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If you think about your last visit to the doctor, how much time did he/she actually spend with you?

Did you get the chance to discuss how you really feel, or to take a look at your overall health and wellbeing – or discuss diet, nutrition, stress or activity levels?

Generally, the answer is no.

Most doctors only have a few minutes to spend with each patient. It’s not that they don’t want to spend more time with patients, they simply don’t have enough time.

Today’s doctors are trained to focus on and treat the symptoms, not to look for the cause. Most conventional doctors aren’t trained in the skill set of how to develop a long-term plan to keep you healthy and motivated.

At a recent health coaching conference in the UK, Dr Rangan Chatterjee (doctor in the house) voiced his frustration at not being able to spend more time discussing lifestyle changes his patients could make and expressed his support for health coaching to become an integrated part of any doctor’s practice, with trials beginning now.

The landscape of healthcare has changed.

Chronic disease now far outweighs acute illness with 80 per cent of premature deaths today being caused by lifestyle diseases.

And yes, that means 80 per cent are avoidable. And this is where the medical profession struggles to find solutions but exactly where health coaches can help!

With chronic diseases being preventable through diet and lifestyle changes, health coaches have the time to deal with the real issues that are stopping people from changing.

Even when they know and understand these statistics, people still find it almost impossible to change more than short-term; for example, research has shown that only 14 per cent of heart disease patients are able to make permanent lifestyle shifts despite the seriousness of their condition.

It’s not that they don’t want to live, it’s that they don’t know how to change lifetime habits.

So what exactly does a health coach do?

The primary goal of a health coach is to help clients commit to a permanent lifestyle shift, overcoming all the barriers in the way that commonly stop people changing.

Health coaches not only help clients work through lifestyle and behaviour modifications, they mentor, inspire, guide and motivate clients by understanding them as an individual. Anyone can transform their health but for each of us the drivers and motivators are very different.

So we cannot motivate patients with a generic set of motivators.

Our clients/patients know what they should or shouldn’t be doing but lack the drive and motivation. A health coach works with each person as an individual to help them create a new future in relation to their health that is clear, exciting, in line with their values and geared towards their preferences.

Health coaches have the luxury of time that medical doctors don’t, to delve deeper into the hows and whys of preventative care. So the real issue is a ‘behavioural change’ one and this is the role of the health coach.

Understanding the importance of this, many doctors’ offices are now starting to add health coaches to their team, making health coaching a fantastic new opportunity for those who are passionate about health and about helping others avoid unnecessary disease and suffering.

Does this sound like something that would excite and inspire you to become a Certified Health Coach? Please visit our website at www.healthcoachesacademy.co.za and book a call or download our information pack today.