What is Health Coaching?

According to Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_coaching

Definitions of “Health Coaching” from various sources:

W. Miller & S. Rollnick Health coaching has emerged as a fresh, new approach that guides physicians and clinicians (e.g. registered nurses, therapists, social workers, etc.) to use the patient’s agenda to enhance compliance with healthy behaviors, to prevent exacerbations of chronic illness, and to support lifestyle change.

The term “health coaching” has emerged from the motivational interviewing (MI) concept originated by Drs. William Miller and Stephen Rollnick. They first tested this clinical method in 1983 as a brief intervention for individuals with problem drinking. Miller and Rollnick have since conducted numerous clinical trials, written hundreds of articles, and authored countless books on this concept.

Palmer, Tubbs, & Whybrow [1] describe health coaching as the practice of health education and health promotion within a coaching context to enhance the well-being of individuals and to facilitate the achievement of their health related goals.

Duke University Center for Integrative Medicine, USA [2] explains that health coaching is a structured, supportive partnership between the participant and the coach that effectively motivates behavior change.

Rollnick, Mason, & Butler [3]* describes health coaching as a directive, client-centered counseling style for eliciting behavior change by helping individuals explore and resolve ambivalence.

Dr. Michael Arloski [4]* describes health or wellness coaching as the application of the principals and processes of professional life coaching applied to the goals of lifestyle improvement for higher levels of wellness.

Health coaching may also be referred to as motivational interviewing in a healthcare context.

* For references and more detailed information please go to the Wikipedia link


Demystifying the difference between Certified Health Coaches (CHC) and Certified Wellness Coaches (CWC)

Demystifying the difference between Certified Health Coaches and Certified Wellness Coaches

According to two American Organizations, the National Society of Health Coaches and WellCoaches®, a Certified Health Coach is a healthcare professional (e.g. physician, registered nurse, licensed mental health provider, social worker, etc.) who has studied coaching and passed the health coaching certification exam.

A Certified Wellness Coach is a professional (e.g. certified personal trainers, registered yoga instructors, etc.) who has studied coaching and passed the wellness coaching certification exam.


Coaches Articles & Abstracts (Peer-Reviewed Journals) on Health Coaching

After presenting a teleseminar on evidence-based health coaching to Asia Pacific Alliance Coach (APAC) members the opportunity came up to write an article in their monthly newsletter about the similarities of health coaching to other types of coaching. Also discussed are the differences between health coaching and health teaching. Here is an excerpt from that article:

Healthy Mindset, Healthy Body

by Julie Chiu, RN, MS, CHC, IC

The Coaching Voice of Asia Pacific
June 2011
Vol. 3 • Issue 3 • Pages 4-5

In many ways health coaching is similar to other types of coaching through guiding clients to their desired goals. But the emphasis is on prevention and management of disease through self discovery and empowerment leading to effective self-management of lifestyle and health decisions.

Professional coaches believe their clients have the inner wisdom to know what they want, and they work from a client-centered approach using a ‘guiding’ method. However, health care professionals (doctors, nurses, social workers, physical therapists, nutritionists, etc.) have been trained in an acute care model where patients are told information in a directing, “do as I say” approach.

This approach has been quite successful when it comes to acute health conditions or procedures such as post-surgical recovery (eg. “Whenever you cough or sneeze hold your pillow against the stitches on your chest so it won’t hurt as much”. “This is how you change your wound dressing” etc.).

But has this traditional approach been as helpful for patients with chronic diseases (obesity, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, stroke)? Has “telling” patients,“You need to quit smoking, exercise more and eat healthier, slower and more mindfully” really helped change behavior?

Health coaches believe people are more willing to embrace change when it comes from within them rather than from someone telling them they need to change.

For full article go to pages 4 and 5 of this link.


The following was written by my health coach mentor, Melinda Huffman. I am honored to post it here. Great job, Melinda!

Title: Health Coaching: A Fresh, New Approach to Improve Quality Outcomes and Compliance for Patients with Chronic Conditions

By: Melinda Huffman, BSN,MSN,CCNS,CHC
Email: melinda@nshcoa.com

Home Healthcare Nurse
September 2009
Volume 27 Number 8 Pages 490 – 496

Health coaching, its origin from motivational interviewing, enhances patient self-management of chronic conditions by improving patient compliance and outcomes, and reducing costs. How health coaching has achieved this success and why traditional patient teaching has fallen short is explored. Dr. William Miller, an originator of the motivational interviewing concept, also shares his insights and thoughts in a brief question and answer session with the author.

