What is a Health Coach?
People know what a sports coach is. Most people also have an understanding of life coaching. Health coaching is more specific. It is a path toward optimal well-being–not just being “healthy,” but feeling great about yourself and your life, day after day.
As a coach, I am not here to tell or direct you on what to do, how to be, or where to put your energy. You make the decisions for your life. You choose how to get to your goals. By implementing evidence-backed strategies and methods, I act as a mirror to help you see opportunities that may otherwise have been hidden or blocked from sight. Of course, should you request health information or education that is within my expertise, I am happy to provide insight on those matters, but only with your permission.
What is the difference between Coaching and Therapy?
Coaching focuses on the present and future, helping individuals get from where they are to where they want to be. This involves helping clients to clarify goals and providing support and celebration as they build success. Therapy, on the other hand, focuses on dissecting the fears, traumas, and pain of the past that may affect a person’s behavior in the here and now. Either or both can be useful at various points in one’s life journey. With coaching, clients are offered a safe space to address the emotions, perspectives, and past situations that may have affected their current behavior, but are then guided to look at how their current behavior can be adjusted to serve them better in achieving optimal well-being. In some cases, a therapist and coach will work together to best support a particular individual.
A client recently gave permission to share what she experienced before she met Kirin:
Sandra was excited to see a new doctor who made 18 suggestions for improving her health. She wanted to start them all immediately, but never managed to fit the whole new routine into her day. Some days she would remember the vitamins, but some were supposed to be with food, and some without, and some just once a day, and some twice. She didn’t know where to buy goat butter. Most days she remembered, and enjoyed, the nap after lunch. She stopped eating oatmeal, except when friends came over who were used to having oatmeal at her house; then she would have some with them. Rather than moving toward success, she felt that she was a juggler spinning plates, trying to keep these new instructions all going at once, and never quite getting it right. She became quite discouraged.
How it could be, with a health coach:
At any point on her journey, Sandra could partner with Kirin to work on these 18 goals. They would talk about what Sandra is hoping to accomplish and why it is important to her. They would look at what she thinks is the best place to start, and how much she would be able to do successfully in the first week. Kirin would check to see if Sandra has any concerns about the changes she is choosing to make, and would ask if she would like any additional support, such as a checklist of reminders for each day, or information about where to get goat milk or other ingredients that are new to her. The next time they meet, Kirin and Sandra will discuss what worked well and what needs to be adjusted. At each step of the way, Sandra can feel secure, knowing that Kirin will be helping her to move forward toward Sandra’s own goals, whether that means “propping her up” or “cheering her on.”
Julio prided himself on staying young and fit. It was a shock when his doctor recommended that he make some urgent changes in order to get his blood pressure under control. Medication was one option, but Julio wanted to avoid it if possible. The doctor wanted Julio to decrease some of the foods he had always enjoyed, but Julio heard it as, “You must never eat those “bad” things again.” Kirin listened to Julio’s volatile reaction and helped him to look at one thing at a time.
After his emotions settled down, she helped him to find alternative foods that he could enjoy, and celebrated each new success with him. She also helped him to think realistically about what he wanted his not-so-young body to be able to do both short- and long-term. He realized that by adjusting his physical activities, he could be confident about his health and well-being for years to come. His blood pressure was soon within a healthy range, and he was able to enjoy his old favorites again–with moderation.
Joellen is facing a dilemma. She has noticed that her clothes are getting tighter, and bending over to pick things up off the floor is not as easy as it was a few months ago.
- Will she buy bigger clothes, telling herself that her jeans must have shrunk in the wash?
- Will she join a yoga class to get her flexibility back?
- Will she tell herself that this is to be expected at her age, so she might as well just accept it?
- Will she talk to her doctor about what to do? Could there be a change in her body that needs to be addressed?
- Will she realize that her choices shape her future?
Kirin can help her to look ahead and make sure that her current choices are creating the future that she wants.
What do you really want? And what within you is stopping you?