Osca has been providing Coaching for Health training (led by Nick Nielsen and Dr Doug Hing) over the last ten years – one of its first providers in the UK.

We have trained well over two thousand participants from almost every discipline across primary and secondary care, including – GPs, nurses, social prescribing linkworkers, physios, HCAs, OTs, pharmacists, care navigators, care co-ordinators, consultants, hospital staff, therapists, voluntary and community sector staff, receptionists and practice managers. Our courses are accredited by the Personalised Care Institute and we have also completed a strategic review of health coaching for Health Education England, engaging with providers, experts and commissioners around the country.

Coaching for Health applies the coaching principles, skills and frameworks to health and care settings (see Courses for more details and our theoretical approach). It recognises the importance of supporting individuals to take ownership of their health, and how more directive approaches to behaviour change can be limited in their effectiveness. Coaching in these contexts brings together the expertise of an individual in the lived experienced of their condition, with the diverse expertise of the healthcare professional. It is a partnership which supports individuals to set their own goals and plans for managing their condition. It is about higher quality conversations between individuals and practitioners, particularly in the management of long-term conditions and lifestyle, with the aim of more effective self-management and independence. (For further detail see the essay ‘Power and Safety in Health Conversations‘ written by Coaching for Health lead trainers Nick Nielsen and Dr Doug Hing.)

The potential crisis facing health and care services with regards to the growing numbers of people with chronic health conditions is well known. The opportunity to bring coaching into health and care is significant as a mechanism for building responsibility and action on the part of individuals. And the evidence base for its effectiveness is growing (see below)

Courses – find out more about Osca’s two day and wider Coaching for health courses

Programmes – our previous and current activity in larger scale health coaching research and programme delivery

Resources – for both commissioners and practicing health professionals

Evaluation – a sample of our evaluation results compiled from all our trainings to date

Evidence base

For patients:

  • Greater patient satisfaction and adherence[1]
  • Improved health behaviours and outcomes in e.g. diabetes,[2] cardiovascular disease,[3] pain management,[4] and changing behaviours (weight management, diet, nutrition and smoking cessation)[5]

For practitioners:

  • Improved morale, particularly with primary care workforce vulnerable to ‘burn out’[6]

For the system:

  • Decreases in healthcare consumption[7]

[1] The Evidence Centre (2014) ‘Does Health Coaching Work? Summary of Key Themes from a Rapid Review of Empirical Evidence’, Bell, I. et al (2002) ‘Integrative medicine and systemic outcomes research’ Archives of Internal Medicine 162: 133-140; Lawson, K. (2009) ‘Could health coaching build a bridge to a new system of healthcare?’, Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine 15 (5): 16-8; Jonk, Y. et al (2015) ‘How effective is health coaching in reducing health services expenditures?’ Med Care. 53 (2): 133-4

[2] Melko, C. et al (2010) ‘Diabetes Health Coaching Improves Medication Adherence: A Pilot Study’ Am. J. of Lifestyle Medicine 2: 187-194; Wolever, R. Q. et al (2010) ‘Integrative health coaching for patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomized clinical trial’, Diabetes Educ. 36 (4): 629-639

[3] Vale, M. J. et al (2003) ‘Coaching patients On Achieving Cardiovascular Health (COACH): A Multicenter Randomized Trial in Patients with Coronary Heart Disease’ Arch Intern Med. 163 (22): 2775-2783


Coaching for Health has been developed by Osca. Osca is a social impact lab, also working on innovation, organisational design and impact measurement. Please visit www.osca.co to find out more.