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This site is an archive of our Well Written Blog posts until April 2020. For the most up-to-date content visit NWIJournal.com.

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Who are Health Coaches?

Posted By Samantha Diedrich, Monday, July 15, 2019

Health coaches—or wellness coaches, are wellness professionals. The buzz words, "Health Coach", are heard almost daily now; from worksite wellness programs to health and fitness clubs, social media groups, and nutrition stores. Health coaches wear multiple hats and come from a broad spectrum of health and wellness backgrounds.

The one thing a health coach will not do is tell you what to do.

The role of a health coach is to assist their client through the stages of change by setting SMART goals with their client. Health coaches work with people to overcome barriers and help their clients celebrate small successes. Goal setting is the fundamental backbone of health coaching. When you set a goal with a health coach, the coach becomes your ally in your personal wellness journey. Health Coaches will help motivate you, keep you accountable, as well as provide feedback and ideas when needed. The one thing health coaching will not do is tell you what to do. Health coaching is not a “tell me my plan and what to do to meet my goal” kind of experience. It is specifically there to work with clients to find the goals that mean the most to them and work past the barriers that may come up along the way. Coaches are also there to be the clients' first source of accountability; eventually decreasing that need along the goal pathway.

Health coaches are there to help people create lifestyle changes by accomplishing goals that last. Through behavior change, the coach will help figure out what has made their client struggle in the past and plan to overcome that challenge in the future. The health coach can bring ideas to the table, but the client always has the floor as to what will—or won't—work for them.

Health coaches are more than just a trend in wellness, they are here to stay. Health coaches are wellness professionals who are trained in behavioral change, motivational interviewing, and working with people to achieve and celebrate personal goals. Many health coaches work in worksite wellness and business health career fields. They tend to come from different areas of expertise, such as clinical exercise physiologists, registered dietitians, personal trainers, and/or have college degrees in health, fitness, exercise science, or wellness promotion. health coach with clientHealth coaches may also have other wellness credentials, such as the National Wellness Institute Certified Wellness Practitioners, CHES, Nutrition Specialists, and/or Personal Trainers. Health coaches have a wide span of expertise, which helps clients across a broad spectrum of wellness issues. This enables coaches to work with clients in various areas to create a plan that is individualized for each client.

Many employers now require that health coaches hold a certification to call themselves health coaches, but not all health coaches are certified. The science of wellness is still evolving, and as with many aspects of wellness, proceed with caution as a consumer. Most states will allow anyone to call themselves a health coach, whether they have been trained as a health coach or not. Some “health coaches” may not have a degree in health and wellness, let alone training in behavior change. As a health and wellness consumer, make sure your health coach has proper evidence-based training in behavior change, motivational interviewing, and wellness before you commit to their programming.

If you are an aspiring health coach, do your research and look for evidence-based certifications. The best health coaching certifications will contain a classroom component, case study review, written exam, and practical exams. The practical exam is an essential component to health coaching and learning to apply motivational interviewing skills to client sessions. Many wellness employers—especially in the health care setting, are looking for certified health coaches to add to their staff. To make yourself marketable as an emerging wellness professional, obtaining a health coaching certification is a new job skill requirement found in most wellness job descriptions. If you are passionate about exercise, nutrition, stress, mental health, etc., work toward finding accreditation for that passion. This will help you strive in coaching as well as make you an ideal candidate for future employers.


Samantha Diedrich, MS, CWPSamantha Diedrich, MS, CWP, is a Certified Wellness Practitioner and Health Coach with Aspirus Business Health - Wellness. She is passionate about engaging business partners and clients to improve their lives through health and happiness. She is a member of the National Wellness Institute's Emerging Wellness Professional task force.


Tags:  Coaching  Emerging Wellness Professional  Health Coach  Wellness Coach  Wellness Professional 

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Keys to Thriving: Why Burnout Cannot Only Be Treated

Posted By Chuck Gillespie, Monday, July 8, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Burnout has been classified as an occupational phenomenon by the World Health Organization (WHO). Just to be clear, occupation is defined as a job or profession. For some, that profession might be unpaid like caregiver or stay-at-home parent.

