About Health Coaching

A health coach is an expert in fostering behavior change. When you work with a health coach, you’re working in collaboration with a partner who will meet you where you are. You set the agenda at all times. In this relationship, you’re able to explore facets of your life, health, and well-being that you would like to change. You might be thinking about a change, be ready for a change, or want to explore ways to build on past efforts. The thing is, most of us know WHAT we need to do, but most of us don’t do it. If all we needed was the information, we would Google it and “fix” ourselves, right?


A coach will help you understand and appreciate your values, strengths, and motivations, and how to use them to move toward the goals you have for yourself. We can be masters of getting in our own way, and a coach will be open and honest with you by offering new insights, asking powerful questions, giving direct feedback and information if you would like, to help you become the person you want to be!


Health coaching has developed from evidence-based, well-researched principles, with positive outcomes across health and wellness concerns in hundreds of peer-reviewed journal articles.  A health coach does not push advice, prescriptions, or supplements on you, but rather guides the conversations based on your stated goals. You can certainly seek coaching on your own. At times, a health care practitioner may refer someone for coaching, to help facilitate patient care and progress.


To be a good fit for health coaching, you need to be able to invest time for sessions, and for thought or actions you want to take between sessions. As the client decides the focus, you’re responsible for your progress through your choices- the world is your oyster, with the coach as a partner/guide throughout. A coach does not “fix” people. A prerequisite is that you want to move the dial, in some way.


What is the overlap between the fields of health coaching and psychotherapy?

Both are based on a relationship between coach and client and may address sensitive, emotional topics in your life. A psychotherapist, however, is focused on diagnostics and treatment of a disorder that is causing significant life impairment. A coach, on the other hand, facilitates a conversation, and coaching goals are more non-clinical in nature. A coach will focus more on positive life and health goals. A therapist is looking to intervene to heal what is “wrong.” A coach will assume from the outset that every client already has exactly the knowledge and resources needed to attain the desired results, and will guide every conversation based on those assumptions.


Here are more examples to clarify the roles between therapist and coach, inspired by Robert Biswas-Diener, Ph.D., faculty of the Kresser Institute:

    • Needing to fix things (e.g., marriage, relationships) is probably a therapy issue
    • Wanting to be a better spouse, friend, etc. (e.g., learning to listen better; learning to be less reactive) may be well-suited for coaching
    • An eating disorder necessitates therapy
    • Wanting to eat in a way that promotes health and longevity and reduces symptoms is appropriate for coaching
    • Being depressed is an issue for which you would probably want a therapist, especially if it’s so severe that it interferes with your daily functioning
    • Feeling stymied, frustrated, or stuck may be suited for coaching


Note: I no longer hold a license to practice psychology. My work with you will be solely as a health coach. I can, however, discuss the kind of help that may be most appropriate for you, if you should want to address that question.

Also of note, health coaching at this point is an unregulated profession. It is of the utmost importance for your quality of service that you consider working with a coach who is certified by a program approved by the National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching (NBHWC), and/or find a coach who is nationally board certified, or on track for credentialing. This is how you ensure that your coach fully appreciates and adheres to all ethical principles and that the work remains within a coach’s scope of practice. A nationally certified coach keeps up with continuing education requirements, and keeps your welfare at the forefront at all times. Chris Kresser’s ADAPT program is approved by the NBHWC.


Health coaching conversations are confidential. If you choose to work with me, we will review this in more detail.


To your good health,

Janet Frank, Ph.D., National Board Certified Health & Wellness Coach, ADAPT-Certified Functional Health Coach, Certified Professional Food Addiction Coach

[email protected]

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