Telephonic Health Coaching

Telephonic Health Coaching

Telephonic Health Coaching Call
What Makes a Winner? What Makes a Dud?

man of laptop and phone doing telephonic health coaching

"Hello, Mr. Smith, this is Tom (HC), your health coach calling today."
Smith: "Hello."

HC: "How are you?"

Smith: "I'm pretty good."

HC: "I see that your blood sugar has been holding pretty steady it seems from your tracking data. That's great."

Smith: "Yeah, it's been alright."

HC: "And that your blood pressure is doing pretty well too."

Smith: "Yeah, it's better. I went to see my Dr. last week and she said, I'm doing pretty good."

HC: "That's great to hear. Having any problems that I might be able to help with?"

Smith: "None, that I know of. "

HC: "Are you having any trouble with your diet?"

Smith: "Same thing as usual, but I manage."

HC: "Remember that your diet is very important, and I can help with this if you need it."

Smith: "Okay, I know."

HC: "Your blood pressure monitor still working okay? I know you had a problem with it a few weeks ago."

Smith: "It's working okay now."

HC: "Great!"

(Other pleasantries ensue and the call ends with a follow-up planned in 2 weeks.)

What Makes Tom's Health Coaching Call a Dud? 

(*Compare your observations with those at the end of this Snippet!)

While the majority of the call served to give Tom the objective data he needed, there wasn't any meat on the bone about Mr. Smith, the person. How can we make our coaching calls be more engaging and health behavior-focused for the patient? Achieve better outcomes for the patient and lower overall cost for employers? And more satisfying for us, the clinician?

Telephonic health coaching or wellness coaching is one of the most frequently used avenues today to engage patients and clients in a discussion about changes they would like to make toward improved health and better outcomes. The Pew Research Center released data in April of 2021 showing that the vast majority of Americans - 97% - now own a cellphone of some kind.

While different age generations generally prefer different modes of communication, the telephone continues to be widely used by managed care and companies offering health coaching services. The advantages of telephonic coaching are numerous:

        • 97% of Americans have a phone
        • Cost-effective
        • Ease of connecting
        • No specific location needed
        • Affords mobility for the user
        • Background noise can be minimized via earbuds

What makes for a successful telephonic coaching call? What makes for a dud? 

Use these Do's and Don'ts as a quick self-check evaluation tool!

        • Listen intently for cues to engage patient further (Can make the difference in behavior change)
        • Work from an agenda agreed upon together; often decided on the call prior
        • Stick to the agreed upon agenda, unless the patient leads you otherwise
        • Focus intently on what the patient/client says
        • Listen for distracting background noises; this can impede patient's listening ability
        • Call from a quiet location; use earbuds
        • Engage the patient via motivational interviewing

        • Use a speaker phone
        • Multi-task
        • Make the patient's objective data the primary topic
        • Provide unnecessary teaching to simply fill up the time
        • Overlook prime opportunities to engage patient about themselves

*What makes Tom's health coaching call a Dud?

        1. Focused on objective data from the start and throughout the call
        2. Reminded patient of what's important. (Mr. Smith knows this already.)
        3. Three missed opportunities to engage the patient for lasting behavior change:

    a. Smith: "Yeah, it's been alright."
    b. Smith: "Yeah, it's better. I went to see my Dr. last week, and she said I'm doing pretty good."
    c. Smith: "Same thing as usual, but I manage."

Make Your Telephonic Coaching Calls Winners, NOT Duds!

Learn More:

Health Coach Communication

Generational Health Coaching
Health Coaching
Health Coach vs Wellness Coaching