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wellcoaches habits: time to grow faster

In this month's Institute of Coaching report I described The New York Times Op-Ed columnist Tom Friedman's excellent book, a tour de force, on the age of accelerations (Thank You for Being Late). He chronicles four forces driving accelerating and changing change: technology, globalization, climate change, and population growth. All together these forces are fueling scary scenarios. What is most striking?

Today the human capacity to change and adapt isn’t fast enough to keep up, and today is the slowest change will ever be. 

The healthcare workforce exhibits all of the signs of complex, external forces outpacing the human (and organizational) ability to change and adapt, leading to epidemics of burnout and widespread anxiety about the future. The accelerating disruption brought on by information technology that isn't yet putting humans first, unaffordable costs, and epidemics of preventable chronic diseases, feels overwhelming to an exhausted, overworked workforce.

The good news is that the art, science and practice of facilitating human change, also called coaching, has allowed us to identify the habits and skills of transforming ourselves and others in all domains of work, life, health, and well-being. At the Institute of Coaching, and our Coaching in Leadership & Healthcare conference in its tenth year in collaboration with Harvard Medical School, our thought leaders are devoted daily to the translation of established and new theories and an accelerating, emergent flow of evidence into coaching principles and practices.

In 2017, the International Consortium for Health & Wellness Coaching in collaboration with the National Board of Medical Examiners, launched a blueprint of coaching competencies, as well as national standards and a national board certification of health and wellness coaches. We are enabling a workforce of health and wellness coaches to meet the accelerating need for human change and prevention of chronic diseases that are sapping resources and life quality. The 2018 rollout of Medicare and private insurer reimbursement of the CDC’s diabetes prevention program, a group coaching model, will soon be followed by integration of well-trained coaches into primary care to enable partnerships with patients in managing chronic disease and improving wellness. The field is dedicated to ongoing outcomes measurement, research and continual innovation, building on 150 peer-reviewed publications of health and wellness coaching outcomes research, more than 50% of which were published in the past five years.

Beyond coaching patients on their path to well-being, coaching science and skills are gaining traction from top to bottom in healthcare:

1.    More and more, healthcare leaders are engaging leadership coaches to help them accelerate personal change and growth.
2.     Physicians and healthcare providers are learning coaching skills to improve their well-being, patient satisfaction, and engagement in health-giving behaviors.
3.     Physician coaches are helping physicians address burnout and professional development.
4.     Medical residents are being coached by physicians to support their personal and professional growth.
5.    The American Medical Association developed an academic coaching handbook to support the expanding cadre of medical schools and their faculty in coaching medical students. 

A year ago, I wrote an article titled: Coaching in healthcare: It's turtles all the way down. A priority for some time has been gathering the turtles together to support the rollout of coaching habits and skills in healthcare from top to bottom. Last month, leveraging 18 years of experience in teaching coaching skills to more than 10,000 health professionals, Wellcoaches launched a digital platform called Wellcoaches Habits, delivering eight collections of habits (more than 70 in total) to address coaching self and others, emotional balance and thriving, burnout prevention, and transformational leadership. There are potential keystone habits for everyone: keystone habits are those which start a chain reaction that transforms other habits and changes the game.

The habits system also explores dozens of common growth edges that hold us back as leaders and professionals, our signposts for new insights and wisdom. The Wellcoaches habits system is designed for any team or organization that aspires to a culture of coaching where everyone is growing and thriving together.

It’s time to engage fully in the triple aim of human biology: connect, grow, thrive.

Coach Meg @

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