In modern medicine, it is believed that the most effective model of the relationship between a doctor and a patient is a partnership in which they jointly walk the path of getting rid of the disease, sharing responsibility for the result of treatment. With such a relationship, the patient is faced with the task of fulfilling the planned treatment plan and changing priorities and attitudes to his health. In solving the issues of health-saving behavior formation, the best results are shown by new techniques and methods that help the doctor communicate with the patient.
Recently, many people have been writing about business, psychology, and education coaching. However, the phenomenon of “coaching in medicine” is a fundamentally new direction of science and practice. In its original sense, the English word “coaching” means “transporting someone, moving from one place to another.” This translation conveys the fundamental essence of coaching – achieving the desired changes in human behavior. The fundamental principle of coaching is the firm belief that almost all people have much more extraordinary inner abilities than those they manifest in their daily lives. Coaching has borrowed aspects from related fields such as counseling, therapy, and mentoring. Coaching cannot be considered therapy, although it includes some methods of clinical psychology. Coaching is not aimed at analyzing difficulties but at finding solutions and improving the effectiveness of activities. A doctor’s art is to awaken the patient’s interest in his health so that a person takes responsibility for the result of his treatment, the level of health.
The Wheel of Life
Personal well-being and health consist of several components: life satisfaction (globally), essential areas of life (locally), affect (positive and negative). Very often, to determine the level of satisfaction of the patient (or client), the “Wheel of Life” is used. This mechanism implies that the patient determines specific areas of life for himself, and then evaluates them on a scale from 1 to 10 (from “excellent” to “bad”). After this procedure, the doctor and the patient discuss how to increase the level of satisfaction in each area. This tool is very effective because it helps understand the patient better and motivates him to take care of his health and improve its quality.
The doctor and the patient clarify priorities when setting treatment goals help plan correctly so that each area leads to a standard balance. The peculiarity is that the patients should specify a balance for their; not everyone wants all spheres of life to be in perfect balance. It is important to note that the wheel does not necessarily reflect the “balance.” The wheel is often a firm reminder of how “unbalanced” the patient’s life and health are (Tracy et al., 2018). The “wheel of life” does not reflect the past, it is a state at the moment, so it can quickly change. The practitioner uses this information to point out the gaps between what is true today and what the patient wants in the future.
Regular use of this method helps the patient to see his progress. Balance control helps identify specific patterns and change the patient’s behavior. When patients are not happy with some regions of their health, they may want to improve this area as quickly as possible. It should bear in mind that setting unrealistic goals can, on the contrary, worsen the patient’s health. The practitioner’s task is to help the patient switch focus from achieving the maximum indicator to simply making it higher than it is now. It is essential to help the patient step by step to improve their internal health, focusing not on the result but on the process of achieving it.
Values in Action Signature Strengths
In modern medical research, the questionnaire of K. Peterson and M. Seligman is widely used, including 240 questions, diagnosing a person’s virtues that determine his characterological positivity. In 2002, M. Seligman published an English-language abridged version of VIA-IS, containing the same scales as the full version of the test, but consisting of 48 questions instead of 240. There is no doubt about the convenience of using an abbreviated version of this questionnaire for conducting large-scale research on large samples of respondents.
This test is the primary tool of positive psychology; it has been used in hundreds of studies, more than 5 million people have passed it in more than 190 countries, which has led to an improvement in life and health around the world. The test is offered in more than 30 languages and is the only strengths survey globally that is psychometrically based, accessible, and can be performed online (Pavel & Hadassah, 2020). After completing the VIA-IS test, patients understand the best qualities of personality – the strengths of character. These characteristics allow patients to feel authentic (to be themselves), contribute to success, and help lead a happy, healthy life. The obvious disadvantages of this model were a certain averaging and stereotyping of positive functioning, on the one hand, and result orientation, on the other.
Coaching is aimed at the results of a particular person, so he does not have a goal to change the health care system and soften all the sharp corners. Instead, coaching hits the target pointwise: it helps the doctor to determine the patient’s condition, optimize resources, and, as a result, make his treatment productive. Despite the individual nature of the work, coaching can bring positive changes in medicine. So, if one patient becomes happier and more conscious after the course, this will already affect the level of work of the doctor and, possibly, the level of the institution in which he works.
For a practicing physician, it is essential to correctly apply the considered methods of assessing patients to choose a course of treatment effectively. Patients acquire such an essential element as awareness, which helps them take better care of their health. In the course of training, each doctor must master coaching skills and various techniques that will help them in their future activities. Modern medicine does not stand still, but it is still devoid of individuality, so assessing the patient’s condition is necessary for the doctor.
Coaching is prevention, which allows, if not to avoid negative moments, then adapt to them. It does not promise miraculous transformations and salvation, but it helps deal with the reasons that lead a person to dissatisfaction. The main principle of coaching is that change is inevitable: both positive and negative. The patient should honestly ask if they are ready for change during the sessions and get a positive response. A coach never gives advice or instructs a person but helps him understand himself and find the most optimal way to achieve his goals. A practicing doctor helps to raise awareness and achieve results but does not shift responsibility for life.
Pavel, F., & Hadassah L. O. (2020). Prosocial behavior at work through the lens of character strengths. Frontiers in Psychology, 10(1), 3046.
Tracy, R., Don, M., & Michael R. M. (2018). From Aha to Ta-dah: insights during life coaching and the link to behaviour change. Coaching: An International Journal of Theory, Research and Practice, 11(1), 3-15.