How is burnout resolved?Burnout occurs when physical strength, emotional strength, and/or motivation has reached a level of complete exhaustion, usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration. The issue of burnout goes beyond a treatment and diagnosis discussion. Certainly, understanding burnout is important and providing help is essential, but what strategies can be deployed to create a thriving environment at work or at home to reduce chances of burnout? What are employers, family members, friends, or you doing to determine how burnout occurs? Is it environmental or is it the culture of their workplace? Is it homelife? Maybe it is self-inflicted. Research shows a high percentage of people are disengaged at work and at home. Gallup’s Global Emotions Report indicates a high number of angry and unhappy people. These are statistics that should trigger action; but what are those actions?

Plenty of people will be happy to sell you a one-size-fits-all reactive program that promises high investment returns and allows the employer to check the box that they are doing something. A simple-to-implement-and-administer program might help individuals with burnout, but it will not solve the inherent problem. You are helping those people who have already burned-out—not resolving the reason it is occurring. Action like this is like fixing an oil leak in your car by adding more oil. It is easy to do, and you can say you are reacting to the problem. It is better than ignoring the problem altogether, but the problem still exists.

Enter your wellness strategy. How is burnout resolved? Ignoring it not the answer but is usually the course of action for many. It begins with looking at your environment and what can be done to make changes in the short-term and long-term. Are there opportunities to delegate workloads or allocate new methods that are more efficient? Are there ways to simplify the work? What training and education is available? These are all questions each individual, each employer, and each community must really analyze before taking action. But how do we go from burnout to thriving?

2019 National Wellness ConferenceConsider attending the 44th Annual National Wellness Conference (NWC), October 1-3, 2019, in Kissimmee, Fla., where more than 90 presenters will share keys to thriving in all Six Dimensions of Wellness. For even more ways to prevent burnout, come early and attend one of the National Wellness Institute’s Certificate courses focused on Resilience, Elements of Thriving, Worksite Wellness, or Financial Wellness. Through your participation in NWC 2019, you will discover simple ways to make changes to daily routines, and gain valuable tools and connections, so that burnout does not become an occupational hazard for you and the populations you serve.

Learn more about NWC 2019 and find additional wellness resources and trainings at NationalWellness.org.


Chuck Gillespie is Executive Director of the National Wellness Institute.


Tags:  burnout  Coaching  Keys to Thriving  National Wellness Conference  resilience  thriving 

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Integrated Health and Wellness Coaching makes its inroads in India for Lifestyle Disease management, prevention and wellbeing.

Posted By Preeti Rao, Friday, January 4, 2019
Updated: Tuesday, May 7, 2019

To truly live a life without disease and fear, one must aspire to achieve perfect health in mind, body, and spirit. This is a cherished belief of many of the Indian population. However, today we try to race ahead of the clock, we are under the constant stress of trying to achieve more and bigger things. The aspiration to acquire things never ends, and it seems like one endless battle for more and more and more! We have forgotten what our scriptures have taught us! If our ancestors were alive today, what advice would they give us to recover from our constant battle with disease and stress?

In Sushruta Samita (Ayurvedic compilation), a healthy person is defined as:“Sama Dosha Sama Agni Cha Sama Dhatu Mala Kriya I Prasanna Atma Indriya Manaha Swastha Thi II” Hence a person is in the state of perfect health when all the Doshas (various energies that govern all the functions of the body — Vata, Pitta and Khapha) are in balance. The mind is blissful and happy and our senses are in control.

Health and Wellness Coaching aims at providing consciousness of self — becoming self-aware of how an individual can become the controller of his/her life. This involves regarding self as a component which is not just defined by the physical self, but rather an amalgam of components like nutrition, exercise, spirit, recreation, social belongingness, stress, and emotions. Coaching as an approach will help individuals achieve the perfect health that is perfect according to them.

It is now believed that many diseases — high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, overweight, chronic fatigue, depression, burnt-out syndrome, and psychiatric illness —manifest from the mind. The art of getting over the mindless chatter or developing the skills required to have control over the emotions or thoughts that cause this chatter is what coaching proposes to offer.

Swami Sivananda rightly said, “A mountain is composed of tiny grains of earth. The ocean is made up of tiny drops of water. Even so, life is but an endless series of little details, actions, speeches, and thoughts. And the consequences whether good or bad of even the least of them are far-reaching.” There has been significant scientific research which directs us to this fact. For instance, ulcers happen to people who are compulsive and obsessive in nature. Impotence and sexual problems are almost always due to performance anxiety, and accidents happen most often to people who are habitually prone to them because they are absent-minded. One must thus conclude that if we could control our minds or be aware of our thoughts or thinking patterns, we can change our overall wellbeing.