For entire paper please click here to contact Home Health Care Nurse for archived document.


Title: Health Coaching: A New and Exciting Technique to Enhance Patient Self-Management and Improve Outcomes

By: Melinda Huffman, BSN,MSN,CCNS,CHC
Email: melinda@nshcoa.com

Home Healthcare Nurse
April 2007
Volume 25 Number 4 Pages 271-274

Health coaching is quickly emerging as a new approach of partnering with patients to enhance self-management strategies for the purpose of preventing exacerbations of chronic illness and supporting lifestyle change. Medicare is now pilot testing this approach for patients with congestive heart failure and diabetes. With acute care hospitalization an outcome of great interest to us all, health coaching is an exciting technique worthy of consideration by home health providers.

For entire paper please click here to contact Home Health Care Nurse for archived document.


Coaching: Working from the Patient/Consumer’s Agenda!

By: Melinda Huffman, BSN,MSN,CCNS,CHC
Email: melinda@nshcoa.com

Abstract: Our traditional “do as I say” approach in health teaching has not been effective across the board in helping individuals change unhealthy behaviors. How health coaching works from the patient’s agenda, rather than our own, is explored.

Our traditional approach has been centered primarily on the provision of health teaching and education directed “at” the patient/member/consumer or their family. Historically, it has been our role as a clinician and practitioner to give facts and information that helps someone achieve optimal health, wellness or recovery. It’s been described as a “Do these things” type of approach.

Funnel (2000) points out that our traditional system of healthcare has typically been based on the acute care model, where the patient presents to the physician and the physician tells him or her what to do to get better. It is a ”do as I say” model of care, with the patient’s role being fairly passive.
Goals documented on the patient’s treatment plan are often generated according to a diagnosis or condition. We readily provide information appropriate to this diagnosis that includes disease process, medication dose and side effects; diet, emergency contact information, exercise program, and risk factors to name a few.
Clinicians generally offer facts, advice and solutions, rather than engaging the individual to discover their own reasons and readiness for health behavior change. She goes on to say that while this model is appropriate for acute care, it doesn’t work well in chronic illness. Nor has it seemed particularly effective in guiding someone to adopt more healthy behavior; as evidenced by the increasing incidence of diabetes, obesity, and hypertension.

Health coaching by contrast has a focus on special issues and concerns that are unique to individuals that fit into the context of their lives. Health coaching gives healthcare providers a framework to reach out to individuals by determining what issues, beliefs, values and concerns may hinder or support the lifestyle change or responsibility for health that lies ahead.
The reason for health behavior change is held by the individual. Unless we as health practitioners drill down and help the individual “discover” the ambivalence that so often exists in many of us, health behavior change may not occur.
For many people, it’s their ambivalence toward health behavior change that seems to be problematic; ambivalence that interferes with one’s ability and motivation to “stay on a particular diet” or “to take a brisk walk most days of the week”.
We must first determine what is important to the individual. To begin, we can simply ask, “What is the most important concern you have today about your health and well-being?”

The goal of health coaching is to uncover this ambivalence and help the individual (coachee) move forward! To achieve this, we must do more listening and less talking. Stephen Covey has said, “Seek first to understand, then be understood.”

Funnell. M.M. (2000). Helping patients take charge of their chronic illnesses. American Academy of Family Physicians. Retrieved from: www.aafp.org/fpm/20000300/47help.html

©2010 Melinda H. Huffman

All rights reserved. No portion of this material may be reproduced in any form without the advance written permission of the author (permission was granted).

Please visit us at www.nshcoa.com (mention Group ID# 369643 in shopping cart). You’re invited to join our LinkedIn Discussion Group and network with others interested in health coaching ideas, experiences, and news, as well as share job opportunities!


Find Coach Support Here in Hong Kong

Find Coach Support Here in HK

Did you know there’s other types of coaching here in Hong Kong besides Health Coaching?   There’s:

* Business Coaching * Career Coaching * Communications Coaching Cultural and Relocation Coaching * Divorce Coaching * Entrepreneur Coaching * Executive Coaching * Fearless Coaching * Finance Coaching * Fitness Coaching * Image Coaching * Leadership Coaching * Life Coaching * Lifestyle Coaching * NLP Based Coaching * Ontological Coaching * Parent Coaching * Performance Coaching * Relationship Coaching * Sales Coaching * Spiritual Coaching * Teen Coaching

Visit HKICC’s (Hong Kong International Coaching Community) website to view events,the coach directory and so much more.



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Julie talking about Mindfulness