About Wellness Corporate Solutions

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Health Coaching and Accountability

I've always felt that when it comes to exercise and fitness, the greatest hurdle is just getting started. There are always a thousand reasons to stick with the status quo.

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?

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