Q and A with Health Coach Katie Schwartz

UW Health Wellness health coach Katie Schwartz.


Wellness at UW Health at The American Center offers a goal-oriented approach to health coaching. 


As a certified Wellcoach and Kripalu Yoga instructor with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Katie Schwartz brings a well-rounded perspective to health and well-being. In the Q and A below she discusses health coaching and its benefits.


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What is health coaching?


Health coaching is a partnership between a client and a coach that inspires and supports the achievement of health goals through lifestyle and positive behavior change. Through a growth-promoting relationship, health coaches meet clients where they are, to elicit self-motivation and increase confidence in the client’s capacity to grow and move towards desired goals in a fulfilling manner.


Coaches are collaborative and co-creative partners in the clients’ journeys to discover and reach their visions and goals, to facilitate healthy lifestyles choices and foster well-being.


What kinds of issues do you discuss?


Examples of questions you and your health coach may explore during coaching sessions include:

  • What is working in your life and what would you like to see change?
  • What are some strengths and values you possess that you can draw from to leverage and move forward?
  • What are the structures (environment, frameworks, relationships, routines) that would enable you to be successful with health goals?
  • How willing are you to commit to the coaching process?
  • What is the ultimate goal for behavior change and what does it mean to you?
  • Why do you want to try and change a behavior?
  • Why shouldn’t I try to change behavior?
  • What health-promoting, life-giving behaviors do you want to do consistently?
  • What core strengths support you in your journey to your dream, vision, wishes?
  • What is the motivating force inspiring you to change now?

Do people have apprehensions about using a health coach? If so, why?


Health coaching is relatively new to the field of Wellness. While health coaching is based on comprehensive research and behavior change modeling, the process can be unfamiliar. The client must be ready to be honest with themselves, allow vulnerability, and accept change to grow. Facing these circumstances can be an uncomfortable and challenging.


What are the governing principles of your work as a health coach?


I enable my clients to identify their vision and plan, and I use positive psychology to help clients connect with their motivation, values and beliefs. I engage in active listening to observe clients with empathy, without judgment. I assist clients in identifying needs and developing their strengths to nurture positive lifestyle habits. I use a personalized learning system that enables people to find their own answers to foster autonomy.


There is a difference between coaching and teaching. Teachers have information, expertise and wisdom they teach their students. Coaches encourage and enable clients to discover their own answers. The coaching relationship is built from the foundation of compassion, empathy, warmth, affirmation, courage, authenticity, calm, playfulness, zest and a mindful coaching presence.


What kinds of issues do you discuss during health coaching sessions?


There is a wide range of topics covered in health coaching. I always allow the client to bring focus to the conversation. It is important as a coach to follow the client's lead. Some examples include time and energy management, sleep and stress management, life satisfaction, life balance, exercise and nutrition, and relationships.


You’re also a yoga instructor. Is there any crossover between the two?


Yes, as a yoga teacher we must become stewards of the trust students place in us, just like health coaching. It is essential in the role of a teacher/coach to have a high level of personal integrity and seek to maintain clear boundaries. It is my responsibility to create a safe and sacred space for people to relax into their own learning process. In both roles, I support students and clients in their own personal exploration and am committed to fostering integrity, compassion, self-awareness and freedom in their bodies and minds.


What are the benefits of using a health coach?


To recenter and connect with internal motivation. It can help you become more self-aware and find your own inner voice, and develop and practice good self-care. Health coaching empowers you to create positive changes and identify behaviors that compromise your best self and also identify behaviors that promote health and well-being. It helps to have a positive, supportive, accountable person in your life to support you in co-creating a healthier lifestyle.


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Date Published: 04/20/2016

News tag(s):  healthy mindswellness

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