Health coaches produce results

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Certified health coaches play a key role in Henry Ford Health Products' new Self-Health Center. The coaches help patients develop strategies and goals--often based on a doctor's orders--to better manage a health problem. Henry Ford's certified health coach Jim Cameron talked to HME News recently and discussed how he works with patients.

HME News: First, explain a little about how a health coach works.

Jim Cameron: Health coaches try to help people figure out what it is they need to do. Help them find their own motivation. Help them create their own plans. Have them accept the responsibility for changing their health.

HME: Say a doctor tells someone they need to lose weight and gives them a diet to follow. How would you work with that person?

Cameron: I'm not going to tell them what to do. I'm going to say, "Tell me what it is you are here to see me for today." I'm going to ask why this is important to him. If he does lose weight, how will it change his life? I'm listening to him. I'm not even asking a lot of questions. They motivate themselves based on the conversation we have.

HME: It sounds a little bit likepsychology.

Cameron: Some of the tools we use are the same, but psychologist go into the patient's past. We don't do that in coaching. We focus on the future. We want to create a compelling vision so they can outgrow their problems.

HME: What kind of success rate do you have?

Cameron: Research shows that, if a physician tells someone to eat better and lose weight, the success rate is between 5% and 10%. In the coaching model, personally, I'm getting movement on about 75% of the people I work with. They actually make some change and another 15% make substantial changes.