Employers are always looking for new and innovative ways to help employees improve health, reduce costs associated with employees’ health conditions, and improve morale. Integrating health and wellness coaching into an existing health promotion program may be one way to achieve these goals. Health and wellness coaching is a partnership between a certified health and wellness coach and an individual or group of people with the objective of achieving some type of health or wellness goal. Coaching has been traditionally used in patient-care settings, but is gaining popularity as a way to reduce health care cost for employers.
Types of coaching
Coaching can be delivered in a variety of ways. The most common delivery methods are telephonic, face-to face, and internet-based coaching. The good news is that all methods seem to be effective at promoting behavior changes! It can also be delivered one-to-one or in small groups.
What are people talking about with coaches?
Health and wellness coaching is a client-driven process that is customized based on individual needs. Coaching is effective in changing attitudes and behaviors related to a variety of health issues. Some of the hot topics that are being discussed with coaches are: exercise/physical activity, obesity/weight management, cholesterol management, diet/nutrition, preventative screening, stress, and tobacco cessation.
Linking to existing programs
Coaching can be integrated into existing health promotion and health protection programs that are important to the structure and culture of the employer. A few ways employers are offering coaching to employees is through: health benefits plan offerings (e.g., coaches are provided by insurance company), independent vendors specializing in health promotion services and through on-site staff dedicated to health promotion activities. Coaching may also enhance the effects of other health improvement programs (e.g., ergonomics and safety training, tobacco cessation and weight loss programs) offered by employers.
Impact of coaching
Coaching as a way to improve health is applicable to people of different gender, age, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, and employment situations. Recent research also shows that health and wellness coaching has a positive effect on employees’ physical and mental health, both of which play a role in chronic diseases and workplace injuries.
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