Inside a Health Coaching Call

Health coaching is a powerful component of a wellness program. Usually done over the phone, the goal of coaching is to help participants make at least one positive behavior change. Most participants highly value and appreciate the coaching conversations they’ve received. What makes coaching so useful? Let’s take a closer look at the general sequence and “feel” of the coaching experience.

The First Call

At the beginning of the call, the first thing the coach will do is establish rapport – this lets the participant know that the coach is tuned in to what’s going on in their life and understands their situation. It encourages the participant to open up and strengthens the coaching relationship. The coach congratulates the client – because, by contacting a coach, the participant has already completed one the biggest steps they will make in the change process.

When starting a call, the coach has about 30 seconds to get the participant engaged. Those initial moments will dictate the entire coaching experience. The coach is pleasant and tries to make every participant feel like their call is the most important call of the day.

The coach will identify what the participant wants or needs to change, the key health goal for them to work on. Then, the coach explores relevant habits and barriers to understand how achieving this goal will play out in the real world of their life. The coach asks them what has worked for them in the past, if anything, and what hasn’t worked. Together, they determine a specific action plan tailored to the participant’s situation. That first call usually lasts about 15-20 minutes. If there is more than one call, the coach helps support and adjust the action plan over time.

Every Call Is Unique and Relevant

Every coaching session is a little different because everyone has a unique life situation. Many participants are trying to lose weight, some are trying to quit smoking and others are working on their cholesterol. They each come to us to make changes, and we help them keep their eye on the goal. We encourage participants to reach inside themselves to make it happen.

Participants have a variety of feelings, practical factors, and stressors that hinder them from achieving their wellness goals. Coaches acknowledge and work with those issues, no matter how big or small. What may be a small problem to most people could be a huge problem for the participant. The coach will empathize with the participant and see these challenges from their perspective, and explain there’s going to be ups and downs. The coach adapts, building up the positives and downplaying the negatives and the obstacles.

At beBetter, we draw from a variety of techniques, such as motivational interviewing. With that technique, the coach serves as a cheerleader; if the participant has done well, the coach praises them for it. Another method is cognitive behavioral therapy, where we ask a participant to look at the thought processes behind their behaviors. We also draw from a technique called rational emotive behavioral therapy, where the participant comes to realize that terms like “always,” “never,” and “forever” are irrational.

Our coaches listen, not lecture, and learn what we can do to help the participant be successful. The coaches have goals for each call and talking points, but they don’t read from rigid scripts. They enjoy helping people change their lives and the conversation comes from the heart.

Many people just lack a few tools or resources to effectively make a healthy change. A coach can open up those doors and help them successfully achieve those positive lifestyle changes.