The Maximus Health Coaching service: Helen’s story

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Maximus’ Health Coaching Service is helping thousands of people around the country to make healthier choices and improve their wellbeing.

We spoke to Health Coaching participant Helen, from Unilever, to find out more about her interactions with the service and the difference it is making to her life.

How did you hear about Health Coaching and how were you referred?

I heard about Health Coaching through an initiative being offered through work. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was signing up for; but was interested to give it a try.

How would you describe health coaching to someone who was thinking of self-referring? Are there any elements of health coaching you found particularly helpful?

Health Coaching is an opportunity to work with somebody on a particular aspect of your health. The coach listens and tries to understand you, rather than lead you or tell you what to do. This allows you to make your own choices and decisions.

What have you achieved so far with the help of health coaching?

I went in with quite an optimistic view and had a couple of health aspects I was interested in exploring. The coaching conversations gave me space to work through my options and really think about what was important to me. My Health Coach and I built a trusting rapport really quickly. This created a sense of psychological safety, in that I wasn’t being judged and I felt at ease to openly discuss some of my thoughts, feelings and behaviours. My Health Coach helped me to consider alternative ways of looking at the situation and helped me to understand how and why I was using drinking to punctuate my week. The coaching conversations supported me to reframe some of that – and to work through some small changes I could make to rebalance my approach to alcohol. The change was pretty much instantaneous, reducing from three or four bottles of wine and quarter of a bottle of spirits a week, to only one bottle of wine per week. With support from my Health Coach, I reconsidered my choices, moved from red wine to white wine and brought soda into the mix. This helped to change my association with alcohol. The inclusion of soda makes my drinks last longer and somewhat dilute the alcohol taste, so that I have a different experience when I drink. These small changes have left me feeling more energetic on a day-to-day basis and have also helped me to take a balanced approached to change. By becoming more mindful of my choices I have been able to adopt a balanced approach to alcohol and I do not beat myself up if, on occasions I have an extra glass.

Is there anything that you have learned over the past few weeks that you will use beyond health coaching?

Being more mindful of my choices and actions has been really helpful. Understanding when ‘enough is enough’ has also impacted on how I approach food and eating. Losing weight was not a focus of the health coaching, but by reducing my alcohol consumption and being more conscious of all the ‘excesses’, I have also lost half a stone. I have started to ask myself, if I really need to eat all of that, or would half be enough to satisfy me? Do I need it? Can I reduce it? Could I share it?

What aspects of health coaching did you find the most rewarding?

There was something really helpful in the anonymity of health coaching. It created a safe space for me to be truthful to myself. The regular catch ups, encouragement and accountability also helped me focus and take the steps needed to make a change.

Is there anything that stands out as being game changing in terms of your journey with a Health Coach?

Health coaching provided space to focus on something that has been niggling and it was important to explore all the niggles to ensure I was choosing the right goal for me. It really helped with building my tools in evaluating my own health and wellbeing and then taking that first step in addressing the area that was important to me.

12 July, 2022