 

“Thinking of disease constantly will intensify it. People should aim to feel always that ‘I am healthy in body and mind’.”

Swami Sivananda

 

Coaching works through an understanding of the underlying thoughts and perceptions that govern us, and taking effective actions towards an attempt to shift individual mindsets from negative to positive. Coaches help to interconnect and relate the inner self to the outer self by creating a vision that pushes one to take action to move forward on the path that has been created by self to reach goals driven by intrinsic motivation.

This holistic approach to wellbeing is truly the need of the hour. Health and Wellness Coaching finds it inroads in the Wellness Landscape in India today. The industry and general population is waking up to the need of an integrated approach to wellbeing and lifestyle disease management and prevention. In the last two months, I had the opportunity to speak at and attend many conferences focused on Healthcare. While there was a lot of focus on artificial intelligence and digitizing healthcare, a new wave is emerging of industry thought leaders who are beginning to understand and bring to focus the need for sustainable lifestyle habit change. Corporations, insurance companies, and hospitals are beginning to realize the impact health and wellness coaching can have on individual health outcomes and quality of life. I believe the year 2019 will see this trend cement itself in programs that keep in focus all the dimensions of wellness as defined by the National Wellness Institute

While the wellness industry begins its awakening, the grim realities are that there aren’t many credible health and wellness coaches in the Indian market. The market perceives a nutritionist, dietician, or a fitness trainer as a health coach because there is a lack of understanding of who really is a health and wellness coach. For the last two years, Weljii, an evidence-based coaching provider, in collaboration with California Institute of Integral Studies, USA, has conducted six certificate programs that meet all the standards put forth by the International Consortium of Health and Wellness Coaches, USA. Unlike in the West, it’s fascinating to see many medical doctors embrace this program. Today, (70-80)% of all hospital visits in India are due to lifestyle diseases. This provides an incentive for many doctors to take up this program to assist their patients in lifestyle modifications, something their formal training does not cover. Many graduates of this program are now developing their own unique models. 

Weljii is continously expanding its team of coaches to service the market needs. In the last 3-4 years, much effort has been contributed to create awareness and educate the Indian market on this evidenced-based approach to health and wellbeing. Weljii today is the National Wellness Coach Partner for Reliance Jio (a leading telecom company consisting of 100 million subscribers), Aspire (a leading concierge company), SBI Elite (A leading Bank) and Max Hospitals (a leading super speciality hospital). This is just a beginning. It is anticipated that a new wave of energy will transform into an ocean of wellbeing harnessed by integrative wellbeing and wellness coaching, while continuing to provide quality education for talent and skill creation. Welcome 2019!


Preeti RaoAfter ten years in the corporate world, Preeti Rao decided to pursue her passion for spreading wellness by graduating with a master’s degree in Integrative Health from CIIS in the United States. She is a certified wellness coach, yoga teacher, group exercise specialist, personal trainer, and business consultant whose mission is to provide health and wellness services that encourage self-care and self-responsibility in mind, body, and spirit through a range of integrated health modalities in India.


Tags:  Coaching  holistic health  Integrated Health and Wellness Coaching  International Wellness  Preeti Rao  wellness 

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How To Tell If A Wellness Coach Is Qualified

Posted By NWI, Tuesday, March 7, 2017

You may have heard that a wellness coach can help you sustain lifestyle changes to reach your health and wellness goals. Your employer may provide coaching services in partnership with your health insurance or employee wellness program. Or, you may have seen a local entrepreneur offering coaching services in your community. But how to you know which to choose? Are they all the same? Which one is right for you? Wellness coaching is unregulated and coaches may have very different levels of training. However, many visionary leaders are striving to change this and working toward certification standards for wellness coaches. In the meantime, experts offer their advice on how to find a qualified coach in this Women’s Health article. Qualities of a good coach include working with your doctor, a drive to help you reach your own personalized goals, and an energizing approach.

Tags:  Coaching  March 2017  Wellness 

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Wellness in 10: 10 Ways to Get More Summer Out of Your Summer

Posted By NWI, Monday, July 11, 2016

It almost feels like cheating, writing about how to stay active in July. The weather is warm, the days are long, and people practically vibrate with the urge to get outside.  So that’s why this month we’re going to go a step further and make some suggestions on how to maximize your time outside, so you can squeeze every bit of summer out of your summer.

