Do we Know how to Design Effective Health Coaching Interventions: the State of the Literature


  • B. Hill
  • B. Richardson
  • H. Skouteris


Background: Health coaching (HC) has been widely used as a tool to promote behavior change to improve health outcomes, yet the effectiveness of HC interventions is unclear. We aimed to systematically review HC interventions regarding: effectiveness of HC for specific outcomes; optimal intervention approaches; identification of specific techniques associated with effectiveness. Method: We searched health/medical/psychological databases for randomized controlled trials that assessed the efficacy of HC interventions. For each study we assessed aims, participants, approach, behavior change techniques (BCTs) and findings. Findings: Fifteen of 16 eligible studies reported a positive HC effect on at least one outcome. The number of intervention sessions provided ranged from 2-48; in three studies, one or more intervention details were unclear. Studies used 3-15 BCTs and these varied widely. It was hence difficult to synthesize the studies to adequately address our aims. Discussion: HC is a promising strategy for health improvement. Future research should ensure clarity in reporting intervention details, consistency in reporting BCTs, and efforts to achieve high treatment fidelity.






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