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As an educator, Marcus Benniefield is no stranger to creating lesson plans. However, when it came to getting his health on track, he found that he needed a little help. Often overwhelmed with all the information on the latest diets and new health trends, Marcus just needed a little coaching to get started.
In sharing his health goals with his doctor, Marcus learned about Sharp Rees-Stealy’s Health Coaching program — a free, personalized coaching service. Patients are paired with a certified health coach who specializes in helping patients create healthy habits to address a variety of health topics including stress, chronic pain, sleep, tobacco cessation, weight management and more.
Health coaching, just a phone call away
The program is conducted entirely over the phone, which was perfect for Marcus, who had difficulty finding the time to focus on his health while juggling work as dean of academic affairs at a local college.
After going through the program’s initial assessment, Marcus was paired with Renee Michels, a board-certified health and wellness coach with Sharp Rees-Stealy. Together they worked on Marcus’ goal of stress management and discussed healthy behaviors that help manage stress, even coming up with exercises to try between sessions.
“We take the time to get to know each of our patients and their behaviors, which helps us to provide effective support and feedback,” says certified health and wellness coach Renee Michels. “Health coaching is a realistic approach to building healthy habits and is intentionally designed to meet each patient where they are.”
Personalized approach starts with listening
The frequency of calls depends on each patient. For Marcus, the convenience of meeting over the phone helped him make the commitment to find the time to stop and reflect on his behaviors. It challenged him to take a sincere look at where he was in life and where he wanted to be.
“There’s an anonymity to telephone coaching that creates a safe space for people to be open and honest with themselves,” says Michels. “It allows the coach to hone in on truly listening to each patient. Not just listening to what they are saying, but how they are saying it and what they are not saying.”
During one discussion, Michels shared with Marcus how nutrition influences the body’s response to stress. Curious to learn more, Marcus asked Michels for additional resources on diet and nutrition. She recommended Sharp Rees-Stealy’s free New Weigh Program.
After almost 10 months with Sharp Rees-Stealy’s Health Coaching and New Weigh programs, Marcus lost more than 85 pounds, but more importantly, he gained important lessons on how to live a healthier life.
“Working with Renee was like a partnership,” says Marcus. “I appreciate the expertise and the knowledge she shared with me. I thought I knew how to get healthy, but she taught me how to get healthy the right way and there are no shortcuts.”
To learn more about the Health Coaching program, call the Sharp Rees-Stealy Center for Health Management at 858-499-2700.
The Sharp Health News Team are content authors who write and produce stories about Sharp HealthCare and its hospitals, clinics, medical groups and health plan.
Renee Michels is a board-certified health and wellness coach with Sharp Rees-Stealy.
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