Digital health coaching uses technology to support behavior change. 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 health coaching may be right for you!
Read on to learn more about this emerging technology and how it can support your wellness goals!
What is Digital Health Coaching?
Digital health coaching uses technology and advanced behavioral science to assist individuals in improving their health.
This is typically written communication, but can also include video or virtual coaching.
In addition, a coach may provide supplemental coaching phone calls as needed.
Chat Message Support
Having a difficult time sticking to your health goals?
Reach out to your 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.
On the flip side, your coach also has the ability to reach out to you. Your 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 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 find a wellness strategy that works for you!
Engaging in digital health coaching also requires a smartphone and a certain level of comfort with technology.
Digital Health Coaching Benefits
Visiting a health coach in an office may feel impossible with a busy life. Scheduling a regular phone session can feel just as difficult.
Digital health coaching apps allow access to coaching resources anytime and anywhere!
If you love a motivational video that was sent to you, you can watch this as often as you like!
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 health coaching is also 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.
Limitations of Digital Health 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!
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
A Holistic Approach to Behavior Change
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. This type of mindset understands that all of these aspects affect your health. Being unwell in one area of your health typically affects the 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.
Coaching may shift temporarily from diet and exercise to stress management.
Learn more about the impact of stress hormones on weight in this previous Age-Defying Dietitian blog post – Imbalanced Hormones and Weight Gain.
How Can I Find a Health Coach?
If health 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. Click here for a directory of NBC-HWC coaches.
Takeaways from Digital Health Coaching
Digital health coaching offers a technology based option for health coaching.
It offers convenience, accountability, and anonymity. for those looking to improve their health or manage a chronic disease. Digital Health Coaching is convenient, consistent, and effective!
Hungry for more?
Interested in more content on foods that benefit your skin?
Check out the Age-Defying Dietitian’s blog for more healthy aging content!
Kathryn is a Registered Dietitian and a National Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach. She is also Certified through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in Weight Management.