Wellcoaches Training: Healing Tool Series

Coaching Psychology Manual Book cover

Wellcoaches trains health coaches that can help providers offer preventive and wellness care to help patients achieve their health goals.

“Healing Tools” summaries are a collection of evidence-based resources to help providers and patients use integrative health approaches to improve health and well-being.

This tool is for:

  • Providers
  • Patients

This tool was created by:

  • Wellcoaches Corporation, in partnership with the American College of Sports Medicine

SUMMARY

What is this tool for?

Most healthcare costs (86%) are from lifestyle-related chronic diseases.[1] Health coaches can help:

  • Providers offer preventive and wellness care between doctor’s visits
  • Patients make changes to live a healthier lifestyle

Wellcoaches trains, certifies, and supports health and wellness coaches. Certified Wellcoaches® understand the mindset and behavior changes necessary for people to make and sustain healthy changes.

One of the most popular health coaching training programs,[2] Wellcoaches has trained about 10,000 coaches in nearly 50 countries since it was established in 2002 (as of August 2017). Each year, Wellcoaches trains about 1,200 coaches.

Core Health Coach Training Program

This program trains Certified Health and Wellness Coaches and Certified Personal Coaches. It’s designed for professionals with expertise in areas such as:

  • Weight management
  • Nutrition
  • Fitness
  • Stress or mind/body medicine
  • Lifestyle medicine
  • Chronic disease
  • Mental health

Format:

  • 18-week teleclass or a 4-day residential session
  • Other training programs and support for Certified Wellcoaches are also available.

Contact Links:

Providers:

Find in-depth information about Wellcoaches training and certification.

Patients:

Learn more about how coaching works and how to find a coach near you.

Coaching Psychology Manual

This textbook, used widely in academic courses on coaching psychology and health and wellness coaching, describes the Wellcoaches health and wellness coaching protocol. Available here.

How can providers use this tool?

Primary care practices can add a health coach, enabling them to continue caring for patients between doctor’s visits.  Health coaches support sustainable lifestyle changes through ongoing periodic check-ins either in person or by telephone. This is especially useful for patients with chronic conditions, which can’t be cured with medication or other traditional medical treatment. Primary Care Physicians interested in implementing this into their practice should access the AMA’s resource: “Implementing Health Coaching” from Thomas Bodenheimer, MD, MPH, of the UCSF Center for Excellence in Primary Care.

How does this contribute to an integrative approach?

Combining conventional medicine, self-care, and complementary and alternative medicine can help patients achieve optimal healing and health. Health coaching offered through providers encourages patients to make and sustain healthy changes (self-care) and provides the knowledge and support they need to prevent or help treat chronic disease.

Health coaches are key change agents who can help shift the U.S. healthcare system from one that is focused on reacting to disease and injury into one that also supports prevention and fosters health and wellbeing.

What does the evidence say about this tool?

The evidence-based Wellcoaches protocol is described in the Coaching Psychology Manual, which is used in university courses worldwide. Researchers have reported positive outcomes from Wellcoaches in peer-reviewed journals.

Key findings on Wellcoaches include:

  • A significant reduction in hemoglobin A1c and weight over 2 years among 17 patients with pre-diabetes who received health coaching at the Ambulatory Practice of the Future at Massachusetts General Hospital between 2012 and 2014.[3] This is comparable to the benefits seen in the large NIH-funded Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) that used even more resources to facilitate behavior change.[4]
  • A corporate wellness intervention with nearly 20,000 high-risk employees who completed health coaching found significant improvements in:
    • Systolic and diastolic blood pressure
    • BMI
    • LDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, and glucose
    • Absenteeism and employment termination (involuntary or voluntary)
    • Medical utilization (emergency room visits, hospital admission, and hospital lengths of stay)
    • Medical costs.[5]

For health coaching in general, research has shown:

  • Positive health outcomes sustained at 1-2 years after coaching started.[6]

Thus, health coaching seems to produce health benefits under both controlled and real-world conditions.

What are the drawbacks to using this tool?

  • There are costs associated with hiring or training a health coach.
  • Employing a health coach requires changes in the way providers and medical practices operate.
  • Some patients may be embarrassed or offended by recommendations for lifestyle and behavior change.

Who created this tool?

Margaret Moore founded Wellcoaches Corporation in 2002, after serving in executive positions in several biotech companies. The first coaching school for health and wellness professionals, Wellcoaches works in partnership with the American College of Sports Medicine and other groups. The American College of Sports Medicine endorses Wellcoaches’ coach training and certification programs.

Wellcoaches developed the Lifestyle Medicine and Healthy Behaviors Curriculum for Health and Wellness Coaches in partnership with the American College of Lifestyle Medicine.


ABOUT THESE INTEGRATIVE HEALTH TOOLS

At Samueli Integrative Health Programs, we believe that achieving optimal health and wellbeing requires an integrative health approach—one that combines and coordinates conventional medicine, self-care, and complementary and alternative medicine.

Translating Evidence into Action

The goal of these summaries is to help providers and patients learn about and access evidence-based integrative health tools. Each featured tool has been vetted by Samueli Integrative Health Programs. Read about more Healing Tools.

Disclosures:

Samueli Integrative Health Programs is a public service of H&S Ventures and does not profit from any of the tools featured in these summaries.

Patients: Contact your provider before starting any new health program.  Show him/her these resources.


[1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “The Cost of Chronic Diseases and Health Risk Behaviors.” (Accessed 8/10/17) Archived content found: https://templatearchive.com/chronic-diseases-in-america/

[2] Chris Collora, “5 Most Popular Health Coaching Certifications.” (Accessed 8/10/17)

[3] Sherman RP and Ganguli I. “Primary Care–Based Health Coaching for the Management of Prediabetes.” American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, April 11, 2017.

[4] Knowler WC, Barrett-Connor E, Fowler SE, et al. Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group. “Reduction in the Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes with Lifestyle Intervention or Metformin.” N Engl J Med. 2002;346(6):393-403.

[5] Long D, et al. “Outcomes Across the Value Chain for a Comprehensive Employee Health and Wellness Intervention: A Cohort Study by Degrees of Health Engagement. J Occup Environ Med. 2016 Jul;58(7):696-706.

[6] Sharma et al. “What Happens After Health Coaching? Observational Study 1 Year Following a Randomized Controlled Trial.” Annals of Family Medicine 14(3), 200-207, 2016.