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  • Writer's picturePenny Kehagioglou

Health Coaching with a Functional Medicine Perspective

As a doctor and health coach, I quote the following purpose in my coaching practice:

Health Coaching for me is a means to

“Improve lives by prioritising health and wellbeing, motivating people to be the best they can possibly be in their personal and professional lives”

Health coaching is a unique discipline that enables behavioural change around key lifestyle aspects, empowering people to achieve their personal and professional goals by focusing on their health and wellbeing. Working with a health coach can benefit people at all life stages, whether it is about:

· prevention and health optimisation;

· overcoming a major illness such as cancer;

· managing a chronic health condition;

· balancing work, family and life in general;

· building relationships and social network;

· dealing with stress;

· overcoming addictions;

· developing personally and professionally

In addition, engaging with health coaching can not only improve individual lives but collectively, can lead to better health for our communities and populations.

We all do at times make attempts to change the way we eat and go for healthier choices, or we stop drinking and smoking for a while, go to bed a bit earlier and do some exercise over the weekend. But, more often than not, those attempts are short-lasting because of other work and life pressures which take priority. Health coaching can help people make small and steady steps towards achieving their nutrition and exercise goals, overcoming addictions, boosting their confidence and resilience at work and when dealing with challenging life events.

Adding the Functional Medicine component into Health coaching can transform the coaching approach. My training in Applied Functional Medicine and FM Coaching enables me to coach people through their in-depth understanding of the root cause of their health conditions, lifestyle behaviours and approach to life events. Through education and understanding of how mind and body works for individual people, there are multiple opportunities for change behaviour, based on individual values and strengths.

I am a strong advocate for health coaching because I have seen the benefits it has in improving people’s lives in multiple ways, complementing traditional medicine. I have the privilege of working in the complex UK healthcare system and in various leadership positions and I can confidently say that health coaching has a role in clinical practice, public health, integrated care, team and organisational resilience, workforce health and wellbeing, lifestyle education and training, digital health and research programmes.

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