Typically, health coaching is treated as an “add on” in functional medicine clinics. The doctor winds up having to sell the patient on coaching. But with patients already investing in out of pocket labs, supplements, and their provider’s time, people don’t want to spend the extra money. They say things like, “Why do I need to do the coaching? Why is that important? I just want to see you, doctor.”
That means most people never meet with a health coach… and that leads us right back to the problem. Patients come into the functional medicine system uneducated, unprepared, with unrealistic expectations, and oftentimes overwhelmed.
That’s why there is no negotiation around health coaching in my “evolved health coach workflow” model for functional medicine clinics: it is always step number one. Functional medicine’s success is determined by how well the patient can implement lifestyle changes. Behavior change must be addressed as the foundation of root-cause medicine. We need medical providers to encourage patients to prioritize establishing a strong foundation via behavior change to allow for more advanced medical interventions (killing and detoxing) to be successful.
We must do a better job of guiding patients on their functional medicine path of transformation.
Health coaching is the missing piece in your practice
It’s a little unconventional, but when you start with health coaching, your patients see right from the beginning that you have their best interest in mind and aren’t just looking to sell them on the next thing. It increases loyalty, commitment, and trust. It makes Your job easier.
But even more importantly, it gives your practice an advantage since the patient is welcomed into the functional medicine perspective and, from step one, aligns their beliefs and values with their healing process and decision-making, not their illness.
As you become the best practitioner you can be and evolve your dynamic practice, opening your mind to new ways of thinking about the structure of your practice is a necessity. We can not continue to practice functional medicine the way we have been doing it for the past 10 years and expect patient retention to improve suddenly.
Therapeutic Partnerships Roadmap Course
The Therapeutic Partnership Roadmap is a new course for functional medicine practitioners to help you effectively design and streamline your operation systems. This ensures you get the right patients through the door, empower the patient to be your equal partner, and keep them engaged long enough to experience profound clinical outcomes.