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How to Make Coaching a Successful Part of Your Wellbeing Program

March 26, 2019 / Corporate Wellness

Happy, healthy employees — it’s a goal for most employers and wellbeing programs. Besides the obvious benefits for employees, employers can also see improved productivity and a better bottom line when they support a healthy workforce.

And, effective strategies that help employees tackle chronic health issues and make lasting changes for their health are needed now more than ever. In the U.S., six out of 10 adults have one or more chronic diseases, and workforce health issues cost employers $530 billion every year.

So beyond offering digital wellbeing tools, how can employers successfully support employees to be healthier and happier? With a real human, that’s how!

“I think health coaches are the best possible complement to the healthcare system on the market today … we help to address that gap in care.”  — Nellie Brau, Virgin Pulse Lifestyle Coach  

The Human Connection

holisticperson-first approach is what sets successful coaching services apart from those that fail to deliver results. But if you’re looking to augment your wellbeing program with telephonic or onsite coaching services, there’s a lot to consider. Set your organization and your people up for success by keeping these tips in mind. 

Keys to a Successful Coaching Program

Holistic Approach

Wellbeing is about so much more than just physical health — it’s about mental, emotional and financial wellbeing as well. Therefore, health coaching programs shouldn’t be just for those with serious medical conditions; they should support employees wherever they are in their wellbeing journey with personalized support from live experts and coaches. For an enhanced experience and better results, coaching programs should integrate both lifestyle and condition management coaching.  

Human Connections

Wellbeing program technology is a great resource, but sometimes there’s no substitute for the human connection. Live coaches should meet with members onsite or over the phone to discuss their lifestyle, needs, challenges and personal goals. A successful coaching program utilizes a wellbeing app to keep members engaged and informed in between coaching sessions and makes the most of the time they have one-on-one.   

The Coach’s Role

Health coaching isn’t about just educating members and sending them on their way. Coaches should approach members from a judgment-free zone, working together to help find solutions focused on healthy habits and behavior change. A good health coach will engage in an open conversation with a member about their lifestyle, personal situation and any challenges they may be facing (whether mentally, physically, emotionally, etc.) before offering support. They should be connecting with members at least one a month, to maintain the relationship and keep members motivated. A coach’s true role is that of support, empowering members — wherever they may be in their wellbeing journey — with a holistic approach to wellness.  

Dedicated Coach Model

The ultimate goal is for each member to have a dedicated health coach. This helps build trust over time and offers consistency with each coaching session. However, it’s important that members find the right fit with a health coach, so they should have the option to try someone new if they’re not making a connection with their coach. Health coaches should also have different areas of expertise and varied backgrounds — including dietitians, nutritionists, pharmacists, those who specialize in prenatal care, diabetes management, etc. — so there’s support for every member’s needs. This allows coaches to connect members to an expert on any given topic if the need arises.   

Flexible Schedules

In addition to allowing members to find their best fit in a health coach, coaching sessions should be flexible, too. Remember, shift workers tend to work outside of regular business hours, so having coaches with flexible schedules is important to support an entire workforce.  

As an employer, implementing a coaching program and investing in your employees’ overall health and happiness demonstrates that you care. When your employees are happy and healthy — both at work and on the job — everyone benefits. Your investment will be rewarded with more productive and engaged employees who appreciate your commitment to their wellbeing.  

Learn more about Virgin Pulse’s person-first coaching services in our exclusive interview with two of our expert coaches.  

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