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Health and Wellbeing Coach

Overview of the role

Health and Wellbeing Coaches (HWBCs) will predominately use health coaching skills to support people with lower levels of patient activation to develop the knowledge, skills and confidence to become active participants in their care so that they can reach their self-identified health and wellbeing goals. Patient Activation refers to the spectrum of knowledge, skills and confidence in patients and the extent to which they feel engaged and confident in taking care of their condition. HWBCs may also provide access to self-management education, peer support and social prescribing.

HWBCs will use a non-judgemental approach that supports the person to self-identify existing issues and encourages proactive prevention of new and existing illnesses. This approach is based on using strong communication and negotiation skills, supports personal choice and positive risk-taking, addresses potential consequences, and ensures people understand the accountability of their own decisions based on what matters to the person.

They will work alongside people to coach and motivate them through multiple sessions, supporting them to self-identify their needs, set goals, and help them to implement their personalised health and care plan.

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Education and training required

The Personalised Care Institute will set out what training is available and expected for HWBCs. Further information will be provided when published. HWBCs will be required to be trained in health coaching in line with the NHSE/I Implementation and quality summary guide.

  • Training will include understanding the basics of social prescribing, plus an accredited health coaching skills programme (minimum of four days) and documented practice hours, along with opportunities for reflection and follow up activities.

  • Ongoing regular supervision from a health coaching mentor is required. Any health coaching provider will have to be accredited by the Personalised Care Institute (PCI).

Career framework

The starting salary for Health and Wellbeing Coaches is AfC up to band 5.

Job description

NHSE/I have developed a job description and recruitment pack which is available on the Future NHS website. Access to the site requires user registration. Once registered, navigate to the role selection page to find a range of supporting resources.

For brief outline of responsibilities, skills and competencies please see below.

Activities Undertaken

  • The role will require managing and prioritising a caseload, in accordance with the needs, priorities and any urgent support required by individuals in the caseload.

  • To provide one-to-one health coaching support for people with one or more long term conditions, based on what is important to them, with the aim of improving people’s levels of ‘patient activation’.

  • Empowering people to improve their health outcomes and sense of wellbeing, preventing unnecessary reliance on clinical service.

  • Providing interventions such as self-management education and peer support.

  • Supporting people to establish and attain goals set by the person based on what is important to them, building on goals that are important to the individual.

  • Working with the social prescribing service to support the triaging of referrals that connect people to the right intervention / community-based activities which support their health and wellbeing.

  • To work as part of a multi-disciplinary, multi-agency team to promote health coaching and to be ambassadors for personalised care and supported self-management, modelling the coaching approach in their work.

  • To support local health, social care and voluntary sector professionals to make appropriate referrals to the service.

  • To promote and raise awareness of the health coaching service, particularly to groups and communities that experience barriers to access.

  • To attend and contribute to team meetings and events as required by the service.

  • To support the system they work within to develop pathways that are relevant to the needs of people who receive health coaching.

  • Provide support to local community groups and work with other health, social care, and voluntary sector providers to support the patients’ health and well-being holistically.

  • Ensure that all Primary Care Network (PCN) staff are made aware of health coaching and social prescribing services and support colleagues to improve their skills and understanding of personalised care, behavioural approaches and ensuring consistency in the follow up of people’s goals where a multi-disciplinary team (MDT) is involved.

  • Raise awareness within the PCN of shared decision making conversations.

  • Work with people with lower activation to understand their level of knowledge, skills, and confidence when engaging with their health and wellbeing.

  • Explore and support access to a personal health budget, where appropriate, for their care and support.

  • Utilise existing IT and MDT channels to screen patients, with an aim to identify those that would benefit from health coaching.

  • To work flexibly, adapting to the needs of the service and client group while maintaining the integrity of the role.

  • To collate service user experience and impact of health coaching as part of the delivery of personalised care.

  • To participate and collect data that measures the impact of health coaching as an intervention that supports embedding personalised care into local health systems e.g. collect data entry relating to the health coaching activity in GP, LA and hospital clinical systems or other systems, as required.

Skills and Competencies

  • Active and empathic listening.

  • Effective questioning.

  • Building trust and rapport.

  • Providing supportive challenge.

  • Shared agenda setting.

  • Collaborative goal setting.

  • Shared follow up planning.

  • Using simple health literate communication techniques.

  • Structuring conversations using a coaching approach.

  • Understanding and applying the health coaching approach and mindset.

  • Knowledge and recognition of the core concepts and principles of personalised care, shared decision making, patient activation, health behaviour change, self-efficacy, motivation, and assets-based approaches.

  • Develop skills to further develop their health coaching through on-going practice, reflection and planning as reflective practitioners.

  • Able to work within a biopsychosocial model, using a range of tools and techniques to enable and support people, such as agenda setting, goal setting, problem solving.

  • Creating and maintaining a safe and positive relationship.

  • Setting and maintaining appropriate boundaries.

  • Structuring programmatic and sessional goals.

  • Managing and making effective use of time.

  • Managing resistance to change and ambivalence.

  • Being responsive and sensitive to the needs and beliefs of the client.

  • Appropriate use of problem solving, and goal follow up across sessions to maintain and increase activation.

On-going development

To participate in regular health coaching supervision and continual learning. This will include, but is not limited to, any or all the following:

  • Regular contact with service supervisor.

  • Refresher training sessions.

  • Buddying with peers / peer support sessions.

  • One-to-one support from a practitioner with more health coaching experience.

  • Action learning sets.

  • E-learning to revisit or deepen training.

  • On-going improvements to systems and processes.

Support available for introducing the role

From April 2020, this role will be reimbursed through the Additional Roles Reimbursement scheme at 100% of actual salary plus defined on-costs, up to the maximum reimbursable amount of £35,389 over 12 months.

Further information

NHS England / Improvement health coaching implementation and quality summary guide

NHS England / Improvement patient activation report