Why Health Coaching is Different for Women Than for Men

by : Lynn Smith

Health coaching is about making real, positive, and lasting change in the quality of our health. But when it comes to health coaching for women, there are additional factors that need to be considered. First, is the caregiver factor. Women are just naturally the caregiver, it comes down to those hormones. With that natural tendency, we will do for others, be it the kids, our spouse, or even our coworkers, before we do for ourselves. That tends to play out fine in our younger years, but as we enter middle age we need to be more proactive in our own health.

A second factor for women is guilt. Those caregiver hormones tend to trigger guilt if we spend time or resources on ourselves. Even something as simple as treating ourselves to a pedicure can trigger it. During or after your pedicure, have you ever had those inner voices telling you that your daughter needs you to do something for her and you should be doing it now? Or the guilt tells you that the money should really have been spent on something the kids need? As women, we hear those voices of guilt quite often. Sometimes those voices are right, most of the time they aren't.

If we are going to be effective in creating a healthier lifestyle we need to put those care giving tendencies and the voices of guilt in their proper place. The fact is, if we don't make the time to live a healthier life, nobody is going to do it for us.

The benefits of creating a healthier lifestyle for ourselves have a way of benefiting the entire family. For example, creating the goal of cooking more dinners at home rather than hitting the drive thru or ordering pizza not only means you are eating healthier and working towards your weight loss goals, but your family is eating healthier, too. Learning to manage your stress levels brings harmony to the entire household. Have you ever heard the expression, "If Mom's not happy, nobody is?"

There is one more element that makes health coaching different for women than for men, that is overall responsibility. We live in a society where the majority of households have both spouses working. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean they share the responsibilities at home. It is still the woman that manages most of the household chores and that has the main responsibility of childrearing. Take a full time job, add cleaning, laundry, and grocery shopping, then add taking care of the kids and their activities, and you've got a very full schedule. So much so, that the thought of having one more thing on her 'to do' list, like hitting the health club, can make her feel like screaming.

When it comes to health coaching women, finding a balance is very important. The elements that help her to take charge of her health need to dovetail into her current lifestyle or they won't last. The best place to start is to take a look at how she currently spends her days and the daily decisions she makes. Through the coaching process, the client learns to better manage stress and take control of her health and wellness. This gives her a feeling of empowerment that creates more joy and energy in her life.