According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chronic diseases and diseases – such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and arthritis – are among the most common, expensive and preventable health problems. As of 2012 (the latest available data), about half of all US adults-117 million people had one or more chronic health conditions. One in four adults had two or more chronic illnesses.
It is therefore not surprising that many of the clients you are likely to see as coaching have already been diagnosed with a condition, especially obesity, hypertension, and / or type 2 diabetes. Comorbidities associated with obesity pose both challenges and opportunities.
Here are some tips and strategies for coaching people with certain health conditions:
Learn as much as possible about your client's specific health status.
- Strengthen the Coach Develop customer loyalty and a sense of trust by demonstrating your knowledge of the specific health of a customer.
- Your customers are probably talking about their cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar. Therefore it is important to know which normal values are available. You can rely on guidelines from trusted resources such as the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association. Also consider participating in subject teaching lectures at your local hospital.
- If your client is newly diagnosed, you can help with his or her education about the condition. They may refer to local support groups or share literature from well-respected, evidence-based sources.
Stay in your field, but be a team player.
- Caring for people with serious health conditions is both complex and difficult. It is up to the licensed physician to diagnose, treat and prescribe. But there is still a lot to do for the health coach.
- Remember that doctors have little time and are rarely trained in motivational techniques. Their approach to getting patients towards a healthier lifestyle is often more groundbreaking. Doctors are often anxious to hand over the bar to a health coach so he or she can focus on motivation and responsibility.
Be a reliable source for patients and healthcare providers.
- Customers May Need Help Contacting a Specialist You are able to give a referral recommendation. It helps to familiarize yourself with the reputable specialists in your area. Do not be shy if you attend events at your local hospital, send a meticulous letter to a specific doctor, or ask for a meeting with the practice supervisor.
- Once the specialist receives positive feedback from patients about their health work coach, do not be surprised if he or she starts to send patients directly to you.
Focus on core coaching skills, regardless of the specific health of your client.
- Initiating and supporting changing health behaviors is your client's ultimate challenge. As a health coach, you are in a unique position to help your clients meet their requirements for their conditions, no matter what they are.
- Your clients are not getting any holidays from their health conditions. For example, a person with diabetes can not simply decide to ignore the blood glucose control for a few weeks without any negative health consequences. A very effective coach is to help your clients build self-management skills.
Heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis and kidney disease are common diseases, but they are still complex and difficult to manage. Remember to stay in your practice, but also create a niche for yourself by becoming a trusted member of the health team.