My first encounter with health coaching

My first encounter with health coaching

One of my Avid Bookshop regular customers posted something on her Facebook page a few months ago that interested me.  She’s a medical doctor (but not one of my doctors) who’s in the midst of meeting all the requirements to become a certified health coach.  I can’t find her original post anymore, but this was the essence of it: She announced that she was in training to be a certified health and wellness coach and, as with most training programs of that sort, she needed to do some practice coaching sessions with volunteers as part of her program.  I wrote her shortly after seeing the post, knowing I’d benefit from talking with someone one-on-one about lifestyle changes and better approaches to manage my health.  Sadly, I was out of luck: she already had enough volunteers.

A few weeks ago, though, she reached out to me to say that she needed a few more practice clients, and was I interested?  Yes, yes, yes. I keep running into a virtual wall, being aware of some of the things I could do to change to become healthier but not being able to incorporate those changes. For instance, I know I feel a lot better migraine-, arthritis- and fatigue-wise if I walk at least five days a week, drink my fruit and veggie smoothies almost daily, and eat more healthily. I’ve been reading a lot of books and research studies on veganism and know that a lot of my chronic health issues will likely be improved by adopting that diet, but I can’t seem to get in gear.

My initial meeting with my coach-in-training was last night, and I absolutely, positively loved it.  We talked for about ninety minutes. She asked me what sorts of challenges I faced, what health problems I have, and what I have done (if anything) to reach any goals related to those challenges and problems.  I could tell she was well-trained in the art of active listening, as she didn’t interrupt me and would occasionally ask me to tell her more about a particular thing I said.

She and I both know that migraine is incurable and that it’s pretty much guaranteed that I’ll be dealing with this illness for many more decades, if not the rest of my life. But she did ask me what my life would look like and feel like if I could reduce the impact migraines have on my life—say, if I got one once or twice a month instead of a few times a week (which has been the pattern most of 2015).

Wow. I’d imagined that before—a life with few or no migraines—but I hadn’t talked too much about it with anyone else before, let alone someone who was 100% focused on me and getting me to really explore that daydream.  “The word that keeps popping up for me is ‘space,’” I told her.  “Space to have more freedom, to do more projects, to see friends, to hang out with my husband, to visit with my family, to go on walks, to read more books.”

The health coach-to-be doesn’t want to help me set a game plan/goal sheet just yet—she knows it’s best for us to meet once or twice more before we come up with some initial goals for me to try to meet.  I’ll keep you guys posted.

Even if I don’t end up finding more space in my life, let alone more migraine-free days, I can already tell that this time with the coach is going to be really eye-opening and wonderful. Don’t get me wrong: I know it’ll be tough and challenging, too. But I look forward to talking with her again and seeing how I can improve my quality of life and find a little more space.

If you had the opportunity to see a health coach like this, what issues do you think you’d bring up? What sorts of changes do you want to make to your life that you’ve not had luck with so far? What do you think your days would be like if you were able to make some positive changes you’ve been thinking about? 

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