What exactly is evidence-based coaching for behavioral change?
It’s a great question, especially since the word “coach” has been applied to almost every word in the dictionary: sports coaches, life coaches, health coaches, wellness coaches, investing coaches, executive coaches, business coaches, personal coaches, accountability coaches – you get the idea.
Since about 1831, the word coach has referred to “someone who helps another to achieve a goal, pass an exam or improve performance”.
Although evidence-based coaching is a relatively new addition to the coaching universe, it has already made great strides in improving the efficacy of coaching, client outcomes, and improving ROI (return on investment).
We’re going to expand on evidence-based coaching, what it is and how it is helping people (especially those with chronic disease) make substantial life changes that last, reducing or even reversing chronic disease and cutting healthcare costs.
What Evidence-Based Coaching Is
Before the late 1990s, coaching, in general, was mostly an extension of the self-help movement and a mix of disciplines including psychology, counseling, adult learning, coaching, and leadership/management training.
It relied heavily on anecdotal evidence to prove that it worked.
Anecdotal evidence, however, makes it difficult to measure ROI to see if you’re getting results.
So how do you get a measurable standard to evaluate performance?
In 1994, the first research-based coaching was introduced, called cognitive coaching. Soon after, developmental and evidence-based coaching came about.
These disciplines, arising from cognitive science and clinical psychology, sought to restructure the practice of coaching to include verifiable data: scientific evidence, feedback, conversations with the clients, and outcome assessments.
In short, coaches needed to learn how to use evidence-based data to not only measure the effectiveness of their methods but to evolve their strategies with clinically-validated, robust models.
That’s what evidence-based coaching is: coaching + clinical science + data = verifiable results.
How Technology Is Reshaping Evidence-Based Coaching
Technology hasn’t just revolutionized our access to information, how we live, work, and play – it has allowed us to marshal this ocean of data into powerful tools that can change lives.
With the internet, cell phones, fitness trackers, smart tech, and online monitoring, evidence-based coaching is undergoing another evolution.
Nowhere is this truer than with digital evidence-based behavioral change programs. Now instead of asking clients to track their health behaviors then interviewing them or giving them a physical exam two to three times a year, we can monitor their progress in real time.
You can see raised blood-pressure or glucose levels, the number of steps taken, daily anxiety and stress levels, and eating habits.
All of these data can be aggregated to form a clear, clinically-verifiable picture of a client’s emotional, mental and physical health. This gives health coaches an informational dashboard to provide suggestions, make adjustments and give encouragement instantly via text or a phone call.
In addition to a data-driven health overview, the data are hard evidence of shortcomings to be worked on and successes to be celebrated. This active, involved health coaching is perhaps the most valuable tool in addressing the problem of adherence – why so many people fail their health goals..
All of this comes together to create a platform that increases behavioral change success in ways unimaginable before.
Using Data To Drive Behavioral Change
Helping people change bad behaviors harming them physically, mentally, and emotionally is more than just pointing out that sitting on the couch destroying a bag of chips every day is harmful to their health.
Often, people resist the change or even deny that they skipped all their scheduled exercise walks because they’ve been feeling depressed.
They may not even realize it themselves.
That’s where the data compiled in evidence-based behavioral change coaching really show value. The client can see the results in their health app. The health coach can use these data to assess problem areas to be addressed when they need to reach out to their client and use the platform itself to initiate a live chat.
The evidence of health successes and failures helps not only the coaches customize care programs, it gives hard evidence that a client can readily see.
And with active coaching – proactive rather than reactive engagement – clients are left on their own to interpret their health data or self-initiate contact with a health coach.
The success of evidence-based coaching, combined with real-time biometric data and active coaching is the key to making behavioral change programs work.
That’s why AlbumHealth’s digital health platform places a key emphasis on these crucial aspects to create successful health outcomes:
- Evidence-based, clinically validated health coaching
- Health coach administered programs, not client-initiated
- Placing emotional health at the forefront of care to increase program adherence, effectiveness and customer satisfaction
Album Health’s approach is unique and effective, with measurable results that change lives. To learn more about what we do, feel free to explore our website or contact directly.