The Coach
Coaching your team members to elicit beliefs and behaviour change
I want to give a quick overview of one of my key learnings on this topic on which I am not only extremely passionate about but admit I have so much more to learn and implement.
One of my coaching clients and I had a conversation today and he is making great progress in this space.
Small conversations when done strategically as part of an overall coaching plan have profound impacts.
What if you had a physio whose beliefs were leading to certain behaviours in the consultation which resulted in suboptimal communication with a patient?
So what?
Some of the negative consequences of a suboptimal interaction between a patient and physio, especially within the first consultation, include the patient walking away thinking one of more of the following thoughts:
“The physio didn’t listen to me”
“They don’t understand what I am going through”
“I didn’t get a diagnosis/plan/management strategy”
“They just talked at me”
“I didn’t feel a connection with them”
These result in patients behaviours culminating in early self discharge.
Rarely do these points come up due to poor treatment – but they almost always come up due to poor communication.
Anyway, back to my original point.
To help the therapist or admin team member optimise their communication with a patient you have the opportunity to provide feedback from one of 4 sources.
You – the boss
A team member
A patient
Here is the order in which the feedback is most powerful to the team member you are coaching.
  1. Themselves – when a therapist or admin team member can be self aware enough to pick themselves up or correct themselves when their communication isn’t ideal this leads to the quickest and most powerful behaviour change. But sometimes their limited self awareness can prevent this.
  2. The patient. This is often the easiest but often the least used feedback source. When we as bosses and mentors use this wisely it is powerful. Imagine a conversation with a “know it all” physio where you are trying to help them improve their consult, and you can give them direct feedback from an unhappy patient of theirs USING THEIR EXACT WORDS? This is a SUPER powerful feedback strategy
  3. A team member. But be careful here as you don’t want to create a divide. It must be coming from a place of consideration and from a team member they like and respect. And it should be based on how the team member you are mentoring made the other team member feel, ideally in their own words. When mentoring it is easier to let the the team member know how their actions made someone else feel rather than picking on the behaviour itself, or worse still the person. A key point here is the quote “communication is the response you get” so if the team member you are mentoring feels attacked you will need to change your approach
  4. And finally you as the boss. I refer to the last point in 3) above. Often feedback from a boss can feel like an attack. Sometimes I feel myself doing this – and I don’t believe I am doing it at the time but their response is what I am using to gauge whether I am or not. Sometimes in this situation I just throw my hands up and say “look, this is where I am at, this is how I am feeling, this is what I am trying to get done etc” and I go vulnerable with them and this can work. But if you have extra feedback tools in items 1) to 3) above I would recommend you use them before pulling out feedback tool 4).
I will do some further posts on influencing team members regarding their beliefs and behaviour.
But these snippets do form parts of an overall strategy I have coined “non clinical mentoring” and use them in parts at your own peril! Remember the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

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