Health coaching has many proven benefits. But just how do you keep it fresh and relevant to your team? Matt Simpson, TPC Health’s Lead Consultant, has some suggestions.
Five steps to embed health coaching in your team
From happier more involved and motivated patients, to reductions in hospital usage due to reducing the number of stays and therefore cutting costs – the benefits of health coaching are many and varied. Those who have adopted it within their practice can be powerful advocates for this type of intervention. But as with all such activities, it needs to be kept relevant, fresh, and continue to evolve. If not, the risk is it becomes stale, and eventually, because the initial enthusiasm has faded, practitioners can start to revert back to the kinds of conversations they used to have before they adopted health coaching.
So just how can you as an individual keep it fresh? Here are five simple ideas, which I’ve found really helpful, and which you can easily adopt. By doing so, you can continue to ensure that coaching not only stays relevant for patients and clinicians alike, but continues to grow and develop.
It’s important not to apply ridged rules. While you need to ensure that the principals are followed, be prepared to give authority to the group, allowing them to learn just where coaching works best for them in their roles, and allow them to adapt the way it’s applied. Let them discover where coaching best fits into their own ways of working, so they grow into coaching as a skill and a mind-set, and not something that feels as if it has been imposed upon them.
Share and listen
Be prepared to learn and benefit from what other groups might be doing. You’re unlikely to have all the answers yourself, so be open to the experiences – good and not so good – which others have also had from applying health coaching in practice. Be prepared to learn too from the experiences of those outside your own organisation. One way to do this is to develop a local community of practice where you can bring together like minded practitioners to share learning, and work through the challenges you all face.
Appoint Coaching Champions
In any new area there will always be people who become your most powerful advocates. Recognise this, identify those individuals, and support them in every way you can. They are the ones most likely to both keep coaching alive – and developing – in positive ways. As well as your local champions, look for senior leaders who share your passion, and support you at an executive level. They may even be able – and willing – to open doors that might otherwise be closed for you.
Follow the team’s interests
As many things in life, one size doesn’t fit all. So as with flexibility, follow the interests of the team. That way can lead to some new discoveries, which, because they were self-generated, are more likely to be adopted and continue to evolve
Build new relationships
Keeping health coaching on the agenda isn’t just about your own team, but spreading it to other groups, too. Ask yourself – where else in the organisation could this usefully be applied? It’s also about recognising the culture of the wider organisation and how this can both help and hinder. Lead a session with senior leaders, let them find out about the benefits by taking part. Their advocacy will be all the stronger as a result.
Share your experiences
These are, I hope, really simple first steps anyone can take to keep health coaching relevant and lively. There may well be others, and in the spirit of learning from others, I’d love to hear about your own experiences. What has worked for you, in your team or group? Because health coaching has so much to offer, both patents and clinical and support teams. It’s simply too important to see it not applied as well as it can be.
So do get in touch. I’d love to hear from you. Meanwhile, if you do adopt my suggestions to improve engagement, let me know what worked for you. I’ll be happy to share that learning in future blogs.