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November 12, 2013, 12:00AM PT in Exam Preparation Blog  |  0 Comments

Health Coach Helper: Lesson 2

ACE Health CoachIn my previous Health Coach Helper article, I covered the key takeaways from Lesson One. This next portion of material really dives into behavior and all of the different factors related to why someone may or may not be motivated to make these behavior changes. Motivation is a very fluid thing, meaning that it varies from person to person and from situation to situation. This lesson discusses how a Health Coach can facilitate a transformation by utilizing his or her skills to ultimately teach clients to be motivated to take responsibility for unhealthy habits and replace them with healthier ones.

Lesson 2

This section in Academy Select (again, don’t worry if you don’t have the program) includes chapters 3, 14 and 18, and each chapter elaborated on a different aspect of behavior. What I got out of these chapters is that no one person will ever be coached the same! Everyone is influenced by a variety of factors and those factors impact each person differently, so a health coach really needs to recognize these individual differences to best assist his or her clients.

I used the same process as last time to go through the material (using the Master the Manual, videos, etc.), except this time I watched the videos twice—once before I read the chapters and once after. I think it really helped because with these different models and theories it took a couple times to get it straight. Repetition really does work—your muscles are proof of that! Also, I can’t stress enough how helpful the “Think It Through” sections are! They give you real-life applications of the information presented, and they challenge you to explore the different options one might have and what is going to be BEST option for any given scenario.

Key Points Chapter 3: Health Behavior Science

-Determinant of Behavior - Operant conditioning (antecedent, behaviors and the response consequences), habit, and social and individual factors (personality and cognitive factors).

-Behavioral Theory Model: Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change (TTM) - When it comes to these stages there are three goals: 1) to understand how to determine how ready one is to adhere to this change; 2) what the goal is of working with someone in this stage; and 3) the strategies you would use to progress them to the next stage. For example, someone in precontemplation has not even begun to view exercise as something valuable to them, so encouraging them to exercise is unlikely to resonate. In other words, you need to make inactivity relevant to their health in order to get them to think about making a change. Figure 3-1 on page 60 is a great resource and suggests some great strategies you can use to achieve that goal.

-Health Belief Model - Perceived seriousness, perceived susceptibility and cue to action. It is essential to understand how PERCEPTION shapes a client’s motivation. For example, if two individuals are prehypertensive (blood pressure 120-139/80-89), and one perceives this as a very serious condition that he is highly susceptible to developing, he is going to be motivated to change. The other individual, however, might not see it as that big of a deal and would not see this as a cause for change.

-Promoting Behavior Change and Adherence and Motivation – Communication, relapse prevention, behavioral modification, and cognitive behavioral techniques and self-efficacy (6 sources of self-efficacy—pages 64-65).

Key Points Chapter 14: Lifestyle Modification and Behavior Change

-Socio-Ecological Model (SEM) - Understand why someone’s surrounding culture affects his or her health. How could public policy, communities, schools, interpersonal relationships and individual traits either positively or negatively influence an individual’s motivation to be active or eat a healthy diet (or visa versa)?

-5 Categories of Motivation and 3 Factors That Guide Human Development

-Creating Realistic Goals and Expectations - Educate clients on realistic weight loss and goals to help them avoid false-hope syndrome and planning fallacy. Also, be sure to address stress management.

-Lifestyle Modification Strategies - Realistic goals, increase self-efficacy, finding social support and implementing various self-monitoring techniques

Key Points Chapter 18: Helping Clients Establish Self-Reliance

-Active Spheres of Influence - Recreation activities, transportation, occupation, and household activities. How could you create new opportunities for physical activity and healthy diet option?

-Creating Self-Reliance - Strategies for establishing self-reliance. Components of realistic goals as described on page 538. Ultimately, the goal of the health coach is help their clients get to a place where they can MAINTAIN this new healthy lifestyle without relying on the health coach.

-Behavioral Contracts - Components that promote health-behavior maintenance. Figure 18-5 on page 541 is a great example.

-Different Tools and Strategies to Foster Success - Finding ways to cope with setbacks, reinforcing success, and using technology and other products to communicate and promote progress.

Thank you for reading my blog—I hope this information was helpful to you! In the next blog, I will cover chapters 6, 7 and 15. If you have any feedback on these blogs or if you have a study question, you can comment here or contact the Resource Center at 800-825-3636, Ext. 796, where our Study Coaches are ready to help 7 a.m.–6 p.m. PST, Monday-Friday.

By Jessie Newell


Jessie Newell is a Study Assistance Representative at ACE. Jessie earned her B.S. in Kinesiology: Fitness Specialist from San Diego State University and ACE Personal Training Certification in 2012. She also earned a Basic Hatha Yoga and Let It Go Yoga Certification through Let It Go Yoga in Santa Barbara, CA. She loves to learn and enjoys being continuously challenged by the questions of those she works with. The choice to pursue health and fitness stems from her two passions: helping people and science! Since she was 19 she worked in a Wellness Center setting and she saw the positive impact that an active lifestyle has on one’s well-being in action, and because of these, aspires to help others find their happiest and healthiest self through her knowledge in the wellness field.

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