Facilitating Behavior Change : Back to School Part 5

facilitating behavior change

So far we have talked about several different concepts and begun to develop skills that will help you communicate as effectively as possible with your patients. We have learned to recognize their communication and learning styles and we have learned how to actively listen to patients. But, how can these concepts actual help when facilitating behavior change?

First, you must understand the Six Stages of Change and the Health Coach’s Role, according to the National Society of Health Coaches:

  1. Stage 1: Pre-contemplation (No desire to change)  During this stage:
    1. Develop rapport and use empathy (by communicating effectively and through active listening)
    2. Ask for permission to share information
    3. Discover the patient’s concerns
    4. Don’t burn bridges
  2. Stage 2: Contemplation (Thinking about change)  During this stage:
    1. Recognize and accept ambivalence (again, through effective communication)
    2. Review the “pros” and “cons”
    3. Encourage positive statements and goals
  3. Stage 3: Preparation (Ready to make a change)  During this stage:
    1. Define expectations (another that requires communication)
    2. Clarify goals
    3. Identify co-behaviors
    4. Reinforce accountability
    5. Mitigate barriers to change
    6. Enlist social support
  4. Stage 4: Action (Behavior change has started)  During this stage: 
    1. Reinforce the behavior (the communication trend continues!)
    2. Acknowledge the cost
    3. Develop coping strategies
  5. Stage 5: Maintenance (Working to prevent relapse, six months and beyond)  During this stage:
    1. Support changes (can you guess that effective communication is needed once more?)
    2. Affirm self-efficacy
    3. Discuss coping strategies
    4. Develop escape plans
    5. Review long-term goals
  6. Stage 6: Termination (Success versus Relapse)  During this stage: 
    1. Re-label failure (communication, communication, communication!)
    2. Empathy
    3. Review

Did you see a trend within the six stages of change? How are you feeling about your communication skills after the first few blogs in this series? If you’re feeling confident, that’s awesome! If you’re not, take a look at the video below to see how Health Coaching Certification through the National Society of Health Coaches can help you master these concepts!

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