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Is Health and Wellness Coaching The Right Choice for Your Employees?
Is Health and Wellness Coaching The Right Choice for Your Employees?
Health and Wellness Coaching Resources to Consider

Health and wellness coaching has been a strategic trend in workplace wellness for many years and continues to grow in popularity. And what exactly is a health coach? According to The Institute for Integrative Nutrition—the largest nutrition school in the country—a health coach is “a wellness authority and supportive mentor who motivates individuals to cultivate positive health choices.” Theresa Dionne, professor of Health Coaching for Wellness Managers within the UW Health and Wellness Management curriculum, explains that “health coaching can address specific health-related concerns, such as smoking, diet, or sleep; or it can address broader concerns such as time management or work-life balance.”

Until recently there was no standard to define what constitutes appropriate training and best practices of health and wellness coaching. In January 2016, the first national certification for professional health and wellness coaches was implemented. Developed by the National Consortium for Credentialing Health and Wellness Coaches (NCCHWC), the certification addresses the need for national standards and reduces the confusion regarding the role, background, and education for skilled health and wellness coaches.

Another free resource is the Essential Guide to Health Coaching, available online from WebMD. This guide will take you through the process of determining your goals for health coaching with employees to implementation of a coaching program and evaluation to measure its impact.

Research documenting the effectiveness of health coaching, however, remains elusive; refer to this infographic from WellSteps for an at-a-glance summary of major findings to date. But while the verdict is still out, health coaching will not go away anytime soon. And there is guidance that can be gleaned from the current body of research. For example, targeting those employees who have health risks and want help to improve their health is likely to be successful. The environment in which health coaching is offered also makes a significant impact on the outcome; and finally, health coaching needs to be one component of a larger, integrated effort at work and at home.

Take the next step
Want to make a real difference in your organization’s wellness program? Complete your bachelor’s degree online with University of Wisconsin Health and Wellness Management. And, beginning this fall (pending approval by the Higher Learning Commission), the Master of Science in Health and Wellness Management will be an option for those seeking a graduate-level degree.
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