Today, I want to introduce you to a client that I worked with for over a year, Mr. P. During our time together, I learned about his daily routine, empowered him to work toward his goals, and worked to understand his barriers to achieving his health goals. Mr. P. was not shy about sharing what was going on in his life. He loved to talk about his family and friends. His personality usually meant that if I asked one open-ended question, I would get my next three questions answered. There was no holding back! Mr. P was managing a life-threatening disease that required him to take three life-saving medications per day and use his oxygen tank. He talked about his best friend, his wife, and consistently mentioned that while he knew he would leave her behind, he wanted to make sure she had everything she needed.
Overall, I had a good understanding of his motivations, values, and interests. All this helped as we worked together to formulate his smart goal and tie it to his motives. He set a S.M.A.R.T. goal to lose 10 pounds in 12 weeks. His primary motivation was to be there for his family as long as he could. With that all settled, each week, we would review his progress and work on discussing what behaviors he would work on each week to help reach that weight loss goal.
One week, we were discussing his medications. He shared with me that he was only taking one of his required three doses per day. Again, this was a life-saving drug to help with this life-threatening disease. When I asked the open-ended question, “What is contributing to you missing two of your doses of medication?”, his response was, “I don’t know,” and an overall shift in the tone of his voice happened suddenly. This was not the Mr. P I had grown accustomed to over the previous weeks. I paused for a second, thinking to myself, “Where do I go from here?” I had never been faced with resistance from this client before. I decided to sit in the silence for a second and take a step back. Mr. P continued to hold his line, so I asked, “How could missing these doses affect your life?” He took a second and started sharing a list of regurgitated items from his doctor. I then used some reflective listening to summarize what he had shared with me, but then probed him on what it meant to him personally and how this could affect his family (again, his primary motivation).
He took a second, and then his whole demeanor changed. He opened up about why he wasn’t taking that medication. He felt like he wouldn’t lose weight if he had to eat with every dose of medicine. After discovering this with the client, it was an easy discussion to break down those perceptions that eating with his treatments of medication would impede his weight loss.
The tools and skills you gain from taking the NBHWC course will help you connect with your clients and get to the root of their barriers. You can be the change agent who helps them look at a problem differently and think of various solutions to help them achieve their goals. Using my coaching skills allowed me to help Mr. P throughout our time together. Then, he felt confident taking it on his own from there!