A Letter from Marina Borukhovich, CEO & Founder, YourCoach.Health
One of my favorite traditions is undoubtedly writing this letter looking back at the year behind us and forward at the year that’s ahead. It gives me a moment to reflect on our countless learnings from what’s proven to be another unpredictable year, plus gather my thoughts on where I think we’re headed as an organization and an industry. The best part, for me, is sharing those insights with our community and generating important conversations around our progress.
This year marks year four of the Health Coaching Revolution, a term we coined in 2020 to represent a global shift in the way health coaches are perceived and integrated within health and care. It’s been exciting to drive and witness the shift from awareness to accessibility.
Our goal this past year was to introduce health coaching to more organizations and industries than ever before. Through our Industry Partnerships, we did just that within digital health, healthcare and employer-sponsored wellness programs. In 2024, our goal is to continue this endeavor, expanding availability of health coaching such that every human will have access to a health coach by the year 2030. While it’s been incredibly rewarding to forward this goal, it hasn’t been without hardship, diligence, unexpectancies, fervor, and of course, resilience. Here are just a few of the many things we’ve learned in 2023 as we look ahead to 2024.
2023 taught us unmatched resilience
Let’s not sugarcoat things—the world has experienced a tumultuous past few years, with rewarding highs and jolting twists and turns. As has been the case with many companies worldwide, we’ve had to make difficult organizational decisions for the sake of prioritizing our product, partnerships and (the dreaded but necessary “p” word that keeps every team afloat) profit. I’ve always prided myself on running this team like a family, which makes tough decisions feel impossible when they relate to the team. My experiences as a mom—and with the same partner in life and business by my side for YourCoach decisions—prepared me hugely to lead through these challenges and bring the full team on board with even the most difficult resolutions. I learned that having the support of a team, this team, is turnkey for thriving amidst uncertainty.
I also learned resilience requires preparation and this is something we’ve been passing on to all our contracted coaches as a key principle to share with clients. So how exactly do you prepare for hardship? How do you get yourself on strong footing to face the unknown? Prioritizing your physical and mental health and wellbeing, even when it gets difficult, even when it seems like you don’t have the time, gives you a suit of armor to face any challenge head-on. Shameless plug – Health coaches give you all the tools you need to build this suit and keep it functional!
Personal connection is paramount, which is why the human eye is still greater than AI
AI is here to stay and we’ve been leading the charge in thought leadership around how this will impact the health and wellness coaching world (you can check out our most recent thought piece with First Word Health Tech here). Our belief has always been that the Human Eye, for the foreseeable future, is still superior to AI—and especially when considering health and care. This is largely driven by consumer demand for two things: personalization and a deep desire for human connection.
A whopping 75% of employees state that a “personal touch” is the most critical quality they look for in their corporate wellness program. Though personalization can be achieved, in part, by AI (and we’re always considering Gen-AI as a tool to augment our force of health coaches), we firmly believe it’s best achieved when guided by a health coach. Science-backed health coaching techniques, like motivational interviewing and active listening, require adept dialogue and drawing on personal experiences from the coach, themselves, in order to function effectively. This is something we haven’t seen achievable by AI yet and therefore know live health coaching is absolutely irreplaceable, at least in the near future.
The power of human connection continues to reign supreme in healthcare, in the workforce, and the many other aspects of our day-to-day lives. We’ve seen this shine through the latest literature and have observed this firsthand through our Industry Partnerships. We only expect to see this continue through 2024, and believe live health coaching fulfills this need for many individuals across industries.
The Health Coaching Revolution: increasing availability
As mentioned, the focus of the Health Coaching Revolution is now largely on increasing the availability of real and validated health coaching such that every human can access a health coach by 2030. As an organization, we made major strides in the last two years to begin furthering this goal through our Industry Partnerships with organizations large and small. We plan to continue forging these connections, with a focus on employer-sponsored benefit programs in 2024, and see this becoming more possible with the projected expansion of health and wellness coaching CPT codes in the year ahead. We’ve had the privilege to be part of the conversations furthering this initiative and have been keeping our community up-to-date along the way.
Accessibility for all means ensuring we’re supporting a diverse force of health and wellness coaches throughout their career journeys while also prioritizing diversity, equity and inclusion in everything we do. We are thrilled to have partnered with Violet, the first-ever health equity platform, to offer services that benchmark and upskill intercultural competencies. We’ve made Violet available as a benefit to all our health coaches and have ensured health equity and DE&I is a priority during our verification and validation process. Strong cultural competency is one of our core values, so we’ve made sure every coach we work with has access to ongoing DE&I resources through this partnership.
We’ve also been able to provide scholarships covering the cost of the NBC-HWC certifying exam plus exam prep for coaches across the country. Scholarship recipients are selected based on financial need and their passions for becoming a health coach, with the goal of ensuring cost is never a barrier to anyone who wants to become a board-certified coach.
We expect continued demand for health and wellness services employers trust
Employees are increasingly demanding better employer-sponsored health and wellness services and are even citing this as a key consideration when choosing their next job opportunity or deciding whether to leave their current one (our Employee Health Deep Dive provides important data on these points). Employers are surely getting on board. This past year we had the opportunity to support one of the world’s largest employers, among many other progressive, dedicated employers, who echoed this increasing demand for more personalized, effective health and wellness services. Not only is it making organizations more attractive to current and future talent, but it also makes their existing workforce more productive and happier; reduces absenteeism; and decreases healthcare-related costs
In the year ahead, we plan to address this growing demand head-on. We’re already in many conversations with employers about introducing live health coaching services as part of their wellness offerings and will continue driving these discussions forward in 2024. If you’re interested in kickstarting talks around how to bring health coaching to your organization, now’s the time! Drop us a line at email@example.com.
As we close out another year, we are exceedingly grateful for every human in this community who has continued to help us deliver our services and learn along the way. Wishing you, your families and loved ones a healthy, happy and prosperous 2023. I’m so excited for what’s ahead and look forward to continuing on this journey together!