Know Your Own Health

What is Health & Wellbeing Coaching and what training is required?

The role of Health & Wellbeing Coaches in the NHS is to support self-management. This is part of the Personalised Care agenda and is known as an ARRS role (Additional Role Reimbursement sheme), alongside Care Coordinators and Social Prescribing Link Workers.

The name ‘Health & Wellbeing Coach’ is possibly a bit misleading in this context as it’s not health & wellbeing coaching in any traditional sense. Although the ultimate aim is to improve people’s health and wellbeing, the role of the coach is to support people to tap into their own resources to build their knowledge, skills and confidence to self-manage effectively as the way to do this.

Calling it Health & Wellbeing Coaching or Health Coaching is therefore a short-cut. In academic terms, it is more usually known as Supported Self-Management (SSM) or Self-Management Support (SMS). Insofar as it is coaching, it might more accurately be called ‘Self-Management Coaching’.

So why isn’t it called ‘Self-Management Coaching’?

Mainly because people don’t know what that is and it is not always easy to explain. Therefore, calling it by the intended outcome of improved ‘health and wellbeing’ is easier to work with.

Also, for people who are already struggling to manage or for people at low levels of activation, Self-Management Coaching can sound off-putting as it sounds as though the individual will be expected to manage entirely on their own – which isn’t the case.

Instead, individuals are supported to:

  • take control and build their knowledge, skills and confidence to manage their physical or mental health condition(s) effectively;
  • achieve better health and wellbeing outcomes;
  • build the appropriate support networks to sustain effective self-management and make best use of clinical services.