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  • Writer's pictureJohn Kim

How Can Health Coaching Serve as a Force Multiplier in Healing?

I confess that I had many coaches for personal growth, how to be a better father, how to be a better spouse, corporate career coach, and a health coach. Recently, I met an entrepreneur who was going to create an app for integrative health coaching. I think technology can play a wonderful role, but coaching is complex and powerful than this entrepreneur's understanding.

Of late, I find that my role as a health coach may be even more powerful than my role as a physician. As a physician, my role has to be technical and mindful of many rules and regulations to which I am held. In my practice, I have seen more than one counselor who let go of their licensure and focused on coaching. At the time, I did not understand their decision and I asked why would they give up licensure one worked so hard to obtain. They replied that there was a greater freedom to support the growth without a constriction of rule and regulations from their professional board.


Still, I did not fully understand until a former patient approached me. Engaging with her as a patient would have meant obtaining professional liability insurance which was not a practical idea for one patient. Fortunately, patient was agreeable for us to utilize coaching format.


Her issue was cancer. As a mother of young children, we wanted to ensure that she would confidently survive. When we began the over all picture appeared to be straight forward - cancer in its very early stages. However, as we discussed further, researched together, and we came to conclusion that there appeared to be something more than that meets the eye. At the end, to greater financial cost, a decision was reached by patient that she should seek care in MD Anderson. I fully supported her decision and shared my opinion that "although she had access to MD Anderson affiliate services in local area, MD Anderson experience would be more consistent with her stated goal - survival so that she can raiser her two children.


As a physician, I would have been satisfied as long as she was engaged with competent local physicians following community standards. As a coach, we were working together towards obtaining the best outcome possible. By not involving myself with giving medical advise, I found myself focusing on the bigger picture - how can we get the BEST results possible?


Happily, this client is doing very well and we are both eagerly awaiting for the 5 year mark.


Yoon Hang Kim MD


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