Today we chat to, Shane, one of our One You Lincolnshire Health Coaches to find out what Health coaches are all about and how they can support you to make positive changes to benefit your health and wellbeing
Shane, what made you want to become a Health Coach for One You Lincolnshire?
I was a former Health Trainer, The health inequalities in the county still exist and I feel very passionate about bridging the gap between disadvantaged areas and the more affluent areas. There is a need for people to access support and health education and that gap is being filled by the programmes that One You Lincolnshire do. Wanting to help people is my real drive to be a Health Coach. I started off Part Time and I am now full time
What would you say is the best part of being a Health Coach for One You Lincolnshire?
Being yourself, having your values matched by the company you work with. Having great ethics at the core of what you do. Trying your best to understand clients’ needs and bring a person-centred approach when helping them. Also helping others to accept themselves as a starting point to improve their health, mental health and overall wellbeing. As you grow older and you experience life, you realise that we all experience trauma and knockbacks and they can have a real impact on your mental health and subsequently your health. It’s not always easy to pick yourself up straight away and some of our coping strategies can become tricky habits and behaviours that take time to rectify.
A lot of my knowledge and advice comes from a lived experience and from working with people to help them overcome their own barriers and trauma. Knowledge is all well and good but we must know how to apply it with empathy and compassion.
When a person comes to you wanting to make various different lifestyle changes, how do you begin to start helping them?
Lots of people come into the sessions feeling quite nervous and anxious, thinking that I am going to judge or blame them for their current health problems, this really isn’t the case at all. Each and every person is unique and complex and we all have a lot of different factors and reasons for our health and wellbeing. We aren’t here to judge, we are here to offer some practical support and help get you on the right track, we are on your side!
I, myself, get quite nervous when I talk to a new client, it’s human nature to want people to like us and feel comfortable with us. I always spend the first few minutes generally getting to know someone, finding out how they are, where they are at – in terms of their current state of mind / health, and chat through some of their history to find out what things they have already tried and how much they know about their own health and wellbeing. It’s really important to have a good understanding of each person’s situation. Knowing what things people have tried that haven’t worked for them helps us to look at what we can do differently this time to make some real lasting positive changes.
By the end of the first session it is good to have an idea of the first goal to aim for. We want this to be something that can be a small change that can help someone to start making healthy habits that we can then build on. It really is a step by step process, but the small changes can add up to a big impact as time goes by. What is realistic and achievable in that first week. We look at other aspects too like hobbies and family pressures, it’s important that I get to understand the world that this client lives in.
It is really important in our appointments to chat through each person’s needs and support accordingly.
What are some of the key points to consider for someone who wants to change their lifestyle?
It is important acknowledge the stressful factors in our lives, it is at times of stress that we go back to tricky habits or coping mechanisms that aren’t very healthy. Because there will always be stressors or triggers, it is best to make small changes that we can build upon. If we try to change everything all at once it can be overwhelming and when we become stressed, we will go straight back to our old habits. It takes time to make real changes.
Make small changes This could be something simple to begin with like Journaling –start by writing a little each day. This can help us notice our feelings and our habits and identify what changes we want to start making. Or Fruit and Vegetables – Maybe the change for this week is to have a portion of fruit and vegetables with every meal. Another good change is to start increasing our physical activity, maybe try to go for a walk once a day to increase our steps or do stretching exercises every time we make a cuppa.
The rule is to start small and sustainable. It’s not a race. Keep it as simple as possible. It doesn’t need to be complicated.
We are all always learning too, it is important to think of it in this way. Even me with all my experience will ask for support from my colleagues from time to time, it’s about sharing knowledge and support rather than being told what to do.
What would you tell someone who is anxious about chatting to a health Coach?
Hopefully you should feel welcomed and understood. We think you are important and we want to help you. We are just normal people who are hereto help. You are an expert in your own reality, we are here to come alongside you and offer support.
The information and advice within this blog are not intended to replace any medical advice, with all our clients we seek to address their individual needs and circumstances - this includes any adaptations required for long- or short-term health conditions and medications. Please seek medical advice if you have any health conditions before considering a lifestyle change. If you would like to address any of the content of this blog, please email us.