Developing Your Wellness Coach Critical Pathway

During our most recent CWC certification training last weekend in Colorado, we organized a special break-out session for those attendees who wanted to do some brainstorming. The topic of the brainstorming? How to move from knowing “how” to coach to actually having clients “to” coach. The key to this is developing your wellness coach critical pathway.

The oft-stated quote from the Field of Dreams movie has deceived us (“If you build it… they will come”). It’s simply not true. Rather, the key to a successful program is to build, and then follow, a critical pathway toward success. Certainly, this pathway does involve “building it” (ie, earning certification) but it doesn’t stop there. Here is one example of a critical pathway for a wellness program roll-out in a Physical Therapy setting. It may not be specifically applicable to your situation, but it will likely provide you with some ideas to get you started…

We’ll assume the individual has earned their CWC (certified wellness coach) certification and is now ready to roll out the program…

  1. Identify what you have to offer in terms of wellness services
  2. Based on the above list, design 3 tiers of service and the price point for each (ie, based on frequency of interaction, access to additional resources such as your gym, team challenges, etc). You’ll fine-tune these over time, but this will provide an initial starting point.
  3. Create model for initial offering with your own patients. One option that can be very successful is to offer a free wellness coaching session 2 weeks post discharge and then a discount on the first 3 sessions as a bonus for working with you. Effective coaching really has an impact, so while most of your patients will have no idea what wellness coaching is, they’ll likely try it because it’s you. Then, when they experience the benefit…
  4. Determine total number of coaching clients that make sense for you to coach and then develop “next step” plans (ie, Exercise Physiologist on staff to also earn certification once you demonstrate the value and need in your setting).
  5. Fine-tune initial hiccups and then expand availability to all discharged patients in clinic.
  6. Once > 4 ongoing clients, set up electronic calendar system for ease of future scheduling.
  7. Survey coaching clients every 3-6 months and continually improve/enhance your service levels and offerings based on responses.
  8. Develop marketing materials specific to patients (based on what you’ve learned to this point from the above).
  9. Develop Physician marketing plan. Even if they’re not sending people to you “for” wellness coaching, they’ll likely appreciate that you include the free session post-DC since they know most of their patients would benefit.
  10. Develop community marketing plan such as a series of talks that can be provided at the local YMCA, church, etc. The extra bonus for you in a PT facility is that even if nobody pursues the wellness coaching, it enhances the reputation of your facility.

You get the idea. The key is to write down the key steps and then simply work your way through them, making adjustments along the way as needed. We’re happy to help if you have questions as you start moving forward.