Personal change agents—Understanding the role of a health coach with Chris Kresser

It’s your Salvo Health Coach who is able to help you fit your Care Plan into your routine.


August 2, 2022

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November 20, 2023

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Clinical Advisory Board
From Our Health Coaches
From Our Health Coaches
Whole Self Science
Whole Self Science

People who live with chronic GI conditions often know that they need a doctor to figure out why they’re in pain—someone who can diagnose them, start them on medication or supplements, and advise them on any major behavioral changes they need to make. What’s tough is taking the advice of a doctor and making it fit into your busy lifestyle in order to treat your chronic condition all on your own. That’s where a health coach comes in. 

For example, a Salvo Health doctor can help you figure out a diagnosis, examine your symptoms, and alongside an entire Care Team, craft you a personalized Care Plan—one that recommends a FODMAP elimination process to figure out your food intolerances. It’s your Salvo Health Coach who is able to help you fit your Care Plan into your routine. 

What is a health coach exactly?

Chris Kresser, co-founder of the California Center for Functional Medicine and the founder of Kresser Institute, describes the role of a Salvo Health coach perfectly: “A health coach is trained as a change agent. They are there to facilitate and support change.” 

By the Kresser Institute’s definition, health coaches are experts on human behavior, motivation, and health. They work with their clients to help them understand their motivation to change, inspire that change, and form healthier habits and relationships. These things help create permanence. 

A Salvo Health Coach in particular is a valuable partner to our members. They work alongside a member’s doctor to create a custom Care Plan based on the member’s symptoms and preferences, to make sure it’s actionable and relevant to what’s important to them. And that relevance piece matters; a health coach is interested in not only what you want to change, but why—the why is a powerful motivator even in challenging times. 

Once the Care Plan has been delivered, they connect with the member via the app’s chat feature, to help them put it into action in a way that works for them. From then on, they’re a continuous partner in the behavior change process, checking in regularly to provide encouragement and accountability, ask investigative questions, and provoke change through brainstorming, strategizing, and reflecting along the way. 

And it’s not only about taking action. “The coaching relationship is really about trust and rapport.” Chris Kresser reminds us, and a good health coach should be working to establish a relationship right out of the gate. 

What does it mean when a health coach is board certified?

For those who aren’t members at Salvo Health, you can always hire a health coach out of pocket—it’s important to be mindful of certifications when you do. The health coach industry is growing fast and there are a lot of options out there. (Health coaches can also be pricey, charging between $200 and $500 per month.) So when a health coach has the right training, it shows that they have invested time into their training and that they will know how to properly support you on your health journey. 

Chris Kresser recommends that you look for a health coach that is a National Board Certified Health & Wellness Coach, or has attended a school approved by the National Board for Health & Wellness Coaching. 

One such approved health coach training course, such is Kresser’s ADAPT Health Coach Training Program.

“ADAPT-certified Health Coaches have received the highest level of training that's available as a health coach. We actually exceed the national board standards for training, meaning we require more training hours than they require. We have a full six month practicum, where all they're doing is coaching and practicing, equivalent to an internship or residency in medicine. We also have a much deeper, more comprehensive, and rigorous nutrition and lifestyle curriculum.” 

(It goes without saying that all Salvo Health Coaches are National Board Certified. And you get access to your Salvo Health Coach without any extra fees outside of our monthly membership cost of $127.)

What are the benefits of working with a Salvo Health Coach virtually? 

Head of Salvo Health Coaching, Louise Buckley, believes that Salvo Health’s message-based coaching can democratize access to health coaches for everyone. The benefit lies in both the power of the partnership a Salvo Health Coach can offer, and also in the digital healthcare environment that Salvo Health provides. And here are a few more benefits our members can expect:

  1. Your Salvo Health Coach is nationally board certified. That means they’re highly trained and experienced coaches. 
  2. Your Salvo Health Coach partners with your doctor directly so they’re completely aligned on your care.
  3. You don’t have to talk about your gastrointestinal symptoms, but you can text your health coach, wherever you are, however you are feeling. 
  4. Your Salvo Health Coach is a resource for you about your body and condition, with more curated and relevant-to-you knowledge than a Google search.

Aside from the benefits of our asynchronous, messaging-based app, a health coach can help you set and break down your goals, and determine what’s possible for you on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Not quite sure you have the motivation to work out? Your health coach can remind you that even non-active movement, like stretching or taking the stairs counts for something!

“Most people, in my experience, have never had any relationship in their life where they've just had pure unconditional support. To have someone who's showing up for you purely as an ally, and as an advocate, who has no other agenda, or needs or motivation, other than your success, in whatever you're trying to do, is a tremendous gift.”

Have you attempted to take doctor’s orders on your own and been unable to make a lasting change to your life? Maybe you tried to cut out dairy but found it difficult, or perhaps you’re struggling to prioritize sleep and self-care as many workers return to an office environment. 

If you have habits and routines that might be impacting your gut health, join us at Salvo Health to figure out what’s causing your condition, and to treat it alongside a dedicated Care Team including a board-certified doctor and a board-certified health coach. Our Salvo Health Coaches are ready to help you form lasting healthy habits, understand more about your condition and triggers, and build a stronger gut. Learn more today.

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