The Evaluation is the Foundation!
If you’ve set health and wellness goals, you probably based them on a specific problem you’ve identified. Maybe your stress levels are causing you to lose sleep. Or your eating habits are making you feel sluggish. Or you’ve gained weight, and even a short bout of exercise leaves you winded.
Recognizing these problems is a start. But when it comes to health and wellness, you’re much more likely to reach your goals if you have a full picture of your health and wellness. So many factors affect your ability to make changes — often things you’re not even aware of!
That’s why when you work with a Health & Wellness Coach, the first step is completing a health & wellness evaluation. A health & wellness evaluation is an initial assessment of where your health and wellness currently stands.
Using a form, your Health & Wellness Coach will ask you questions covering everything from nutrition to exercise to lifestyle. Your answers to these questions will give you and your coach a better understanding of the “big picture” that’s needed to start creating a safe and effective plan.
Your evaluation may seem like a just formality before the “real” coaching starts — but it’ll actually serve as the foundation for the rest of your coaching sessions! That’s why it’s important to be honest and give it the time and attention it deserves.
What’s covered in a health & wellness evaluation?
Your health & wellness evaluation will cover a broad range of topics, such as:
Physical health. This includes any health issues, illnesses, injuries, medications, and tobacco use. It also includes your health history.
Mental and emotional health. This includes your emotional status, stress levels, support systems, personal losses or other life events, sleep patterns, and coping skills.
Energy. This includes an assessment of your energy levels throughout a typical day.
Physical exercise. This includes your exercise habits: if you exercise, how often you exercise, and the types of exercise.
Nutrition. This includes your eating habits, your water intake, and how often you drink alcohol.
General life satisfaction. This includes your sense of joy, purpose, work satisfaction, and personal relationship satisfaction.
By talking about these aspects of your health and wellness, you and your coach will start to uncover your strengths and weaknesses. You’ll be able to identify any obstacles you’ve encountered in the past in relation to your health and wellness. And you’ll start to get a sense of your readiness for change, too.
You’ll also have an initial discussion with your Health & Wellness Coach about your priorities and goals. But keep in mind that nothing you discuss in your initial meeting is set in stone! Your discussion will only serve as a guidepost to help you and your coach move forward.
Your initial evaluation is often a good time to discuss your preferred coaching approach with your coach as well.
Your coach will ask about your preferred learning style to efficiently tailor their coaching style to you. For example, some people learn best by listening. Others by observing. And others by trying things out for themselves. There are many other ways that people learn. If you know what works best for you, you should share it during your evaluation with your coach. If you don’t know your learning style, that’s OK, too. Your coach will help you figure out along the way how to best promote your learning and growth.
Why is a health & wellness evaluation important?
As noted above, your health & wellness evaluation is important because it provides a foundation for your future coaching sessions. After all, it’s impossible to plan where you should be going if you don’t know where you are, and where you’ve been!
Below are a few specific ways your evaluation can prepare you for a successful relationship with your coach.
A health & wellness evaluation gives you and your coach direction
Everyone has a different health and wellness journey. That means when you work with a Health & Wellness Coach, every coaching session must be tailored to your specific needs.
There are endless directions your coaching relationship could take you. But by completing a health & wellness evaluation, you and your coach will have a sense of the right direction. That’s because your evaluation will provide initial information about your:
Priorities. You may already know what your priorities are. If that’s the case, you can share them during your evaluation. For example, maybe you want to focus your coaching on reducing your stress levels first, then turn to nutritional habits. But if you’re not sure how to prioritize your goals, your evaluation can help you achieve clarity on that, too.
Strengths and weaknesses. A successful plan for achieving your goals will involve leveraging your strengths. It will also require you to address your weaknesses. By clearly identifying what those are, you and your coach can develop a safe and strategic health and wellness plan that’s tailored to your needs.
Confidence. It’s difficult to make meaningful changes until you believe that change is possible. Your action plan will look much different if you have high confidence in your ability to change than if you have no belief in your ability to change. Your evaluation will include an assessment of your confidence, so that your coach can work with you on shifting your mindset, if needed.
Readiness for change. Much like confidence, your readiness for change also affects your plan and how your coach will approach your relationship. If your readiness for change is low, your coach will need to adjust to help you move through the stages of readiness. This work is essential if you want to achieve long-term sustainable change.
Of course, your evaluation won’t give you and your coach everything you need to create a full roadmap. It’s only a starting point for exploration.
But you and your coach will at least be able to plan the first few action steps. That may include identifying obstacles you’ve encountered in the past, and how you might overcome them.
