Health Coaching Program Philosophy

The philosophy of our education program and that of professional health coaching practice is one of holism. Health Coaches help people connect their life’s experience to the well-being of mind, body and spirit. Health Coaches meet people wherever they currently are in life and serve intuitively as a guide and a facilitator in their process of healing and growth. Health is defined in the broadest sense of the word, as it involves a person’s whole life, including physical, intellectual, emotional, energetic, and spiritual aspects. Many successful lifestyle or behavioral changes require a supportive structure and relationship, which can effectively be provided by a Health Coach.

Although Health Coaches do not diagnose or treat illness, they can assist those with pathological conditions to enhance their health and change their lifestyle patterns. This assistance includes necessary referrals and the assembly of an optimal, interdisciplinary healthcare team. The ability to perform this function requires that a Health Coach have a comfortable working knowledge of and vocabulary in both conventional and complementary healthcare. Ideally, they can work preventatively with individuals to address optimal life choices and paths prior to the occurrence of any physical or mental pathology.

A Philosophy of Transformation

Our educational and teaching philosophy is based on transformation. In general, the educational philosophy of contemporary education has become a transactional model – an exchange – where the student has expectations that tuition was paid in exchange for information. Along with this comes an expectation of being handed the “educational experience”. In comparison, in a transformative model the student is self-responsible, engaged in learning, and is being changed by the process of learning. This demands dedication to their own process, as well as to conventional mental assimilation of didactic information. We believe that this approach is not only essential to becoming an effective and excellent health coach, but that it provides a richer and more timeless educational experience. In order to support such a process, students receive 3 hrs per semester of outside health coaching from a professional health coach throughout the training program, encouraging and facilitating their own personal growth and transformation.

Varied Practice Settings

Health Coaches are trained to work in a multitude of practice settings and delivery models, including hospitals, clinics, health educational facilities, private practice (via both phone and in person sessions), corporations, and schools. While they work in collaboration with practitioners in all disciplines, they do not duplicate the work of psychotherapists, counselors, social workers, case managers, or spiritual directors. Other types of coaches – like life coaches, executive coaches or personal trainers – have certain areas which may overlap in skills, but do not have the full range of training and capabilities of Health Coaches, nor do they focus specifically on health and holism. Through the empowerment, support and education of consumers, Health Coaches will facilitate the evolution of our healthcare system.

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Information Sessions for Fall 2018 Applicants

  • Tuesday, February 20, 6:00-7:30, East Bank campus, Mayo D-199

View our online information sessions

Contact Christina Owen at clowen@umn.edu or 612-624-3399 for more information and to RSVP.