Currently, standards for credentialing health and wellness coaches in Australia require 125 hours of training through Wellness Coaching Australia.
Professionalising the field will require a clear and consistent definition and standardisation of train-ing essential for future robust research to accurately assess the effectiveness of bringing about changes in health behaviours, health outcomes and associated costs that are targeted to reduce the global burden of chronic disease.1
National Consortium for Credentialing Health and Wellness Coaches in the USA (NCCHWC) pro-posed the following definition of health and wellness coaches:
"Health and wellness coaches are professionals from diverse backgrounds and education who work with individuals and groups in a client centered process to facilitate and empower the client to achieve self-determined goals related to health and wellness. Successful coaching takes place when coaches apply clearly defined knowledge and skills so that clients mobilize internal strengths and external resources for sustainable change."2
Given that the treatment of lifestyle-related diseases makes up 70% of health care costs, the next looming economic crisis is the ballooning of health care costs associated with an epidemic of pre-ventable lifestyle-driven diseases. Even though the evidence for healthy lifestyles as a means to im-prove mental and physical health, and prevent and ameliorate lifestyle-related diseases is well es-tablished, engagement is woefully inadequate.
We propose that having a professional coach who is a well-trained expert in facilitating sustainable lifestyle change, supporting wellness and disease prevention, and serving as a motivating role model will significantly reduce the financial burden on chronic disease in the health care sector.
For more information about MediCoach workshops and training for health and wellness coaches, contact Kim Poyner on 0408 174 231.
1. Ruth Q, Wolever et al. A systematic Review of the Literature on Health and Wellness Coaching: defining a Key Behvioural Intervention in Healthcare
2. Jordan and Wolever Global Advances Health Medicine 2015: 4(3):45-56