Health Coaching’s Role in Managing Diabetes Health Coaching and Diabetes


“You have diabetes.”


That’s a phrase someone never wants to hear from their doctor. Suddenly, life changes from eating whatever you want, whenever you want, to carefully calculated insulin injections and a restricted diet. It’s difficult to make such drastic changes; not to mention having to deal with the emotional upheaval of having received such a diagnosis. It’s for these reasons that doctors are seeing an increased proportion of diabetic patients who fail to implement the healthy lifestyle changes required to manage their diabetes.


While a doctor may provide education about how to manage diabetes in a healthy way, they don’t have the time to really create a plan of action with the patient. Physician health education only goes so far. There needs to be action plans, self-management, accountability, and self-efficacy. That’s where health coaching comes in. Several studies have shown the effectiveness of health coaching in diabetes management.


One study took a group of diabetic participants and separated them into two groups. One group received health coaching and the other did not. The results showed that 48.6% of participants in the health-coaching group achieved their blood glucose goal compared to 27.6% in the group that did not participate in health coaching (Wolever). While physicians are essential for diagnosing, prescribing, and educating, health coaches add a further element of bringing information into action in an achievable way while also providing accountability.


Wolever, R Q, et al. “Integrative Health Coaching for Patients with Type 2 Diabetes.” The Diabetes Educator, vol. 36, no. 4, 9 June 2010, pp. 629–639.