We have written frequently about the role and importance of health coaching in well-run workplace wellness programs.
But what is a health coach? As we noted here, Sarah Haskins in U.S. News & World Report addresses the question: “We help you implement small changes, little by little, at a pace that’s comfortable for you so you can meet all your health goals. We work with you to help you discover your bio-individuality. There is something that will work for you – the trick is finding it.”
As we reported in the same post, the American Council on Exercise ran a piece titled “Study Shows Health Coaches Effective in Helping People Lose Weight, Live Healthier Lives.” The post states: “The study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health and published in the July 26, 2012, online edition of the journal Obesity, demonstrates the important role health coaches can play in helping people lose weight.”
Now a new piece in Employee Benefits News notes how health coaches can help increase employee engagement in workplace wellness programs.
One adviser told EBN: “For the older members of the workforce, one-on-one coaching could have a huge advantage.” The post continues: “While not every wellness program offers coaching, the majority of the programs offered by [the firm] have a personal coaching element. ‘They are effective in being able to track and follow up with older workers and report improvements in health claims and improved health conditions.’”
Another important concept, as was noted in the U.S. News & World Report piece: “Everyone is unique and different.”
In EBN, Lindsey Bush, an account executive for Gregory & Appel Insurance in Indianapolis emphasizes the point: ““It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach, it’s one-size-fits-one. We have clients that have biometric screenings with coaching components, for example. We also have a wellness program where employers can get better benefits if they meet certain health requirements and this has a participatory and heath coaching component to the plan.”
In addition, health coaching can focus on more than just physical health.
Interactive Health states: “Onsite health coaches go beyond health awareness to support total well-being — addressing preventive, mental and emotional health. The individual counseling and education provided by our coaching staff helps employees identify areas for improvement and empowers them with a plan to achieve wellness success.”