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Digital Coaching: a new approach to Behavior Change

Digital Coaching uses technology to support individuals in their quest for better health.  This type of Health Coaching allows you to manage your health on your terms, and on your schedule.

If you’re struggling to manage or improve your health, Digital Coaching may be right for you. Read on to learn more about this emerging technology and how it can support you in Healthy Aging.

What is Digital Coaching?

Digital Coaching involves using an app to connect with a Health Coach. This is typically written communication, but can also include Video or Virtual Coaching.  Your Coach may also provide supplemental coaching phone calls as needed. 

Chat Message Support

Having a difficult time sticking to your health goals?  Reach out to your Digital Coach to problem solve or ask for support.  They may offer words of encouragement, a quick video, or perhaps a link to a helpful resource.  

Example of Chat Message in Digital Coaching
Example of a Chat Message in Digital Coaching

Digital Coaching Outreaches

On the flip side, your Digital Health Coach also has the ability to reach out to you.  The Coach may “check in” on how you are progressing with your goals.  Regular outreaches may also include education on topics like meal planning or exercise.

Who is a Good Candidate for Digital Health Coaching?

Anyone looking to become a better version of themselves can benefit from Health Coaching!  Struggling to make changes or manage your health?  Find yourself a Coach! 

Somewhere along the way, we stop improving regardless of our level of expertise. A good Coach will help you design a wellness plan that works for you!

Two Woman Walking-people who can benefit from digital coaching
Anyone looking to better their health can benefit from digital coaching.

Digital Coaching’s Benefits

Many of you know what it takes to be healthy.  Actually doing these things can be challenging. Digital Coaching allows you to incorporate your health into your daily life.

Convenient Coaching

Visiting a Health Coach in an office may feel impossible with a busy life. Scheduling a regular phone session can feel just as difficult.

This technology allows you to communicate with your Coach when it works for you. In addition, you have ongoing access to education and resources. If you love a motivational video that was sent to you, you can watch this as often as you like.

Accountability & Anonymity

Users typically find the accountability of coaching especially helpful. Some platforms offer monitoring of health related metrics, in addition to coaching. Examples of these metrics may include weight, physical activity, blood sugars, and blood pressure.

The anonymity of Digital Coaching can also be a plus! The distance some feel with messaging can increase their comfort level to share. In turn, this improves engagement, and increases the depth of the information shared. Additionally, it provides an outlet for those who prefer written communication over verbal communication.

Advantages of Digital Coaching

  • Convenience
  • Accountability
  • Consistent support
  • Access to education and resources
  • Anonymity
  • Offers an alternative to verbal communication
2 people doing planks high fiving
Achieve your goals with support

Digital Coaching’s Challenges

Just like most things in life, this technology based coaching is not one size fits all. I have encountered many people who love the concept. However, there are also those who prefer a more personal connection.

Below are some challenges associated with Digital Coaching:

  • Very limited verbal communication
  • Can be challenging to build relationships over chat messages
  • Typically requires a Smart Phone
  • Requires a willingness to text and a comfort level with technology
  • Response time will vary depending on the Coach’s schedule
  • Cost varies and may not be covered by insurance

What is a Health Coach?

A Health Coach is a wellness professional who helps people improve their health. Your coaching relationship will differ from that of a traditional healthcare provider.

A Coach will be your partner in navigating your individualized wellness path. Education typically involves directing you to resources, rather than teaching.

A Health Coach will rarely tell you what to do. They will help you figure out what is the right choice for you. Coaching involves meeting you where you are at, and helping you to achieve what wellness means to you!

Digital Coaching appointment over zoom
Digital Coaching is supplemented with video and phone sessions.

Roles of a Health Coach

  • Improves self efficacy (a belief in yourself that you are capable of change)
  • Assists you in creating health related goals
  • Bridges the gap between you and your physician
  • Educates and provides resources
  • Provides  emotional support and accountability
Benefits of a Health Coach Listed out
Benefits of Health Coaching

A Holistic Approach to Health

Health Coaching, including Digital Coaching, involves a Holistic approach.  This means coaching takes into account the whole person. 

A Holistic approach addresses an individual’s physical, mental, spiritual, and social needs.  A Holistic mindset understands that all of these aspects affect your health.  Being unwell in one aspect affects you in others.

For example, you may be struggling to achieve your goal of weight loss.  You and your Coach may determine that current stressors are impacting your weight loss efforts.

The impact of stress hormones on weight was discussed in a previous blog post – Imbalanced Hormones and Weight Gain. Coaching may shift temporarily from Diet and Exercise to Stress Management.

How can I find a Health Coach?

Man looking through binoculars signifying looking for a digital coach

If Health Coaching or Digital Coaching sounds like a good fit for you, ask your healthcare provider for a referral. Your health insurance company can also be a good resource. 

I recommend choosing a Coach who is a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach.  This individual will have the following letters behind their name: NBC-HWC.  Here is a directory of NBC-HWC coaches.

Digital Coaching Takeaways

Digital Coaching offers a technology based option for Health Coaching. It can be a convenient option for those looking to improve their health or manage a chronic disease. Digital Health Coaching is convenient, consistent, and effective. It is another tool in your pursuit of Age-Defying Wellness!

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