But even after taking that crucial first step, it can be difficult for people to choose goals that are measurable and achievable. This is where the guidance of a professional wellness coach can have a real impact. We've seen first hand how health coaching helps participants in our wellness programs set meaningful goals.
An article in this week's Wall Street Journal describes a study that tracked people's exercise after they received periodic reminder phone calls. One group received calls from a health educator. A second group received automated calls from a computer, and the control group got no calls at all.
The results were startling. After 12 months, participants who received calls from a health educator were exercising 78% more than at the beginning of the study. Even those who received just automated calls were exercising twice as much.
If something as impersonal as a computer-generated reminder can boost participation this dramatically, imagine how your employees would respond to live health coaching!
Many people think that a coaching relationship will be like what they see on The Biggest Loser. In reality, health coaches are trained to encourage, not lecture--and participants always choose their own goals. While coaches are there to provide accountability for participants, they always do so without judgement.
Have you ever worked with a health coach? If so, share your experience. Did it help you reach your goals?