A day in the life of a wellness coach - Public Health Dorset
A day in the life of a wellness coach
Every day, the wellness coaches for our LiveWell Dorset service support people to lose weight, be more active, stop smoking and cut down on alcohol. As part of #ourday, wellness coach Julie-Ann Booker, takes us through her working day.
Check my calendar for the day and week ahead. Update my electronic diary with my paper version (sometimes I make appointments when I am in the community).
Quick check of emails. Answer the urgent ones and flag some which are not so urgent to complete later during admin time.
Any missed calls? If so call them back. Answer any text messages. Respond to any answer machine messages.
Check my list of tasks for the day, phone clients requesting coaching and book initial assessment appointments with them.
First booked coaching client of the day. I am supporting someone who lives in a rural area and has limited mobility. I am supporting them with physical activity and weight management. I agree to send them a copy of the NHS chair exercises, although I recommend they check these are suitable for her with her doctor. I also look at her food diary and we agree areas where she could reduce her sugar and saturated fat intake. I make a new appointment to see her in two weeks’ time.
Some admin tasks to complete in between calls. I arrange meetings with organisations who are interested to learn about how LiveWell Dorset could be beneficial to people they work with and their local communities.
Second booked coaching client of the day. This is for an initial assessment where a discussion clarifies what the client is hoping to achieve, in this case reducing alcohol intake. From their interaction with the wellness advisors – who make an inital assessment of people when they get in touch with us – it has already been established this person may have a dependency on alcohol and has been advised by a hospital to get support from a specialist alcohol service. They haven’t contacted the specialist service yet, so I make another appointment at a later time so they have time to see the specialist service before we begin any coaching work.
In between coaching clients I return to my admin tasks, including designing a calendar to record coach-delivered training.
Third coaching client of the day. I have been working with this person for a few months and this is their sixth coaching session. They have had support with weight management and managed to lose eight kilograms in 14 weeks and is very happy with the success. The person has improved mobility and we discuss them starting on the activity pathway.
I activate the pathway on the person’s file and email the office to generate a gym referral letter so the client can take advantage of the reduced cost gym membership, which is local to their address.
I arrange to call the client in two weeks’ time to begin coaching on the physical activity pathway.
I return to making phone calls to other organisations who have expressed wanting to know more about LiveWell Dorset. This includes working with a rural GP practice who have invited me to attend their surgery. This is to do a talk with a patient group who may be susceptible to diabetes if they do not adopt a healthier lifestyle in terms of diet and exercise.
Attend a meeting at a local housing association. The meeting is attended by 12 staff. I do a presentation to inform the staff about our service and how it might benefit them, their friends and family, and also their tenants.
There are discussions about the most vulnerable tenants in terms of mobility, alcohol-related criminal activity, smoking-related issues – such as fires and properties smelling of cigarettes – and how LiveWell Dorset services might be beneficial for particular areas where their tenants are on low incomes. I am invited to attend a tenant’s meeting in a few weeks.
Time for the weekly coaches meeting. This is an important event during the week where the six coaches have a valuable opportunity to share their success stories and things they may be struggling with and to get mutual support. It is a time to share developments and changes in the service.
This is half an hour put aside in my diary to write some ideas for behaviour change techniques which could be suggested to clients when they have run out of ideas of how to make changes. This piece of work is valuable to coaches because it gives us an idea to suggest to clients for how they could improve their lifestyle.
Follow up calls to clients at their three month, six month or 12 months point of first contacting the service. These are on my automated task list and need attention regularly to make sure people are contacted in a timely manner.
I go through the follow up assessments with each person I speak with and they discuss further support they may need at this point. I arrange a coaching session with one client who indicates they have been neglecting their weight management plan and could use a bit of support to get back on track.
Final coaching client of the day. I have contacted this client every week for four weeks and they have been successful in giving up smoking. The person values the coaching session as it is an opportunity to share their success and talk about things that have been difficult and explore ways to stay on track and deal with cravings.
The client talks about support they have from the SmokeStop service at their local pharmacy and use of their nicotine replacement therapy, which is patches and an ecigarette. The client feels positive and I make another appointment to speak with them next week.
I end the day by checking emails which have come in during the day and attending to the flagged emails in my inbox.
I am delivering a talk on the effects of sugar at a wellbeing event in the morning, so I check the times and venue and collect my resources ready for the session. This includes marketing material – such as posters, business cards and referral forms – the task resources and activities, andas hand-outs for the audience.
Julie-Ann Booker is a wellness coach for our LiveWell Dorset service.