Three Prerequisites for Health Coaching 3.0

Friday, June 19th, 2009
This post was written by Melanie Matthews

Roger Reed, chief consumer engagement architect for Gordian Health Solutions, describes the three basic cornerstones of the next generation of health coaching.

There are three basic cornerstones to health coaching 3.0. It needs to be individual-centric — whole person, one-on-one, and multiple modes preference-based. Today that person may want to send the coach an e-mail. Tomorrow that person may want to pick up the phone and call that coach. The next day that person may want to use self-service options available to them through a Web portal or a platform. They may want to engage face-to-face in a community-offered support program. Mode and frequency in this individual-centric model is going to be driven by the individual and their needs, and they’re going to address simultaneous health issues. If someone has 20 or 30 pounds to lose, wouldn’t it be good if they were moving a little bit? Wouldn’t it be good if we could talk to them about caloric intake? Wouldn’t it be good if we could talk to them about the stress that triggers their eating behaviors? You begin to say, “We’re doing that already in many of our coaching models,” but let’s make that more formalized and start to address simultaneous health issues with these patients. Set goals that are holistic in nature.

Second, it needs to be strength-based. Health coaching 3.0 is going to address individual strengths, identify their resources, overcome barriers and look for those pathways to long-term health improvement, which is what we all want as health coaches.

The last cornerstone is its relationship-driven component. Sometimes relationships are Web-based, telephonic or face-to-face, but think of these more in terms of personal training, personal coaching and coaching that create a partnership and foster that motivation that creates behavior change.

As you dig down into health coaching 3.0, you’ll find the multi-platform world where platforms all talk to each other — telephones, land lines, cell phones, e-mail, “anytime” coaching and personal data assistants (PDA). Companies are leveraging television sets and connecting devices to them for individuals to self-report weight and other biologic data through their television sets, via cable connections. There are many self-service options, such as connectivity to providers’ offices. One thing that has been missing in many coaching models is the full connectivity of the health coach and health coach services to the physician, and we need a solution in the future. Health coaching 3.0 will have real connectivity to that patient or that member’s physician, and they will be need-based and holistic. We’ll look at preferences, context and social networks, and we’ll get into this convenience and transparency issue.

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