In our society, men face a unique set of circumstances when it comes to overall health & well-being. In honor of men’s health week, I’d like to highlight the challenges that men face today and share the potential benefits of working with a men's health coach to make healthy and sustainable lifestyle shifts.
Men’s health stats don’t look great, but lifestyle changes can help.
Let’s explore some facts and statistics related to men’s health.
What role does a health coach play?
When it comes to lifestyle and health behaviors, working with a coach can support you in taking the necessary actions to manage or improve your health. Health coaching is not limited to individuals at risk or those diagnosed with a disease; it can provide meaningful assistance to anyone looking to improve their lifestyle or personal health.
Let’s explore how this works by first understanding what a health coach does.
Plain and simple, you can picture a health coach as a partner on your journey to creating the health and well-being you most desire. Coaches are trained in a variety of techniques related to behavior change and lifestyle health, underpinned by the foundational science of psychology, counseling, lifestyle medicine, and more.
A coach supports you not by telling you what to do, but by working with you to identify your unique interests, motivators, strengths, challenges, and opportunities for growth. Having a detailed understanding of where you want to go, and comparing that to where you are now, allows the coach to help you more efficiently create the game plan that works best for you, in your life.
In my coaching practice, I view myself as a strategist for my clients. Together we think through and explore ideas, concepts, and topics related to improving health. Along the way, we seek to understand whether certain ideas or health practices seem reasonable and sustainable for the client to implement.
A coach can help you prepare for tough visits with your doctor.
Creating a safe space
Health Coaches can support you by creating a judgment-free, supportive environment to explore your personal health and well-being.
We know that as a whole, men are more likely to put off regular doctor visits (2); and when meeting with the doctor, one in five men are not completely honest about their health. This omission of information may arise out of embarrassment, not wanting to hear that they need to change, or they were simply not ready to face a particular health concern (5).
One way that a coach can provide meaningful support for men is in the weeks prior to a doctor’s visit. Visiting a doctor can be an intimidating event due to concerns mentioned above, but also for a variety of other reasons.
Connecting with a coach before your visit creates space for you to share your thoughts, concerns, and needs, and potentially craft a plan of action for the upcoming visit. The plan could include getting clear on your expectations and having questions ready for your doctor. These preparatory steps may help you to feel more confident when walking into the clinic or hospital.
A coach can help you in ways your healthCare provider cannot.
Incorporating prescribed or suggested changes after an appointment is hard to do.
Health coaches can be great support following doctor’s visits. You may have received new recommendations or instructions from your doctor to make healthy lifestyle shifts, such as eating healthfully, exercising more, managing stress, getting more sleep, losing weight ... and the list goes on.
You may feel overwhelmed—with no idea where to start or what exactly is right for you. A coach’s role is to support you in making the lifestyle changes that align best with where you are, what you need, and where you want to go.
We meet you where you are, not where we think you should be.
Change can be intimidating, especially when someone else tells us we need to change and we may not know where to begin.
It doesn’t help that the average face-to-face time with a doctor these days is a mere 16.5 minutes (6), with only five or so allotted for you—the patient— to share your questions, thoughts, concerns, and ideas (7). As a result, leaving a visit with a clear and confident plan of action is not a likely scenario.
To make the change process less intimidating and more efficient, health coaches provide the opportunity to understand how these changes affect your life and how to best move forward making small and sustainable shifts in your day-to-day lifestyle.
Coaches often work with clients over a matter of several sessions that can span from a few weeks to a few months, depending upon circumstances and interests.
Coaches encourage small lifestyle shifts to achieve sustainable change.
Having a working relationship with a coach allows for support at regular intervals, which can be important along the path of change.
Over the course of the coaching relationship, these regular sessions:
Improving health and increasing life expectancy are directly correlated with our day-to-day lifestyle choices (8). Making lifestyle shifts in a more healthful direction is also protective against common diseases that challenge men in today's society—namely heart disease, hypertension and pre-diabetes.
Supporting clients in navigating lifestyle behavior change is the health coach’s expertise.
Health coaching has been shown to help clients in numerous aspects of health and well-being including improvements in physical activity levels, eating habits, sleep quality, relationship health, and self-reported measures of physical, emotional, social and spiritual health. Additionally, health coaching has been shown to support reducing tobacco use and decreasing stress levels (9,10).
Change doesn't happen overnight. Working with a coach allows you to create a progressive and sustainable plan of action for the future.
If you find yourself struggling when it comes to taking action or finding the motivation to improve eating habits, increase physical activity, manage stress, improve sleep, or other lifestyle-related behaviors, coaches are here for you and ready to help.
we aren't doctors, but we can help you change your lifestyle.
Health coaches are not meant to be a replacement for any healthcare provider (physicians, mental health professionals, dieticians, etc). Instead, we help our clients incorporate lifestyle changes that work well within the context of their unique life circumstances.
As you search for a coach, it is important to look into their credentials, as the term "health coach" can be used by anyone. If you see NBC-HWC behind a coach's name, you can be certain they have been through a course that meets minimum standards and have also passed a rigorous board certification exam.
For a partner in your health and wellness goals, book a session with one of our national board certified coaches!
To learn more about Daniel or book a coaching session with him, visit DV Health & Performance.