On becoming a health coach

From Healthcare to Health Coach…

Once upon a time a good friend and I were having a conversation about some stressful, difficult stuff and she said…”Heather, you always know what to say to help me understand where I’m at and where I want to be. You should be a life coach” Cue the nervous awkward laughter and deflection of praise. My honest first thought was a life coach, no way, I’m a pharmacist. I’ve trained as a pharmacist. I have a college degree and everything! Yet, deep down those words “you should be a coach” rang true. They connected with me in my gut and in my heart. Truthfully, the people I’ve always admired most have been my teachers, my mentors, my COACHES on my own life and wellness journey.

At about the same time I was privileged to be introduced to a concept known as motivational interviewing by a behavioral psychologist, Sheri Pruitt, Ph.D. Aside from having an amazing personality, constant enthusiasm and a fantastic smile Sheri wrote two wonderful books, co-authored with Joshua Klapow Ph.D. Living SMART: Five Essential Skills To Change Your Health Habits Forever and Stop Telling Me What Tell Me How!: The Simple Answer to Better Health. Sheri was working at the same large health system that I was at the time. She firmly believed that we had a huge opportunity to change the way we communicate with our patients to make more meaningful, sustainable, positive changes to their health and wellness. Sheri designed and taught a series of seminars on how to make motivational interviewing an easy part of every patient consultation. I started using what I learned in my patient appointments and was completely hooked. The response and success I started seeing my patients experience was phenomenal! People stuck in bad habits that were making them sicker for years were suddenly turning the corner, breaking bad habits, and making new healthy habits. More importantly, they were experiencing renewed HOPE for the possibilities of their future and were inspired to continue to live intentionally well. Having a coaching conversation with my patients was a far greater gift to give than the clinical problem-solving medical advice I had been trained to provide. I am forever grateful to have had the opportunity to work with Sheri, her teaching changed my life and the lives of my patients for the better.

The more I learned about coaching conversations the more I wanted to share it with others. I began encouraging all of my colleagues to try it and spent time learning as much as I could about it. I enrolled in the Wellcoaches School of Health and Wellness Coaching, 18-week Core Coach Training Program. The program is designed specifically for health professionals and is endorsed by the American College of Sports Medicine. At the time my intent was to complete the program for the continuing education credits and learn more about my new professional passion. Since I was also working a full-time job as a clinical pharmacist and am a mother of two elementary aged kiddos my time was limited. I got up at 4:45 am every Tuesday for 18 weeks to participate in the tele-class which required active participation in learning exercises. (Yes you read that right, 4:45am) However, I didn’t regret a minute of my foregone sleep for those early morning classes. I soon realized that this was going to be more than just some continuing education hours. I committed to completing the course and then went on to pursue my credential as a Certified Health and Wellness Coach.

During my 16 years as a clinical pharmacist, the most fulfilling experiences in my career have been when I am coaching. Coaching my patients to live their wellness as they cope with chronic diseases. Coaching my pharmacy students and residents as they grow their knowledge, skills, and enthusiasm for their chosen profession. Coaching my work colleagues as they navigated professional challenges and growing pains. Coaching my friends and family on the ever-moving, ever-changing road of life. Coaching my kid’s soccer team (who knew it would be so rewarding and fun!). This is where I make a meaningful difference in the world, Coaching.

I’ve also known that I am a designer and educator (and officially earned my Certified Diabetes Educator credential in 2005). I am passionate about education, specifically education that informs and is fun. I have experience teaching formal lectures at Colleges of Pharmacy, Continuing Education seminars for health professionals, and health education classes for people living with Diabetes. I LOVE teaching and create each lesson with reverent intention to meet the audience’s needs. I knew that I could combine my love of coaching with my love of teaching and make a difference designing meaningful health education programs. I wanted to create eCourses that provide valuable information about health while at the same time inspiring learners to tap into their motivation and take action to live uniquely well.

It was time to make a brave leap. Step back from my roots in healthcare and step forward as a coach in wellness care. So, in October 2017 Hopeful Wellness was born.

I chose to create Hopeful Wellness as a coaching and resource service for people wanting to define their wellness, design their journey, reach their success, and simply BE WELL. I’m humbled by the powerful positive impact of coaching, proud to serve as a professional coach and grateful to be a part of your wellness success stories.

Wondering if Coaching can help you reach your wellness goals?  The answer is YES. Read more here.

Want to have fun learning more about your health from the comfort of your home?  Read more about Hopeful Wellness eCourses here.

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