Health Coaching Approach – Part 3: Working from the Patient’s Agenda

Evidence-based Health Coaching helps patients adopt necessary behavior change through methods that differ from traditional practitioner-patient relationships. One of the approaches used in Evidence-based Health Coaching is working from the patient’s agenda, rather than your own. By asking questions and encouraging your patient to explain his or her thoughts, feelings, frustrations, challenges, etc. about their condition or diagnosis, you are able to help them take ownership of the process of behavior change and help them with that transition.

There are several questions you can ask to encourage your patients to open up, including:

  • What is most important to you about your condition? Your health?
  • What concerns you the most about your condition?
  • Tell me where you want to be in your recovery.
  • What would you like to change the most regarding your condition? (Huffman, 2009, p. 492).

The answers to these questions offer you invaluable insight into the perspective and beliefs of your patient. And that perspective and those beliefs can help you guide them effectively down the path of behavior change, without them feeling pressured. It allows you to work at that process together.



Huffman, M. (2009). Health Coaching: A Fresh, New Approach to Improve Quality Outcomes and Compliance for

Patients with Chronic Conditions. Home Healthcare Nurse, 27 (8), p. 490-498.

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