A new domain of professional coaching is emerging. The domain is health. The challenges to be found in this domain are many—and quite diverse. In seeking to identify coaching opportunities in the domain of health, we turn to a metaphor offered by Dr. Camara Phyllis Jones of the American Public Health Organization. Her provocative metaphor sets the stage for what I believe is the future of health-based coaching. Dr. Jones describes the situation where a cluster of people stand on the edge of a cliff. Some of the people fall off the cliff; fortunately, there are ambulances waiting at the bottom of the cliff to pick up the hurt people and take them to a hospital for treatment. This is Tier One (Treatment). Alternatively, nets and trampolines are placed half way down the cliff which will catch the people as they fall off the cliff. This is Tier Two (Amelioration). A third alternative is for a fence to be built at the top of the cliff which prevents people from falling off the cliff. This Third Tier (First Order Prevention) leads to fewer casualties. Jones suggests that there is a Fourth Tier: people can be encouraged to move away from the edge of cliff. This Second Order Prevention strategy eliminates the need for a fence, net or ambulance. Practitioners of health-based coaching can engage in one or more of the coaching strategies associated with each of these four tiers.
Tier One: Treatment
At Tier One, the Health-Based Coach, in essence, helps an “injured” or “ill” person (who fell to the bottom of a cliff) with identifying and articulating the nature of the injury/illness, while identifying and contacting appropriate treatment professionals. A health-based coach usually cannot provide direct treatment strategies (unless a licensed professional), but can provide valuable advice, information and assistance to someone who is injured or (more frequently) in need of medical health for a lingering disease. The health-based coach can also offer assistance (Tier One, strategies) that reduces the impact of injury or illness (such as identifying appropriate and competent health care assistance—be it a home-care professional or rehabilitation facility).Download Article 1K Club