Three Ways to Evaluate Health Coaching Performance

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009
This post was written by Melanie Matthews

Three health coaching experts share their organization’s methods for evaluating a health coach’s performance to ensure client satisfaction.

Hummingbird Coaching Services provides a monthly report card to every coach, which includes customer review. “Much of it is quality reviews of their interactions with clients, and whether they followed the coaching model versus perhaps dipping into the prescriptive side,” explains Sean Slovenski, Hummingbird’s president and CEO.

“Training is important, but the ongoing support of the coaches through the quality assurance (QA) is critical. Since it isn’t an exact science, you must ensure that you’re doing the assessments on a constant basis, because continual learning needs to occur to constantly improve the quality of the coaching.”

To determine satisfaction, behavior change and goal achievement levels of its participants, Mayo Clinic Health Management Resources does phone-based outcomes and satisfaction calls. “One call is at the end of the program, when we have an engagement specialist — someone other than the coach — reach out to the participant,” notes Michael Casey, senior director of population health products and services at Mayo Clinic Health Management Resources. “That’s important, because the participant is more likely to be honest if a third party on the phone is saying, ‘I know you just participated in a coaching program, what did you think?'” “From a validity perspective, we have someone other than the coach do those satisfaction and outcomes calls,” Casey continues. “About 50 percent of our participants participate in those calls, which is pretty good. We have to chase them down a little bit to get there.” In addition to phone calls, Mayo is also testing the collection of satisfaction outcomes data via e-mail and the Web.

Ceridian LifeWorks conducts annual competency tests in five core areas to make sure that its coaches have the knowledge to do their job effectively and that they haven’t forgotten anything. It also helps the company identify areas for continued training and education, says Darcy Hurlbert, M.P.H., health and wellness product specialist at Ceridian.

Online health coaching presents its own evaluation challenges. Hummingbird Coaching Services has its own proprietary system that the coaches do their work through. “All interaction, established goals, communications, e-mails, educational materials picked by the coach for the individual — are automatically catalogued and date and time-stamped and are conserved. This gives us a real transactional record of what’s happening all the time, and because you have that, there’s no room for misinterpretation,” notes Slovenski.

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