In later coaching sessions, you and your coach will continue to evaluate your plan and progress on an ongoing basis. In fact, regularly assessing the state of your health and wellness is just as important as the initial evaluation. That includes reviewing (and potentially revising) your goals and adjusting for any challenges you encounter along the way. These regular check-ins will help you “course correct” if needed.
To get the most out of your coaching sessions, it’s important to be open and honest with your coach during your evaluation.
That doesn’t mean you should worry if you make mistakes or misinterpret a question. Your coach knows that your evaluation is only the beginning of your journey together. And it’s part of their job to review your answers mindfully. Your answers will only serve as a guide for your work together.
In later coaching sessions, you’ll be able to explore the areas you want to focus on in much more depth. Over time, you’ll get even greater clarity on various aspects of your health and wellness.
An evaluation builds trust and rapport with your coach
The information you share in a health & wellness evaluation isn’t the only reason it’s important.
Your evaluation also marks the official beginning of your relationship with your Health & Wellness Coach.
When you start working with a coach, it’s normal to not feel entirely comfortable at first. Health and wellness topics are usually deeply personal. Answering certain questions may evoke feelings of shame, embarrassment, or even guilt. Or you may not be used to sharing personal information at all! Talking openly about thoughts and feelings is difficult for many people and that is something a Health & Wellness Coach understands and respects.
But when done right, your Health & Wellness Evaluation will help set the tone for your relationship.
From this very first assessment, your Health & Wellness Coach will encourage openness and honesty. They always make it a top priority to make you feel comfortable and cared for. This means that when you discuss your evaluation, they’ll show empathy and listen to you attentively. They’ll also allow you to share your thoughts freely and without judgment.
Your coach will share their own thoughts with openness and honesty, too. Modeling healthy expression in this way may help you open up if you struggle with sharing your own thoughts and feelings.
By conducting the evaluation in this way, hopefully you and your coach will begin to build trust and rapport. These ingredients are critical to a successful coaching relationship. Of course, trust is rarely instant. But your evaluation should at least set the stage for developing that trust over time.
A health & wellness evaluation helps identify issues that may require referrals
Working one-on-one with a Health & Wellness Coach can help many different people achieve lasting change. But in certain circumstances, you may need to resolve certain issues before moving ahead with a coaching program.
Your initial health & wellness evaluation can uncover these issues. Examples of these issues include, among others:
Certain health risks or injuries that require you to get a physician’s release before engaging in exercise
Serious physical or mental health issues are outside the scope of coaching. It’s not a good idea to try to move forward with coaching without addressing these issues first. If you do, your work with your coach is not likely to be as successful as it could be.
Your health & wellness evaluation will touch on many of these topics. If your evaluation uncovers an issue that your Health & Wellness Coach feels a medical or mental health professional should handle, they’ll discuss that with you.
If you’re already working with other professionals, you can discuss whether now is the right time to move forward with coaching. Or if you’re not working with other professionals, your coach may be able to put you in touch with someone who can help you as soon as possible.
A health & wellness evaluation encourages self-discovery
Your health & wellness evaluation is key to helping your coach get to know you. But just as important, it can be eye-opening for you, too.
Progress towards your health and wellness goals depends on you digging deep and shifting your beliefs about what’s possible. This is work that you (and not your coach) must do. And it can start with your evaluation.
During your assessment, you’ll have to truthfully answer questions about your habits and choices. You’ll also need to think about your needs, values, priorities, and challenges. When you take the evaluation seriously, these kinds of questions evoke self-discovery.
Self-discovery is a process that never really ends. But by thinking through your responses to the evaluation, you can start becoming more self-aware. You can start to identify your strengths and weaknesses. And you can start to get clarity on what health and wellbeing mean to you.
Thinking about these questions and your responses will also help you develop short- and long-term goals — whether that’s weight loss, improving energy, reducing stress, or other goals.
In this way, assessments begin the coaching process before you’ve even had your first official coaching session. It sets the tone for learning and growth. That includes building up the self-esteem and confidence that will enable you to make positive, lasting changes.
Start your health & wellness journey with an evaluation today
To create a plan with the best chances of success, you and your coach must have a solid picture of the context in which you’re trying to make changes.
That’s why your initial health & wellness evaluation is such an indispensable part of your health and wellness journey. It sets the groundwork for everything that comes after. Skipping this step or not answering honestly could significantly decrease your chances of making meaningful progress.
Of course, as you work with your Health & Wellness Coach, you’ll continue to evaluate your goals and progress on a regular basis. But to start off on the right foot, you should truthfully complete a health and wellness evaluation as the first step towards making a healthy lifestyle change.