Today's guest blog author is a Registered Nurse and health coach at St. Luke's Healthy U Employee Program in Boise, Idaho.
How I became a Health Coach
My first Bachelor’s Degree was in Exercise and Sport Science. I spent several years working in Physical Therapy and found that I really enjoyed working with people individually. I also liked being able to see them progress from a state of dysfunction back to doing the things they wanted to do.
My interest in the medical side of health care is what ultimately pulled me into nursing, where I earned my second Bachelor’s. Once again I found that I really enjoyed the one-on-one interaction and building those relationships with my patients. During my schooling I really enjoyed critical care, being able to provide the highest possible care to the smallest amount of patients, rather than the other way around. My first job in nursing was on the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). While I loved my time there I did find that I missed building relationships with the patients. While I certainly got to know the infants and their parents well, there were pieces of the puzzle missing. After a couple of years there, I noticed a job posted for a Nurse Health Coach.
When I read the job description it just sounded like me.
Health Coaching was an opportunity to combine the best of both worlds using my exercise and nursing background. It also allowed me to work on the preventative side of health care, helping people improve things before they became a problem. I was sold, it sounded like a good fit.
It's all about values
The most important value to me as a coach is trust. When the client truly trusts you I think it helps them open up more and get to the real root of their problems. Along with trust would be integrity which again serves to facilitate meaningful conversations and helps the client discover the best route that they should take to reach their ideal level of Wellness. When a client knows that they can trust you and that you are a person with integrity, they know that you are genuine in what you are trying to help them do. Once they know that you genuinely care about them and their health then I think they are much more willing to step out of their comfort zone and try things they may have been apprehensive about trying before. This is one of the benefits of Twine, being able to interact with them frequently. Prior to using Twine I think that many people assumed I simply forgot about them or didn’t think about them between visits. Now they know that I care, because if they ask a question I respond. If they accomplish something I congratulate them. If they miss a few days of tracking I check in. I think this has really helped them know that I am thinking about them and that I really do care.
Why I hope other coaches use Twine
Twine helps you understand your clients on a completely different level. While I did feel like I had a pretty good handle on things before Twine, now I know how much I was really missing. You get to learn patterns, behaviors, personalities, things that help dramatically improve the quality of every visit. When you know or at least have a pretty good idea of how things have been going prior to meeting with someone, you can spend more time focusing on what you can do to help keep them on track, rather than a bulk of your time trying to figure out what has been happening since your last visit. I know for me Twine has helped make health coaching what I always thought it could be.
Caring with my patients
Twine has allowed me to get to know the patients so much better. Even just a quick message from time to time can really improve the relationships you build, which in turn can really help you know to help them get to where they would like to be.
For the patients specifically the feedback so far has been nothing but positive, aside from a few technical issues which were client issues not software issues. My clients love the accountability the app provides. The constant reminders have dramatically improved goal attainment numbers and for many of these folks that is what they have needed.
The technology makes the experience
Honestly they feel more like friends than clients.
I really like the conversation feature. I feel like this has been a game changer for me and my clients. We are able to communicate throughout the day about anything and everything. I have had people take pictures of foods and asked me what I thought, I have had others share dinner plans and recipes. Honestly they feel more like friends than clients.
I have had several people who were genuinely surprised by how much they got out of our conversation. Many have said that it far exceeded their expectations. Several are having some great ah-ha moments with Twine as they discover exactly what it is Twine can do. Really though at the core of it all I think that Twine simply allows you to build genuine relationships of trust, which in my opinion is the key to successful coaching. If that doesn’t exist you are simply another health care provider telling them to do things they really don’t want to do.
The Bottom Line
I have really enjoyed using Twine and the enthusiasm with the new technology has been great. There were many people who had thought about coaching in the past but weren’t really interested until they heard about what Twine was and what it could help them do. So many people know what they need to do to improve their health and well-being, what they need is motivation and accountability. As coaches we help with the motivation part and Twine has really helped with the accountability.