Health Coaching How-to

Posted by: Eileen Fallis
Date: April 19, 2018

Helping employers turn “I can’t” to “What a difference!”

There are four top reasons why employers shy away from health coaching for their employees: Too busy to think about it … don’t know how to get started … not enough money in the budget … or, not sure there’ll be a return on investment.

I will break down each of these roadblocks, demonstrating that investment in health coaching is an integral business strategy in today’s competitive market.

Not just any old coaching program

First, let’s be clear about the kind of health coaching we’re talking about. A quality program does not instruct employees, prescribe activities, or come in a one-size-fits-all format. It’s customized, addressing the specific health status of your employees and the environment at your workplace. A quality program is based on evidence and education, delivered by credentialed professionals who have extensive experience in behavior change – the core of effective health coaching.

This is how a board-certified health coach from BeneFIT Corporate Wellness describes why the firm’s program is effective and sustainable:

“We like to see ourselves as passengers in the front seat of a car that the employee is driving. He or she determines the route based on what they specifically want to accomplish, and we help navigate – without prescribing, coaxing, or judging. We are present to encourage and support the experience, while the employee derives motivation from his or her own internal resources and desire for change.”

Programs that are worth the investment also provide aggregate reporting, so that employers can learn from, and evaluate, the health risks within their company population. This gives them the ability to plan on-site company activities or educational outreach to encourage healthy habits. Employers that work to improve their workplace culture are rewarded with a healthier workforce, which is associated with higher productivity, less absenteeism, better morale and satisfaction, and in some cases, can impact health care spending.

Overcoming the obstacles

As for the four most common reasons that cause employers to hesitate about health coaching? Here’s how to jump the hurdles one at a time:

  • “Sounds good, but I have zero time to devote to this.”
    A good program will handle everything for you, from initial health assessments of your employees to post-program results reporting and analysis. Coaching is convenient, delivered via phone and online, and offers easily accessed avenues for employees to self-manage through an online wellness portal. There’s hardly anything for the employer to do.
  • “I have no idea where to start.”
    That’s OK. Because everyone starts at their own pace, based on readiness. Good programs are individual, and designed to suit any size company, in any industry, and at any stage of health status. A great place to begin investigating is to schedule a brief introductory conversation to learn exactly what a company offers, how it will be managed, and how it can work for your employees. It will take very little of your time!
  • “Our budget is really tight this year.”
    Value of Investment (VOI) is the key phrase in wellness. The cost of employees with chronic illnesses compared to those who are in good health can be eye-opening, with costs multiplying if conditions remain unaddressed. Employers who commit to establishing a healthier work culture – starting now – can see good results over time. To meet the needs of cost-conscious employers, quality coaching programs offer a range of choices at varying engagement levels and price points.
  • “Will I see a return on my investment?”
    Besides VOI mentioned above, healthier employees simply equal healthier business. This statement has been tested in numerous research studies, and provides employers with one of the best pay-backs possible: Optimizing the productivity of your workforce. When there is a commitment by leadership to long-term results, quality health coaching can be a practical tool for getting there. Take a look at these results:

    • Employees at a small eastern Pennsylvania company who participated in health coaching for two consecutive years lost a combined total of 1,300 pounds.(1)
    • At another company, 15 percent of participants shifted into a healthy blood pressure range in just the second year of program implementation.(1)
    • Results from research studies reveal better weight management, increased physical activity, and improved physical and mental health status as a result of participation in health coaching.(2)
    • One study showed a 20 percent increase in being “very satisfied with physical activity levels,” and almost a 13 percent increase in “limiting fats in food” among coaching participants.(3)

For more information about how health coaching can become your next big business asset, contact me here.


(1) BeneFIT Corporate Wellness data

(2) The effects of health coaching on adult patients with chronic diseases: A systematic review. PEC Journal. http://www.pec-journal.com/article/S0738-3991(14)00300-0/abstract

(3) Glob Adv Health Med. 2013 May; 2(3): 40–47. Published online 2013 May 1. doi:  10.7453/gahmj.2013.039. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3833538/