Health Coaching Approach – Part 6: Recognizing Readiness for Change

Evidence-based Health Coaching helps patients adopt necessary behavior change through methods that differ from traditional practitioner-patient relationships. The final approach used in Evidence-based Health Coaching is recognizing readiness for change.

Fortunately, for this approach, you have a tool! See Figure 1 below.


Miller & Rollnick (2002) developed the Importance of Change Ruler to determine how ready a patient is for change. The entire basis behind the ruler is the understanding that if a patient does not believe the change is important, then he or she is not ready to begin the change process (Miller & Rollnick, 2002). This ruler can be used anytime in the process. You could lead with it in your conversations with the patient, or you could employ some of the other Health Coaching approaches and ask this at the end to determine if your patient is truly ready to move forward.

Throughout the Health Coaching process, you are essentially arming your patient to take on the change process. You know it won’t be easy and so do they. But, with your help they should feel supported in the process and they should be somewhat confident in his or her own abilities. The patient should also believe the change is important. This is a must.

We have reached the end of this series on the Evidence-Based Health Coaching approach! We hope you are as armed for the change battle as your patients will be for theirs!




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.

Miller, W., & Rollnick, S. (2002). Motivational interviewing: Preparing people for change. New York: Guilford                       Press.

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