To test whether health coaching would enhance the effectiveness of lifestyle medical advice, the authors examined health impacts of adding coaching to an employee wellness program. Random assignment of 302 volunteers to three coaching treatments or a control preceded 3 to 6 months of weekly 30 to 40 minute telephonic coaching sessions. All participants initiated a wellness program providing exercise programming options. Blood pressure, body weight, resting heart rate, fitness score, health risk appraisal, cholesterol, and glucose were measured at baseline, and after 3 and 6 months of coaching. Data inspection via latent growth curve analyses and ANOVA revealed blood pressure to be positively affected by health coaching. All other variables responded positively to wellness programming but health coaching did not add further benefits. In women, greater readiness to change behavior was related to better health profile (for example, resting heart rate at baseline: bfemale = −3.13, p <.001; bmale =.32, p =.77). Readiness to change behavior is a potentially valuable coaching tool that may have gender differences deserving of further study. Health coaching, with the present approach, results in important but limited additional benefits (lower blood pressures) when utilized in a generally healthy employee population and in conjunction with a comprehensive wellness program (education, support, access to exercise programming).
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Applied Psychology
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health