Coaching is a way of enabling people to find their own solutions to their challenges and so it’s always useful improve your coaching skills and use them as much as possible.
As a doctor you may need to be prescriptive at certain times, yet there are instances when you could use coaching skills rather than just telling the patient what to do. When someone is involved in the decision-making process then there is likely to be greater compliance with the part of the procedure or treatment about which they have less choice. Here is a reminder of ways to use coaching within the medical consulation:
Ask the patient for their suggestions:
Rather than telling the patient with heart condition ‘ Lose weight and stop smoking,’ ask:
‘ what will you alter in your life in order to increase your chances of recovery from this illness?’
When they (hopefully) say they need to lose weight you could ask how they intend to do that, or what help they would like from you or the practice in order to achieve their goals.’
Encourage them to set achievable and specific goals:
If, for example, they have come up with their needed lifestyle change would involve weight loss find out how they intend t achieve this rather than plunging a diet sheet in their hand and saying: ‘just do what it says in the leaflet.‘
When the patient knows the goals they are working towards they are being forward thinking and outcome focussed and that in itself can be beneficial to someone who is feeling awful in the present time. It’s about encouraging them to think positively, take each step as it comes while keeping a desired outcome in their mind do they can move as close to it as they can do.
If you have useful information to share in the discussion then always ask:
‘ May I tell you what happened when other patients tried to do that?’ or ‘Can I tell you the options you have to cure this illness or to relieve your symptoms?’
When the patient asks for more information about their illness, ask first what they already know about it or if they have known someone with something similar and what they might be worried about in relation to that illness. In this way you can focus in on their worries and anxieties and discuss their options further, allaying fears and reassuring them about what they can do to help themselves in addition to what you can do too to help them.
You may find coaching can help you too! Click here to find out more.