Health vs. Wellness Coaching: Cultural Competence

Another aspect of communication in our diverse society is a true understanding of cultural competence.

In order to effectively guide a client/patient through health behavior change, it is important to identify their beliefs, values, challenges, and circumstances that may influence his/her behavior and decision-making process. The use of the RESPECT model (Mostow, Crosson, Gordon, Chapman, Gonzales, Hardt, Delgado, Thea and David, 2010) can help refine your skills to build trust in these situations.

Respect: Show a respectful attitude that communicates the value and autonomy of the client and validates his/her concerns

Explanatory: Ask questions that will help you understand their view of what is causing the illness/problem and what he/she thinks might help

Social Context: Consider the impact of this illness on the client’s life including stressors, supports, strengths, and spirituality

Power: Actively listen. Limit interruptions. Do not dominate the conversation.

Empathy: Listen attentively and respond in a way that names and validates the client’s emotion

Concerns/Fears: Ask open-ended questions, use non-verbal cues like nods to encourage the client to give details

Trust/Team Building/Therapeutic Alliance: Reassure and clarify. Negotiate differences .Notice and respond to indications of mistrust

The RESPECT model can help you bridge cultural differences and allow you to support the client/patient effectively through the behavior change process.

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