Health Coaching Research

A scientific foundation for new wellness tools

“Health coaching” also referred to as wellness coaching, is a process that facilitates healthy, sustainable behavior change by challenging individual clients to listen to their inner wisdom, identify their values, and transform their goals into action.

Built for future standards

Health coaching draws on the principles of positive psychology and the practices of motivational interviewing and goal-setting. Sustained behavior change is imperative to ensure that individuals, particularly those with chronic disease, are able to adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles.

Health Coaching is a cornerstone of the Connected Health and Wellness Project. The suite of activities completed under CHWP advance the CHWP goal of building “an educational platform for healthcare professionals that will be foundational for the emergence of future standards and practice competencies in the health coach profession. Academic health coach training integrates NexJ’s Connected Wellness Platform” into practice in health promotion, disease prevention, and chronic disease management”.

The technology-enabled Health Coaching protocols developed under CHWP offer an exciting new teaching frontier for York and provide a solid scientific foundation for new wellness tools including NexJ’s Connected Wellness Platform and NexJ Health Coach software.

An empirical evidence-based approach

Led by York University’s Faculty of Health, clinical research trials were designed to create a solid empirical basis for both health coach training and new software development. Clinical trials allowed York to test the efficacy of health coaching in modifying behaviour to create sustained and positive lifestyle changes. It is an “evidence-based” approach to health coaching that enables coaches and their patients to provide feedback about their experience with NexJ’s health coaching software. Ongoing trials provide a continuous feedback loop that that informs each new generation of health coaching software.

CHWP supported new health coaching trials targeted at different chronic health conditions and patient types:

Healthy Students

Using its students and staff to test the impact of health coaching in reducing barriers to wellness such as poor nutritional choices, stress, depression and lack of exercise. It is anticipated that those participants supported by health coaches will show marked improvement in their health and wellbeing at the conclusion of the trial. Learn more


The Clinical research trials at North York General Hospital and Black Creek Community Health Centre used health coaching to assist patients with diabetes to monitor their blood glucose levels and to see the relationship with their food and nutritional intake and exercise levels. This feedback helps patients and their care team to better manage their condition and to make healthy choices. Learn more


A similar trial was conducted at Southlake Regional Health Centre for cardiac patients suffering from high blood pressure (Hypertension). Learn more


One of the most interesting trials was implemented in co-operation with a large Canadian employer, Rogers Communications Inc. Rogers was interested in how health coaching can provide its employees with support in managing their health and promoting wellness. This corporate trial was designed to investigate if health coaching has a positive impact on workplace productivity. Learn more