Wellness Coaching is a service designed to help people identify and pursue a change they would like to make in an area of wellness. A Wellness Coach does not give advice; rather, the coach works collaboratively with the coachee (the person wanting to make the change or health improvement) to help him/her through a systematic process.
You can learn more about Wellness Coaching from the articles below, from the Words of Wellness articles on the "newsletter articles" tab, and from the Wellness Coaching Page of the UMDNJ Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Counseling Professions.
What Wellness is …And How Might a Coach Help
Ideas of wellness and balance have been around for centuries. In 1961, Halbert Dunn started lecturing and writing articles about an idea he called “high level wellness.” Dr. Dunn stressed the importance of mind/body/spirit connections, the need for satisfactions and valued purposes, and a view of health as dramatically more than non-illness. He coined the term “high level wellness,” and defined it as “an integrated method of functioning of which the individual is capable within the environment.”
People everywhere are taking about and focusing on wellness, and the term “wellness center” is applied to a wide variety of programs and facilities in the community. Within our mental health community, we developed and follow the eight-dimension wellness model depicted above. Our institute has been at the forefront of developing and refining that model. We are also in the role of helping to develop, refine, and research the model of Wellness Coaching.
Wellness Coaching is a service designed to help people identify and pursue a change they would like to make in an area of wellness. A Wellness Coach does not give advice; rather, the coach works collaboratively with the coachee (the person wanting to make the change or health improvement) to help him/her through a systematic process, using the following steps:
The coach brings to the table expertise in following the steps of wellness coaching, tools for behavior change, and skill in communicating and allying with the coachee. The coachee brings the rest – desire, knowledge, experience. Wellness Coaching is time-limited; a few early face-to-face sessions will be followed with about 9-12 telephone follow-ups. Therefore, people do not use Wellness Coaching to address long-term changes from start to finish, but rather to get started on something, and build the habits, routines, and self-accountability they will need to sustain the change.
It might be helpful to think about the specific kinds of things a person might come to a coach for. Quitting a habit is a good example (it’s hard to find a person who does not have or did not used to have a habit they consider not so healthy). A person might start by saying s/he wants to give up smoking. The coach would help the person explore options (“cold turkey,” nicotine replacement, other medication assistance, support group, hypnotherapy, etc.—either separately or in various combinations). If the person says s/he has seen friends succeed using nicotine patches, and wants to try that approach, the coach would then help the person set the steps for finding out what helps others along with the patch, what schedule seems to be recommended, and so on.
Coach and coachee would also explore barriers. If the person shared that previous quitting attempts have fallen apart during times of overtime or high pressure at work, together they would brainstorm “healthy replacement” ideas for getting through stressful shifts. Follow-along telephone sessions would involve exploring and trying to overcome obstacles that arise, helping the coachee stick to accountability for following the “patch plan,” and finally helping the coachee transition from accountability to the coach to accountability to him or herself.
Other physical wellness dimension areas where people often seek coaching include sleep improvement, increasing physical activity, better food choices, improving control of ongoing health conditions (e.g., diabetes, high blood pressure asthma, chronic pain or chronic fatigue), or increasing/resuming use of medical or dental care. Wellness Coaching can be helpful in other dimensions, so, for example, a person might see a coach to take steps to go back to school (intellectual), find and keep a job (occupational), better relationships with family or friends (social), plan and follow a budget (financial), reduce clutter (environmental), or get into a regular routine of mindfulness meditation (spiritual, emotional, & physical).
A quick web search for “wellness coaching” reveals a dizzying array of options. In this relatively new field, Wellness Coaches come with a wide variety of backgrounds, including therapists, nurses, and physical trainers. Many of the wellness coaches in our organization are peer wellness coaches, who specialize in combining their personal life experience living with a mental health and/or substance use disorder, some training in communication skills, and formal wellness coach training to bring both skill and empathy to their coaching role. In the future, we hope to be able to provide tips on finding and using the right Wellness Coach to help you set and achieve important health goals.
 This is the model adopted by the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
 Swarbrick, M. (2012). Introduction to Wellness Coaching. Freehold, NJ: Collaborative Support Programs of New Jersey, Inc., Institute for Wellness and Recovery Initiatives.
Collaborative Support Programs of New Jersey (CSP-NJ) and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, School of Health Related Professions, Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Counseling Professions partnered to develop and implement a Peer Wellness Coaching Initiative, using specifically trained mental health peer providers to help people choose and pursue initiatives around improving their physical health or other wellness goals. This Peer Wellness Coaching Supervisor Manual offers guidance to help introduce the Peer Wellness Coaching role, including supervisory and organizational strategies to maximize effectiveness.
To read the manual, please download the attachment to this article (Adobe Acrobat Reader needed).
NY Times: From Mental Health Patient to Wellness Coach
To read the article, please visit: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/29/nyregion/29neediest.html?_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss
Goal setting worksheet
What do you want to achieve? Name your goal below:
Describe your goal, being as specific as possible:
Set a deadline for the completion of your goal:
Tell why you want to achieve this goal:
List the obstacles in your way, and how you plan to overcome them:
Recognize three qualities you have which will help you reach your goal:
This homemade goal setting worksheet will help you plan and follow through on achieving your goal. Also see the SMART goal setting page for more tips on how to set and achieve goals!