How to Utilize Health Coaches in a Functional Medicine Practice

Health coaches support patients in making health-related decisions and in incorporating lifestyle changes into their daily routines. Somewhat akin to mentoring, health coaching is a technique for engaging patients to help them become active, engaged participants in their overall state of well-being.

Health coaching is an effective approach to engaging patients by improving communication between clinicians and patients and across clinic departments. Many Functional Medicine clinicians find having a Functional Medicine trained health coach in their practice to be an invaluable tool in their clinician toolbox and view this model as one of the building blocks of high-performing primary care settings. 

In the following video, Dr. Connie Arispe talks about her experience using a health coach in her Functional Medicine practice. This team-based approach helps patients focus on changing their behavior, improving their physiological, behavioral, psychological, and social outcomes.

Caption: Connie Arispe, MD, is an IFM certified practitioner with over 25 years in family medicine. She practices at Compass Center Functional Medicine, PLC, in Clear Lake, IA.

If you are interested in finding a Functional Medicine health coach, or undergoing health coach training yourself, the Functional Medicine Coaching Academy (FMCA) certification program offers an immersive, in-depth, 12-month online training program. The program is an approved health and wellness coach training and education program by the National Board for Health and Wellness Coaching (NBHWC). Students learn core coaching techniques, as well as the principles of Functional Medicine.

Upon graduation, health coaches use Functional Medicine principles and positive psychology coaching techniques to:

  • Educate clients and help them understand their doctor’s plan of care
  • Offer tools and accountability when clients implement new lifestyle changes
  • Motivate clients using positive psychology techniques
  • Guide clients through dietary changes, food plans, and physical activity protocols
  • Lead clients through group coaching sessions on specific topics
  • Work directly with the client’s practitioner when appropriate
  • Celebrate successes and encourage progress

Are you passionate about helping patients develop a path to personal wellness? In the multi-billion dollar health and wellness industry, employment opportunities for health coaches are taking off.  Learn more here.

Read more about health coaching 

Related News


Opportunities & Challenges When Starting a Functional Medicine Practice

“We all entered into medicine to help other people who are suffering. When you build your own infrastructure and see it working, and see people healing as a direct result of your private practice, it brings a level of contentment and satisfaction that I simply don’t see among practitioners in large medical groups.” – Dan Kalish, My Practice Plan

Read More

Save Time with IFM's Toolkit of Patient Education Resources

P. Michael Stone, MD, shares how IFM’s toolkit can both save time and improve your state of mind – along with helping patients achieve better health.

Read More

Membership Models: Dan Kalish Interviews Dr. Kristine Burke

Kristine Burke, MD, a Functional Medicine family clinician in El Dorado Hills, CA, talks with Dan Kalish of the Kalish Institute about her path to establishing a membership model practice.

Read More