success. It's empowering. After using baby steps for a while you feel you can move on to a more substantial goal. Baby steps make you a winner. After all, what would you rather do, beat yourself up or give yourself a pat on the back?

Psychology of Change

A second key element to choosing a health coach is the psychology of change. Researchers have shown that there is a very distinct process to creating lasting change. In fact, there are six psychological stages to change. When this process isn't implemented, it's hard to achieve lasting change. A good example of this is rehab programs. When a person enters a rehab program they immediately must stop using alcohol or drugs. Seems like a good idea, right? But if it is, how come so many people end up going through rehab multiple times? Answer: the psychological stages of change weren't implemented. The action stage doesn't come until stage four. These people need to be guided through the first three stages before they can be successful at stage four.

That's how it goes with you, too, and your health goals. We frequently rush to take action before we are ready and then we fail. To give yourself the best advantage in achieving your goals, when you are looking for a health coach, be sure to use one knowledgeable in the psychology of change and the use of baby steps. A good way to learn more about a particular coach is to have a free session. Most coaches offer a complimentary session for this very reason.