How Health Coaching Can Help You Achieve Your Goals

A little support makes a big difference when creating a healthy lifestyle

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MissionPoint Helps members take charge of their health in many ways. Health Partners work with you on everything from making and keeping doctor’s appointments to prescription review and home safety checks.

But there’s so much more to living a healthy lifestyle. Many members want to lose weight, handle ongoing conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure better, and even work on reducing stress. Thanks to their training with the Wellcoaches program, Health Partners can help there, too.

“We really meet people where they are in terms of behavior change,” says Chad Shirar, director of Ambulatory Care for MissionPoint. “Health coaching is the opposite of just giving answers and providing advice. We have unique dialogues with members, and through ongoing conversations and interactions we help them help themselves.”

Members Set the Agenda

The member drives the process, while the coach is just the passenger, Shirar adds.

“If someone gets stuck, instead of pulling them out we dive right in alongside them and help them figure their own way out,” he says. “For example, if someone is having issues losing weight, they might hear, ‘Have you tried Weight Watchers?’ or ‘Calorie counting is a really effective way to manage your weight.’ A health coach will say, ‘Weight loss is a difficult thing in today’s society. You have tried lots of things and are frustrated. What do you think is your next best step?’”

Slow and Steady Pace

The difference, Shirar says, is that coaches realize that the member is very active and engaged, but has been unable to find a solution that works regarding this aspect of his or her health. The coach is able to work with the member to create “micro movements,” little, quick wins that nudge the member toward the larger goal.

“Instead of looking at something that’s just insurmountable, they create a pathway to get to that spot,” he says. “We use SMART, or specific, measurable, action-based, realistic and timely, goal-setting, to make that happen.”

Getting Started Is Easy

Members can reach out to MissionPoint for coaching, or may be referred by their primary care physician or current Health Partner. However it happens, the first step is a “motivation interview.” That just means the member sits down with a Health Partner who’ll be acting as a wellness coach, and talks about what energizes and motivates them. That helps with goal setting, because through this process the member identifies the actions he or she wishes to achieve, such as losing weight ahead of a family reunion, along with the pitfalls he or she faces, such as tempting foods.

“We work to get members to where they are coaching themselves,” Shirar says. “Wellness coaches are the bridge between education and implementation. A doctor will tell someone their cholesterol is up and they need to lose weight. The coach says, ‘OK, you have this mountain to climb. We’re going to stand here at the bottom, plan each step up to the top and then have a regular conversation while you are taking those steps.’ At the end of the day, the missing link is someone’s belief that he or she can sustain this new behavior for the long haul. We get their confidence up through this nurturing, self-directed process, and then they are much more likely to achieve their specific health and wellness goals.”

Want more information? Call MissionPoint Health Partners at 855-288-6747 or email us at members@missionpointhealth.org to learn how a Health Partner can work with you to improve your health.