work with virtual health coach

If you read my series about what does a health coach do and how a health coach is different from a personal trainer, you might be interested in pursuing this kind of support on your wellness journey.  If you’re worried about making time for health coaching appointments or there’s not a health coach near you that you click with, working with a virtual health coach can be a great option.

What is the process of starting to work with a virtual health coach?

First, you identify someone who you think you would work well with. Perhaps you have a friend who works with a virtual health coach who she recommends. Or maybe you have been reading a health coach’s blog or social media for a while, and you feel like they are really speaking to you.

Make sure you read the About Me page of the health coach’s website or blog. This can give you a good sense of if they’ll respect your point of view and experiences. If you’re a busy mom with kid activities and family logistics at the forefront of your life, a twentysomething guy probably isn’t the best match for you! Finding a virtual health coach who has a specialty that aligns with your needs– especially for perinatal and perimenopausal women– will help you get the most from your working relationship.

Once you’ve found someone you feel is a good fit, contact the health coach via email. There’s almost always a contact form available for you to do so. (If there isn’t, that should be a red flag for you!) Introduce yourself and give a short synopsis of why you’re pursuing health coaching.

The virtual health coach should respond promptly. If they take more than 24 hours to respond and don’t have a good reason, move along. Your time is valuable!

When I respond to inquiries, I include a link to my website that describes my virtual coaching packages and terms & conditions. I offer the person inquiring a complimentary 15-minute discovery call to further help determine if we are a good fit. During this call we chat a bit about motivation for seeking support, goals, and likes & dislikes regarding healthy habits. I include the link to my calendar in this response email so people can schedule the call right away.

Friendly reminder: A quality virtual health coach will not judge you! Don’t feel anxious if you think you’re not fit enough, skinny enough, or good enough to work with a coach. That’s why we do what we do! We are all just real people with a passion for helping others feel fabulous and be healthy!

After the discovery call, if we decide we want to move forward to work together, I send the new client all of the enrollment forms. I require all of my clients to complete a health history and several industry-grade screening questionnaires. There is also a set of reflection questions to capture the whys of working together. After this paperwork has been completed and payment has been made, I send the client a new link to my calendar to schedule the first virtual health coaching session. The client also receives my private ZOOM chatroom for our web-based sessions.

What should I expect when working with my virtual health coach?

Most importantly, you should expect support.

This does not mean that your virtual health coach will validate your sugar cereal for breakfast and pint of ice cream on the couch at night habits. However, it does mean that she should be empathetic towards the difficulty of making lifestyle changes. She should offer you multiple ways to create positive changes in your life. And ZERO judgement.

Each 30-minute coaching session begins with a review of goals and homework. There is discussion about what went well and what was challenging. Clients are encouraged to keep a journal so daily fitness & nutrition notes can be reviewed. The more specific information about “input” the coach receives, the more precise and actionable the coaching advice can be.

Clients ask any questions regarding their journey of building healthy habits. Remember that health coaches may give nutrition advice but are not qualified to write meal plans for clients. This is not only potentially dangerous for clients, but it is illegal in most US states. (Seek a registered dietitian if you require a complete meal-by-meal plan with nutrient ratios.)

Next we move into exercise direction and spend about 10-15 minutes of each call going through specific exercises. Ensuring proper form is critical, so I like to be able to watch my clients and offer verbal cues as they move. We discuss what workouts were easy and which were hard. Getting this information– as well as daily energy levels– helps me to develop the proper fitness program for each client.

We end each session with an outline of the homework and a restatement of goals for the upcoming week.

What will my virtual health coach do for me in between sessions?

The answer to this question varies widely, and you should have determined what your virtual health coach will do for you in between sessions during the discovery call.

After each session, I send my clients a quick email recap. For sessions conducted via ZOOM– which almost all of mine are– I also send them the video recording of the session.

I am available to my clients via text or email at all times. I will respond to them as soon as possible, but always within 24 hours.

For clients who like daily accountability, I will send a daily check in text to see how they’re doing. It’s a great friendly reminder that helps them stay on track.

Working with a virtual health coach helps people stay on track with their fitness and wellness goals. By having a trusted, knowledgeable resource, clients confidently build realistic, sustainable healthy habits. Having happy, healthy, whole clients is what health coaches love!

Curious about what virtual health coaching could do for you? I’m hosting a giveaway of one month of virtual health coaching– 4 30-minute weekly sessions for April 2018. ($120 value) Enter now!

 

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Make sure you’re on my mailing list! Winner announced on Friday, March 30, 2018. Good luck!

 

Virtual Health Coach: What to Expect as a Client

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