Ross Joannides, Team Leader, Impact Health Coaching, West Sussex

Having previously worked with young adults with learning disabilities and mental health problems, I became very passionate about the opportunity to implement a new approach. By putting the individual at the centre of their care plan and support, we have been able to demonstrate how rewarding this approach could be.

Our team began by completing Health Coaching Training delivered by TPC Health, achieving a Foundation Level Coaching Qualification from the European Mentoring and Coaching Council (EMCC). We have since engaged in other training days including Solution Focused Therapies, Motivational Interviewing, Integrating CBT and Supporting Behaviour Change.

Now that I am specialising in this approach, the team and I have successfully implemented and developed an NHS Health Coaching Service in the Mid Sussex, Horsham and Crawley areas.

Quantifying the effects of health coaching is always a challenge but by using an NHS approved risk stratification system, we have been able to demonstrate that healthcare utilisation reduced when compared to people who declined the service.

With health coaching still being a relatively new concept in the UK, it is sometimes challenging to work with individuals who have depended on the medical model for a long time and are resistant to change. My experience is that the health coaching approach has had a hugely positive impact on the people involved. I have seen people achieve goals and make behavioural changes that are going to be crucial to the individual and how they manage their health.

From a personal point of view, it has given me new skills, and an improved attitude to addressing day to day issues in more positive way. I also believe we are beginning to change the approach of other highly skilled medical, social professionals and clinicians.

I am very proud that we seem to be changing mindsets and giving people the tools they need to self-manage their health.

Ross’s tips for health coaching:

  • Establish clear roles between coach and pupil in order to manage the process.
  • Establish clear goals for each session.
  • Always listen to everything that is said, and not said, by the pupil.
  • Withhold personal beliefs and opinions.
  • Always reflect on your practice and never believe you've mastered health coaching.

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