 

 

 

1.     Pack a laptop

 

This one may seem obvious, but if you have the ability to take your computer outside, take it outside! Screen glare aside, it’s been shown that spending time around trees and green space makes people more calm and relaxed. Retreating to a picnic table or bench outside, even for a few minutes, can have a significant impact on your day.

 

 

2.     Camp

 

Want to make a commitment to being outside? Do it for a whole weekend (or more)! Many of us feel like camping can be more work than its worth, but with national forest, national parks, and campsites all over the country, there’s sure to be one near home where you can escape for a bit, and run back for supplies if you need to – or if an errant thunderstorm pops up! Here’s a nation-wide directory of campsites so you can plan where you want to go next.

 

 

3.     Walking meetings

 

Meetings can be super boring – nobody is going to argue that. Liven them up and get your fresh air at the same time by taking it on the road. A 30 minute meeting/walk will let you bond with your teammates while engaging your minds and getting you out from behind another Powerpoint presentation.  If it’s a phone meeting, grab your Bluetooth headset and hike while you talk. We won’t tell.

 

 

4.     Bike Commute

 

Commuting by bike is intimidating to a lot of people. It seems dangerous. It takes longer. What do you do when you show up to work all sweaty? The truth is that bike commuting does take more planning, like packing extra clothes and watching the weather forecast, but it’s also a fantastic way to sneak in a workout or two into a day, and – if you plan your route to avoid car traffic – can be incredibly relaxing and fun! You don’t need a ton of gear, either. A bike, a helmet, and a backpack are usually all you need to get started.  Here are some pro-tips from long-time bike commuters to help set you on the right track.

 

 

5.     Stand-Up Paddleboard

 

Many of us have heard of Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP for short) by now, but for those who haven’t, it’s an activity where you stand on a floating board, like a surfboard, but on still water, and you use a long-handled paddle to propel yourself forward. In addition to being fun, it also takes balance and muscle control to stay upright. It’s tough at first, but not so tough that you can’t get the hang of it. If you want a different way to explore your local lakes and streams, consider finding a SUP rental near you and giving it a shot.

 

 

6.     Row-row-row your boat

 

For those of you who think Paddleboarding is a bit too much to jump into, but still want to spend time on the water, consider eschewing the motorboat for a more traditional method. Rowing a boat is great exercise for your shoulders, back and core, and can be a great cardio workout. The best part about rowing, however, is that you can bring a friend along and work on your social wellness and level-up your workout at the same time!

 

 

7.     Join (or start) a kickball league

 

More traditional sports like volleyball have had rec leagues for ages, but some other sports like kickball are starting to come into their own. Many of us have fond memories of playing kickball at recess during elementary school. Well, it turns out the game is still just as fun as we remember. If running bases isn’t your thing, some other games that are gaining in popularity are Lightning (the basketball game – also called Elimination or Knockout), Ultimate Frisbee, and disc golf. All these games come with the fun and camaraderie of rec league sports, with only a fraction of the over-the-top competitiveness that some leagues tend to foster.

 

 

8.     Walk the (neighbor’s) dog

 

Want to get outside and feel good about yourself at the same time? Try volunteering for dog walking. You’ll sneak in a walk while exercising a pooch (or pooches), and someone else won’t have to do it.  Local animal shelters are always looking for volunteers for dog walking, or an elderly or infirm neighbor might appreciate having someone pitch in.

 

 

9.     Coach

 

Speaking of organizations who always need help – youth sports organizations often are short-handed when it comes to coaching sports of all kinds. Depending on the level of play, you probably don’t even have to be an expert in the sport to be a good coach. Have you ever seen a kindergarten soccer game? It’s often a blob of 5-year-olds chasing a ball in a circle. Even if you’re not a sports expert, you can still be a solid adult role model, a teacher of good sportsmanship, and a facilitator of love of exercise.

 

 

10.  Outdoor Enthusiasts Affinity Group

 

That’s just a fancy way of saying “hang out with your friends.” If your group of friends usually hangs out indoors, suggest a change of venue.  Try having your book club at the beach, game night at the park, or study group in the back yard. Just remember to bring some sunscreen and bug repellant, and your average gathering can be a breath of fresh air (literally).

 

 

 

Happy July to you all! If you’ve got more suggestions on how to get more summer out of your summer, leave us a comment, or reach out to us on our facebook, twitter, or LinkedIn pages.

 

Tags:  Biking  Coaching  health  Summer  Walking  Wellness  Worksite Wellness 

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