Health Coach on the phone.

Health Coaches Help Create Successful Strategies for Weight Loss, Stress Management, Nutrition and More

What does a "healthier" you look like? Health Coach Lacey Starkey asks that question every day when LifeSynch members call for coaching on issues like weight loss, quitting tobacco, stress, back care, nutrition, preventive care and other health concerns. Depending on their health plan, members may call, instant message or e-mail Starkey for coaching sessions.

As a health coach, she's their sounding board and inspiration. "I like working with the members one-on-one and watching them change from the first call to the fifth," she said. She also brings health expertise backed by a master's in health education and a bachelor's degree in exercise science.

Visualizing Success

Starkey says visualizing success is the first step toward changing behaviors. "You have to ask yourself, 'How do you want to be?' See yourself crossing the 5K line or reaching for the banana instead of the candy bar," she said. "You have to see yourself doing it first."

Next, she asks them to focus on the small steps that lead to bigger rewards. "I try to get them to make small changes at a time. Instead of ‘I'm going to lose 75 pounds,' I ask them to focus on what you are going to do this month?"

To improve the odds for success, she works with members to help them tackle temptations and obstacles that could otherwise sideline their efforts. "I want members to have a plan of action for every possible situation – at work, at home and out with friends."

Realizing Success

To succeed, members need to understand what works for them as individuals, Starkey said. During coaching sessions, she asks a series of questions about goals, preferences and confidence in achieving those goals. This "motivational" approach encourages members to make decisions about how they will measure their own success. "I want to find out what works for each member," she said. "It's never the same."

It's in the Stats

Studies show that health coaching helps members lose weight and feel better. Survey respondents participating in a wellness coaching program reported that of those attempting to lose weight:

  • Seventy-two percent of respondents said they'd lost weight in the first 30 days of beginning the program.*
  • Productivity impairment was cut in half when they worked toward their weight-loss goals with a health coach vs. without.*

*Note: Actual results may vary by participant and/or across member populations. Not all participants respond to surveys at each interval. The results reflect the proportion of respondents at each interval, rather than the percent of all members who completed an initial survey.

Interested in Trying Health Coaching?

To find out if you qualify for health coaching at no cost to you as part of a wellness program, contact your human resources department.

Courtesy of Humana