What is a Health Coach?
Health Coaches work with people to support their overall health and wellbeing. They specialise in supporting areas of lifestyle and health behaviours to reduce risks or improve the management of long-term conditions. Through longer-form conversations, health coaching provides an opportunity to identify your priorities and goals, consider how you may adjust your lifestyle in relation to these, and help address any challenges you face to achieving them.
Health Coaches help people develop a greater sense of control over their own health. They do this by supporting aspects of behaviour change that is important to each individual, such as motivation, autonomy, confidence, and goal setting. They recognise that there is no “one-size fits all” approach and will work with you to understand your preferences and ensure that any guidance is personalised to you.
As part of working with people to develop self-management strategies, Health Coaches can be effective in signposting you to other local services and organisations to support you. They also support groups of people through structured educational workshops and activities, providing an element of peer-support and interaction.
What can a Health Coach help me with?
Health coaching is an effective, evidence-based method to develop people’s motivation, knowledge, skills, and confidence relating to a range of topics/conditions, including:
Health coaches work as part of a multi-disciplinary clinical team, so if you feel that further support is needed, for example with mental health or medication reviews, then this can be coordinated with other clinicians.
What things does health coaching not include?
Health Coaches are regarded as an ‘additional role’ within primary care. Unless specifically pre-agreed, their skills and training generally do not cover the following:
The above cases can be supported by other roles within the practice, and the practice team can direct your enquiry to the appropriate clinician.
What happens at the first appointment?
The Health Coach’s initial aim will be to understand more about you, your current situation, and what your priorities are. The first appointment will be an opportunity to establish the areas of health and wellbeing you would like to focus on in the weeks ahead, ensuring that any further sessions reflect your preferences. This may involve setting some goals and actions, or simply discussing how you would like to approach things more generally.
The session may involve reviewing some of your recent test results – for example, cholesterol or HbA1c blood tests – and taking time to explain what these mean in relation to your future health. If you would like to, further routine measurements can be checked, such as weight, blood pressure or QRisk (a clinical tool to estimate cardiovascular disease risk).
What is a Health Coach? Watch this Q&A video to learn more:
Eastham Group Practice’s Health Coach – Jo Piller
Jo joined the practice in October 2022 after two years as a cardio-respiratory physiologist in Warrington & Halton Hospitals. Prior to this Jo had 5 years’ experience in sports development, before joining Nuffield Health in a clinical health coaching/physiologist role involving a range of in-depth health assessments.
With ongoing interests in public health and the psychology of health behaviours, Jo has educational and professional experience in the fields of physical activity & fitness, nutrition, weight management, health coaching & behaviour change, stress management, emotional wellbeing, sleep health, and the pathophysiology of common health conditions. In autumn 2023, Jo is commencing a L2 counselling skills qualification to enhance the psychological support he can offer to patients.
Jo is also part of the nurse team at Eastham, so you may see him for other clinical appointments such as ECGs, Spirometry, and NHS Health Checks.
The health coaching offer at Eastham Group Practice is further enhanced by a wider team of Health Coaches (Daisy, Rachel & Morgan) who work across the Primary Care Network. Your appointment may be with any one of this team.
Case Study- Maria’s Journey: