If you are a certified medical assistant and have been wondering how adopting a coaching mindset can benefit your patients, I hope this article will provide you with the answers you seek. According to the American Association of Medical Assistants, there are several clinics whose healthcare workers are now incorporating coaching in their interaction with patients.
What Does Having a Coaching Mindset Mean?
The coaching mindset has to do with having the right thought pattern, the proper way of thinking to assist your patients or clients effectively. When you adopt the proper mindset, you will then be suited to offer your clients (patients) the guidance that will impel them in resolving their own problems and achieve their goals.
What we are witnessing in the healthcare field today are allied health professionals like medical assistants working with patients in achieving and maintaining healthy lifestyles. In health coaching, the coach partners with the patient, helping them discover their strengths, challenges, and solutions. Medical assistants can work as health coaches to support patients in managing their conditions. Examples of such health conditions are diabetes and hypertension.
The Medical Assistant
According to the American Association of Medical Assistant (AAMA), a Medical Assistant works alongside physicians, mainly in outpatient or ambulatory care facilities, such as medical offices and clinics. Medical assistants are one of the fastest-growing allied health professionals and they are available and affordable in many settings. The CMA (AAMA) is the only medical assisting certification that requires graduation from a postsecondary medical assisting program accredited by an accrediting body recognized by the United States Department of Education (USDE) or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Other organizations that credentials Medical Assistants are the American Medical Technologists (AMT), National Center for Competency Testing (NCTT) and the National Healthcare Association (NHA).
The Medical Assistant & The Coaching Mindset That Will Positively Impact The Patient’s Overall Health
Medical Assistants are typically the professionals that work with health care providers, mostly physicians. They provide much of the patient follow-up care in clinics under the supervision of the physician. A recent study showed that health coaching performed by medical assistants in two separate clinics significantly improved the overall level of care of their patients. These workers accomplished this by adopting the characteristics that embody the coaching mindset. Let us look at some of them:
1. Active Listening – Coaches are trained to listen wholeheartedly. They employ active listening skills by repeating back what information they gathered via paraphrasing. Reflecting with accuracy shows your clients/patients that you’re intentionally listening to what is communicated both verbally and non-verbally (body language, gestures). Successful coaching primarily involves listening and questioning.
2. Powerful Questions – Asking critical questions guides your clients to get to the root of their problems and help them achieve inner clarity and discover their own truth. They are not close-ended (yes and no) questions. Powerful questions help clients to reflect on a problem in a different manner.
3. Maintaining Focus – As a coach, you must be capable of maintaining focus (staying in control) over your own thoughts and emotions. You must remember it is not about you, no matter how similar your clients’ stories may compare to yours. The focus should solely be on their own mission and goals.
4. Empathy – I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to show empathy when working in healthcare; especially with chronically ill patients. Coaches are trained to be empathetic but in a practical way. You can be empathetic while at the same time maintaining the appropriate boundaries (not allowing their personal story/issues overwhelm you).
5. Feedback – Providing relevant and clear constructive feedback build up trust in your coaching relationship and enables the client (patient) to feel comfortable with you.
Adopting a coaching mindset makes you an effective allied healthcare professional that your patients and also colleagues will benefit immensely from. When you as a medical assistant help your patients to think through their health issues in such a way that they’re fit to develop their own problem-solving abilities, they will be empowered to take better care of themselves and enjoy a healthy lifestyle.
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Writer, Coaches Training Blog community