Read time: 5 minutes
- Whether you’re working on ways to lower your blood pressure or maintain healthy blood sugar levels, a health and wellness coach can help support your goals.
- While a health and wellness coach can offer their own expertise, you’re still calling the shots on what’s right for you.
- Together, you and your health and wellness coach can create new healthy habits that get you closer to your goals.
Maybe you’ve decided to work with a health and wellness coach to help you understand a new diagnosis more clearly, or perhaps you want to develop some preventive habits to avoid a chronic condition that runs in your family. Either way, a health and wellness coach can be an incredible source of support as you develop a self-care plan that works for you.
Still, just because a health and wellness coach can provide their expertise and guidance, that doesn’t mean they can automatically steer you in the right direction while you relax in the passenger’s seat. You’re still the driver here, and the relationship you share with your coach can only thrive if you’re both putting in the effort to stay on course.
How to Work with a Health and Wellness Coach
Here are a few ways to make the most of your relationship with your health and wellness coach.
1. Take Charge
Again, just because your health and wellness coach is a certified expert (here’s how to make sure they have the right qualifications), that doesn’t mean you’re not an expert in your own body.
In other words, your relationship with a health and wellness coach is meant to be collaborative; they can give you advice and support if and when you’d like to receive it, but it’s also up to you to stay engaged, ask questions, and be clear about what does and doesn’t work for you.
“Sometimes people are looking for us to tell them what to do and give them quick answers so they can go about their day,” says One Drop coach, Lorraine Chu, a registered dietitian/nutritionist (RDN) and certified diabetes care and education specialist (CDCES). “While we are experts in our field, and we do have answers and solutions, it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. What might work for one person may not for another, because we’re humans with different bodies, lifestyles, mindsets, and experiences.”
By fostering a real relationship with your coach—whether it’s over text, video calls, or in-person meetings—you can come up with health goals that really suit you and make sense for your lifestyle, explains Chu.
For example, let’s say you live with diabetes and you’re using One Drop to help you manage your blood sugar, but you recently received a glucose forecast that you don’t quite understand. Instead of sitting on that information until the next time you see your doctor, reach out to your One Drop health coach to help you interpret the data, answer your questions, and figure out next steps based on those insights. (Here are more ways to make your diabetes data less overwhelming with the help of a health and wellness coach.)
2. Keep In Touch
With most of your doctors or specialists, you probably have an established cadence of how often you see them (like an annual physical exam, for instance). But your relationship with a health and wellness coach may be a bit more open-ended, depending on how you typically interact and communicate with them.
If you’re working with a One Drop coach, for example, you’re probably texting one another most of the time (though they can also arrange video chats, if that’s what you prefer). And while your coach may sometimes reach out to you first, it is up to you to (at the very least) meet them halfway.
“The more you interact and share with your coach, the better the overall experience will be,” says One Drop coach, Jackie, RDN, CDCES, and certified food safety manager (CFSM). “Sharing goals, preferences, challenges, and other useful information helps us as coaches make the experience more individualized and realistic for you.”
For instance, maybe you know that you want to incorporate more heart-healthy eating habits into your lifestyle, but you find it difficult to maintain flavor and make your meals genuinely enjoyable. If you share some of those challenges with your health and wellness coach, you give them the opportunity to offer suggestions that you might not have considered—like this smoky-sweet salsa that’s good for your heart, or low-fat alternatives to try when you’re craving cheese.
“We’re there to not only provide evidence-based information and resources but also to empower you through words of encouragement, self-reflections, and manageable strategies,” says Jackie.
3. Be Patient
As Chu noted, quick fixes are a common pitfall when it comes to taking care of your health. It’s natural to want easy answers and simple solutions, especially if your self-care involves the complexities of living with a chronic condition.
But, in reality, research shows that forming a new healthy habit can take, on average, around 66 days (or roughly 10 weeks). And that’s merely the time it could take to make a new habit; beyond that point, it’s still on you (and your work with your health and wellness coach) to maintain the changes you make and to keep working toward your goals.
Bottom line: Working with a health and wellness coach requires patience.
“Your coach can promote behavior change that can improve several aspects of your health, including blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, A1C, and more,” says One Drop coach, Amy Crees, RDN, CDCES. However, the key phrase there is “behavior change”—something that depends on you and your consistency in collaborating with your health and wellness coach to develop habits that help you meet your goals.
In practice, that “behavior change” might take shape in a new daily morning practice of drinking water first thing in the morning to help manage your blood sugar, or creating a mood board to help you prioritize your mental health. Whatever it takes to achieve your health goals, and regardless of how long it may take, know that your health and wellness coach is always there to support you.
This article has been clinically reviewed by Jamillah Hoy-Rosas, MPH, RDN, CDCES, and VP of clinical operations and program design at One Drop.