“I've dramatically improved my nutrition. Planning meals has been a life changer”

Health Coaching 101

Health coaching is all about behavior change. You’ll identify health goals, uncover what's working & what's not, & craft a plan to propel forward. The resulting transformation is a healthier, happier YOU!

How it works

Our crucial first step is building a strong foundation. This entails understanding your current state, readiness for change, and unique strengths. We next focus on your desired future health state. We map a vision for where you would like to be and how to get there.

After establishing the foundation, weekly coaching sessions focus on moving you through the stages of change towards that vision. Each week you will identify meaningful sub-goals and we will construct an action plan to achieve them. Motivators to leverage, skills to build, and barriers to address are all explored. We also discuss, based on what works for YOU in your life, how you will stay accountable.

My role as a coach is not to tell you what to do, rather, it's to uncover the answers you hold within yourself. While a small portion of most sessions typically includes education on a topic of interest to you, say healthy cooking techniques or incorporating balance exercises into workouts, a tenant of health coaching is the client knows what is best. You are the driver & set the destination. I ride shotgun, help you navigate curvy roads, & support you along your health journey.

Coaching Duration

Health transformations take time and effort to achieve and sustain. While some benefits can be seen rapidly, e.g. better sleep and energy, my job as a coach is to help you instill habits that stick. This doesn't happen overnight. I recommend at least 4-6 months of weekly coaching for most clients. A shorter time, say 2 months can still be extremely useful to kickstart your health journey. And a longer coaching relationship, e.g. >6 months, is excellent for long-term maintenance. Clients often choose to continue the health coaching relationship longer-term on a less frequent basis, for example every other week or once a month.

Anatomy of a Coaching Session

Coaching sessions typically range 30-60 minutes and are conducted virtually (e.g. Zoom) or in person when desired by local clients. Many of you may be new to health coaching and are curious or uncertain about what an actual session entails.

Here’s what a typical coaching session looks like, and the approximate % of session time we’ll spend on each item:

  • (5-10%) Connection – Welcomes and as needed/desired, centering (e.g. brief breathing exercises)

  • (10-15%) Accountability Check-In – Review goal progress, successes, barriers since prior session

  • (10-15%) Focusing – Set agenda for current session. Coach may suggest a broad area to begin with based on program roadmap (e.g. exercise, stress). We’ll “focus the agenda” to help you determine what’s most valuable to receive coaching on and what outcome you’d like from our session. As a coach, I’ll assist you in identifying areas that link back to your larger health goals and over-arching wellness vision.

  • (30-40%) Exploration – Next we’ll explore the chosen topic together, focusing on the current state (what’s working, what’s not), your desired future state (the ideal future outcome), and a potential path to get there. During this part of the coaching session we may utilize various tools and techniques drawing from research-supported behavior change theories and approaches (transtheoretical model stage of change, positive psychology, motivational interviewing, and many more…).

  • (20-30%) Action Planning – For many clients this is where you may have thought we’d be spending most of our time. While we will definitely set goals and create a plan to achieve them in almost every session, what makes those goals achievable and meaningful is the focusing and exploration that comes prior. Based on client need and upon your request, this also might be when health “education” takes place. The client, however, always remains in the driver’s seat. Rather than an expert / student relationship, coaching is a collaborative process. During action planning you’ll also identify steps to stay accountable to your identified goals.

  • (5-10%) Wrap-up – I try and reserve time for brief reflections at the end of our session. This may include a high-level summary of our discussion and/or a request for you to share learnings or affirmations from the session. As we conclude, we’ll also confirm logistics e.g. next session time and a reminder for you to complete your post-session notes or next-session prep where appropriate.

While the above outlines a typical individual coaching session, our time together might look different based on your needs, the structure of the coaching relationship, or where you are in your health coaching journey. A few examples:

  • First session(s) – We’ll typically go over key interest areas from your health and wellness questionnaire and undergo a health vision mapping exercise

  • Program wrap-up sessions – We’ll reflect on your learnings, successes and transformations. We’ll discuss your go-forward health and wellness plan and consider options for the future, including where ongoing health coaching may focus next and maintenance areas to monitor.

  • Group sessions – Formats vary based on group size and setting (e.g. personal vs corporate, virtual vs in-person). In general, group coaching may include a larger education component. Extensive time for Q&A as well as interactive activities and discussion are included.

Intrigued by coaching?

Book a complimentary session with me to explore if Santana Health Coaching may be a good fit


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