By: Monica (Thibodeau) Jansen, Strategic Manager, Coaching Services
“What do you do for work?” It’s a question that often gets asked when you meet a group of new people personally or professionally. I’ve always found this question a bit daunting to answer because as a health coach, sometimes the response I want to give is, “Well, what DON’T I do?”.
Coaching is a special profession because you’re challenged to leave your own agenda out of it. Our team of coaches at Virgin Pulse can have upwards of 20 or more multimodal interactions a day, learning more about each member’s personality, goals, and health history with each call or message. The amount of information we absorb daily is incredible. I am always astounded by the fact that at one moment, I could be supporting someone who wants to start a simple exercise routine and in the next 20 minutes, I could be consoling someone who was experiencing an extremely difficult life transition.
Let me tell you about one of my most (initially) resistant members, Kya.* Kya started participating in coaching strictly to earn her quarterly wellbeing points and had no problem telling me that! Many of our initial conversations were surface level, but Kya was energetic and outgoing. Before I knew it, she was sharing a lot about herself during our coaching calls, and we even managed to set a few small steps she would work on. After about six months into our coaching sessions, I called Kya one afternoon and could hear that something was “off” in her voice. When I gently called attention to this, I expected her to say she was simply busy, but to my surprise she told me that her adult daughter with autism was having a difficult day. They had recently moved and the change in her daughter’s environment was causing her confusion. I learned that her daughter is non-verbal and at times, figuring out how to best support her can be a challenge for Kya, who is a single parent.
This led to a fruitful discussion about how there are no silos when it comes to our health. When we experience stress, it can show up in many ways and impact all parts of our life. It’s a barrier to other health goals and more. When Kya shared this challenging situation with me, we were able to connect her stress to poor sleep and brain fog throughout her workday. We were then able to brainstorm ways to release stress that resonated with her, like going for a walk.
When our time was up, I asked Kya how she was feeling now compared to how she felt when she answered my call. She let out a sigh and exclaimed, “Like a new person! I typically don’t let out the frustrations I feel when it comes to caring for my daughter because I’m so grateful I have the means to support her. You taught me today that holding that in isn’t good for my health – and I must be healthy for her.”
People need people, and when our members are supported in the right way, at the right time, we see meaningful change – like Kya. No matter where they are on their health and wellbeing journey or what their question may be, the Virgin Pulse team of experienced professionals is here to listen and empower them. Our NCQA-certified programs feature coaches with training backed by the National Board for Health & Wellness, as well as a variety of degrees and life experiences. Our team of on-demand experts emphasizes choice, autonomy, and small steps that build self-efficacy and lasting results, including:
- 46% of coaching members improved their stress score after at least 3 calls with a health coach.
- 56% of coaching members maintained or improved their BMI after 3+ coaching calls related to nutrition or weight management.
- 75% of members agreed or strongly agreed they feel more focused, present, and motivated at work after engaging with a member of our live services team.
Even with these amazing stats, it can be hard to truly appreciate the effect a one-on-one relationship with a coach has. How do you quantify the emotional impact of being a listening ear to someone like Kya in a moment of peak stress? Often, members enter our program expecting one thing – to start cooking more, lose weight, or earn points – but end up gaining so much more: a true connection with someone who cares and clarity about their situation. Our coaches call their members knowing that they may be picking up the phone after a momentous success or at the end of their most challenging day and they meet that member exactly where they’re at.
So, what do we do as health coaches? We offer the type of invaluable support you just might have to experience for yourself. Learn more on our website, or set up a coaching session today via your Virgin Pulse program.
*Member’s name and details were changed to protect their privacy.