A Health Coach: Might Just Be What The Doctor Ordered

A Health Coach: Might Just Be What The Doctor Ordered

Let’s face it – physicians are busy, and the patient-to-healthcare-provider ratio is extremely unbalanced with little to no relief in sight. This leads to provider burnout and patients falling through the cracks – especially low-income patients and patients of color.

Coupled with this reality is the fact that there isn’t a universal comprehensive strategy for ensuring that patients get holistic care, chiefly those living with chronic illnesses; such as hypertension and diabetes. In the advent of the novel coronavirus, many have voiced the importance for needing health and healthcare reforms that are holistic and multipronged in their design and implementation. This overhaul must take into account not only what happens during the patient’s visit, but it must also offer supportive services that empower patients to make simple yet lasting lifestyle changes in an effort to lead healthier lives between these encounters. 

This is where a health coach comes in!

According to the Iowa Chronic Care Consortium, an entity that champions health coaching, “True healthcare reform springs from the capacity of individuals in a population to build self-care skills, improve their health behaviors and accept accountability for their health. It is not about giving motivation but inspiring it. 

Health coaching can be categorized as vital “talk therapy” where the coach and the client talk through ideas and issues of importance to the clients. There’s a unique but key element to this interaction in that the client is always in the driver’s seat! This means that the client puts forth the goals and objectives that he or she would like to work on as well as the strategies to achieve these goals. Throughout the process, the health coach serves as an ally to the client, ensuring that the client’s goals are SMART (Specific, Measurable Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound). Additionally, the coach serves as an accountability partner, a resource and a cheerleader throughout the entire coaching experience.

Health coaching services have many positive attributes that can improve the health outcome of the individual patients, especially those with chronic health conditions that can benefit from lifestyle changes. This in turn can lead to a positive impact on the overall patient population of that provider’s practice if health coaching is offered as a routine standard of care for patients needing these services.

Engaging a health coach can contribute to successful outcomes for the patients in many ways, including:

  • Partnering with patients to identify and solidify health and wellness goals

  • Breaking through any limiting beliefs and getting unstuck

  • Supporting healthcare providers in helping patients improve their health and well-being

  • Facilitating the process of lifestyle change to prevent lifestyle-related diseases and optimize whole health and well-being

  • Exploring, curating, and providing information and health-related resources

  • Supporting client self-empowerment and activating the patient to direct his or her own path of healing

  • Providing whole-hearted support, guidance, and accountability throughout the coaching experience

Overall, the benefits of providing health coaching services to patients far outweighs the cost of inaction – not only from a health restoration perspective but also financially. As a health coach, I provide services that are in full compliance with COVID-19 prevention standards. All of my services are offered virtually. The client can select to engage in a coaching session by phone or by video via Zoom. The initial 30-minute discovery session is always complimentary and allows the client and coach to make initial introductions, ask questions, and discuss a high-level outline of how the session will be organized moving forward.

Coaching sessions range from 30 to 60 minutes and can take place over three to six months, depending on the client’s needs and/or provider recommendation. Clients can also opt for a 3-part jump state session, which sets the foundation for longer sessions if they choose to. Sessions can be weekly or biweekly. The cost of individual coaching services might be covered by some health plans or employer wellness program. Prices for self-pay clients starts at $50 per hour. To learn more about our coaching services or to book as session, email us at  VFarrell@vihealthcoaching.com  or visit our website at www.vihealthcoaching.com


Vanessa Ingrid Farrell is a speaker, best-selling author, and CEO and founder of VI Health & Wellness Coaching, LLC. Her coaching practice helps busy women, especially those in leadership roles, unapologetically prioritize and preserve their heart health without sacrificing career and the joys of everyday life experiences. Born on the beautiful island of Montserrat, she currently resides on the island of St. Croix in the United States Virgin Islands. You can also find Vanessa’s work on Amazon.