Why Have a Coach? The Science of Behavior Change Coaching

Lis Swihart, Arivale Coach, MS CN
Lis Swihart
Arivale Coach, MS CN

We often hear from people interested in Arivale’s wellness and weight loss programs, “I’m interested in the data … but I’m just not sure I need a personal wellness coach.”

It makes sense to wonder—few of us have ever worked one-on-one with a dedicated coach, let alone for a full year (and beyond).

While Arivale’s program is rooted in data from your genetics, blood, saliva, gut microbiome, and lifestyle, data is not our sole focus—outcomes are. And to achieve outcomes, we need to change behaviors.

Data alone often is not enough to change behaviors. In fact, a recent review article—which focused on 18 studies reporting the impact of communicating genetic risk on behavioral outcomes such as diet, physical activity, or smoking cessation—concluded that communicating genetic risk doesn’t change lifestyle behavior.

Changing behavior is a difficult and complex proposition. There are many reasons why people don’t change behavior. They might not have the necessary skills or a supportive environment. They might also have strongly entrenched habits or not truly understand the benefits of changing their behavior.

This is why Arivale emphasizes that personalized coaching has to go hand in hand with personalized data for behavior change to happen. At Arivale, clinicians trained in nutrition, genetics, health science, and behavior change work to educate members about their data, identify the goals of each member and discover barriers that impede change. They then help each member take manageable steps toward their own scientific wellness health goals and develop healthy behaviors that set each person on their journeys toward optimal wellness.

With a skilled coach to educate, support, prioritize recommendations and hold us accountable, behavior change informed by systems-based data is possible.

With that, let’s explore the role your personal Arivale Coach will take on your scientific path to wellness.

Coaches educate.

Once your data comes in, your Arivale Coach will take lots of time to answer your questions and help you make sense of it all. As a Coach, I take my time making sure you understand what your data says about you and how this might make sense in the light of your family history and genes. We want you to understand the significance of this information so that it becomes useful and actionable to you.

Coaches put data into action.

Your Coach will help bridge the gap between data and action. It is one thing to be told you have high cholesterol. It’s another to be told that you have high cholesterol, be guided through genetic variants that might be impacting your lipid profile, and then offered a few simple diet and lifestyle changes to make each month which seem reasonable to you.

We figure out what might need to change in your life to promote improved wellness and provide you with the evidence—in the form of updated data—that your efforts really do make a difference in your wellness.

Perhaps most importantly, coaches make change manageable. We break it down into small enough steps for you to adapt and develop new habits.

Coaches hold you accountable.

Likely, your life is fairly busy, and changes can be hard to make when other things come up. Your Arivale Coach will figure out which ways to help you reach your goals by being in frequent contact, discovering barriers to changing your behavior, and helping you put strategies in place that make change possible and successful.

We don’t expect you to be perfect. Letting your Coach know which steps are easy for you and which ones you seem to avoid are ways you can keep moving forward toward your goals when change seems challenging. Your Arivale Coach is here to help you succeed.

At Arivale, we know coaching involves working through unhelpful thoughts and beliefs, developing beneficial behaviors, and finding tools to manage stress in successful ways.1 We do this and so much more. Our Coaches will help you unlock your potential for achieving your goals so that you can do the things you dream of doing in life.

Want to learn more? Meet some of the Arivale Coaches here.


References
  1. Neenan, M. (2008) From Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) to Cognitive Behaviour Coaching (CBC). J Rat-Emo Cognitive-Behav Ther, 26, 3–15