What is health coaching?

A balanced diet, a relaxed lifestyle, dealing with addictive substances in a reasonable manner, and sufficient amounts of exercise are the ingredients for long-term health. It is not only the actual length of time that we live that depends on these factors, but primarily the freedom to spend our lives in the way we want to—our quality of life is strongly affected by these behaviours.

How can we make ourselves live more healthily? Not all of us are naturally talented in this respect: sometimes we need an impetus in order to change established habits that over time put a strain on our health. Your doctor as a specialist for your health and his/her practice assistants can provide such an impetus. And sometimes, even small steps can be extremely effective.

Modern treatment concepts, such as the “Health Coaching KHM” programme devised by the Swiss College for Primary Care Medicine (KHM), take into account that motivations can vary from complete disinterest to the willingness to tackle change. If the coach acts in a way that is too prescriptive this often does not match the readiness of the affected party, and the result will be a lack of success. We see successful coaching in the behavioural area as a team effort involving the coach and the person being coached—as equal partners. Patients undergoing coaching take an active part and make the project their own. This means that they take on more responsibility for their personal project. Are you ready for this?

Ostensibly, the programme “Health Coaching KHM” tackles the “big five” of unhealthy behaviour: lack of exercise, overeating/obesity, smoking, alcohol, and stress. In the four steps sensitisation—motivation—project planning—accompanying, the concepts described above are implemented in a concrete form and with instruments that are fit for practice. Fit for practice also means a minimum of paper and a visual instrument (a three-coloured circle) that is understandable independently of the educational status of the person undergoing coaching. The coaching is normally covered by our health insurance company, just like any other consultation (franchise and the patient’s contribution are deducted).

Perhaps your doctor and his/her practice assistants have already been trained in this programme—just ask. If you’d like to try it out for yourself you can find an introductory leaflet under “Downloads”—you can decide for yourself how healthy you are and whether you’d like to make any changes. Do something for yourself!

The project was developed by the Swiss College for Primary Care Medicine (KHM), in the years 2006-2008, with financial support from Health Promotion Switzerland.

The funding providers of the subsequent pilot project 2008-2011 in the canton of St Gallen were the society of doctors of the canton of St Gallen with its project monitoring group and the Swiss College for Primary Care Medicine (KHM).


The sponsors of the current programme 2015-18:

  • Swiss College for Primary Care Medicine:

  • Federal Office of Public Health, department for health professions
  • Swiss Tobacco Prevention Fund


Main funders of preceding periods: