More and more people are being trained as life coaches. The field of life coaching has blossomed, becoming a billion-dollar behemoth.
Chronic illness is a topic that is well-known to millions of people who have been diagnosed with a wide variety of conditions. We are all affected by it in some way, whether it be ourselves, or our loved ones living with it, and we are all looking for answers to treatment options.
One option that some have turned to help treat their chronic condition is life coaching. By choosing an alternative approach in health care, a new perspective on health is thought to make a difference in the outcome of patients illnesses. How much of a difference does life coaching make, and what exactly does life coaching look like?
But first and foremost, it is important to distinguish the differences between life coaching and health coaching. While you can assume they are fundamentally the same type of coaching and are set to accomplish similar outcomes, the two are surprisingly different.
Health coaching is geared to aim at accomplishing goals related to health by providing education solely regarding physical health. For instance, a health coach might work with a patient who has been diagnosed with type II diabetes to help them design a diet and exercise regime and teach them about the impact of nutrition on our bodies.
Life coaching differs from health coaching because it is focused more on the lifestyle behavioral patterns, cognitive psychology, and emotions of the patient to attain specific goals. With this method of coaching, it is more important that the patient decides the issues and topics to be discussed regarding their life and to self identify the goals that they would like to meet.
A study published by BMC Health Services in 2013 researched the results of life coaching on patient health outcome. The study takes a look at two randomized controlled studies, both with varying yet promising outcomes.
“In the case study, it was possible to obtain significant improvements in a patient group that usually does not benefit from intensified interventions  and in the randomized trial; the patients with an elevated baseline HbA1c significantly improved their metabolic control .”
The results can be explained by the patient’s “resilience” to their chronic disease. Their mindset about their issues had a noticeable impact on their health and the outcome of the coaching. With the coaches help to achieve an acceptance of their current state, maintain a positive outlook on their health, and feel optimistic and determined to heal, their bodies responded positively. The results were more significant in the patients that began the coaching with low self-esteem and little to no empowerment.
Life coaching can benefit those individuals suffering with chronic illnesses that have a negative mindset about their health, their self, and their life. Our thoughts are extremely powerful and can impact the healing processes of our body. Life coaches help patients change their mindset to think more positive thoughts about their situation, and the body responds appropriately.
More studies do indeed need to be done regarding how powerful life coaching is in helping patients’ health in order to fully understand the weight that it can carry in patients’ health outcome. If something like teaching patients to think more positive about their situation can be proven scientifically to physically heal their body’s chronic illness, it should be looked into, further researched, and taken more seriously.
The human mind is extremely powerful. This is something that is widely accepted. Life coaching for patients who are chronically ill takes the power of the mind and applies it to the medical healing process, and should be just as widely accepted