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3.7 Resources for patients - coaching
'Boris Becker changes coaches in search of success.'
'Coach: Convey in or provide with a coach.' (1612)
Shorter Oxford English Dictionary
Knowledge and skills are sufficient for some people to cope with a consultation; others need coaching to make the best use of their resources in the consultation and in clinical decision-making.
3.7.1 Training and coaching
The job of the trainer is to improve the fitness of the individual to ensure that an individual performs as well as possible when under pressure. A high level of fitness is a necessary prerequisite to success, and the provision of coaching does not reduce the need for the individual to acquire knowledge and skills. However, the coach focuses much more on the psychological preparation of an individual for a specific event. Many people can be trained how to find knowledge and given the skills to ask questions of clinicians, but coaching increases the probability that the individual will use the knowledge and skills in the crucial consultation.
3.7.2 The crucial consultation
Every consultation is crucial but the experienced clinician becomes accustomed to crucial decisions, for example about which treatment to choose for colorectal cancer, in which he may participate hundreds of times in his career. For the patient, however, familiarity with the crucial consultation is important for they may only have one consultation in which to make a crucial decision and, for many medical problems, that crucial consultation will occur only once in a lifetime. There is increasing interest in coaching patients to prepare them for the consultation.
3.7.3 The benefits of coaching
Coaching primes and prepares the patient. Sportsmen and women choose a coach to help them realise their potential, and coaches do this by:
3.7.4 Coaching provides focused preparation
There are different ways in which groups like Health Dialog provide coaching.
Coaches also help people by reflecting on their performance, both to assist them to come to terms with disappointment and to help them prepare for the next time they may face the same challenge.
3.7.5 Healthcare organisations can encourage coaching
Healthcare organisations of the 21st century should encourage coaching so that patients can make the best use of their limited contact with the service. They can do this by: