As an Allied Health Professional (AHP), you already know that you play a pivotal role in the treatment and recovery of patients who have been injured at work. But did you know that effective coaching skills can be a real game-changer in the recovery process and can significantly impact on patient outcomes?

Evidence increasingly points towards the benefits of AHPs who are compassionate and empathetic. These qualities aren’t just nice to have; they’re absolutely necessary! Combined with technical expertise, these skills pave the way for patient satisfaction, adherence to treatment plans, and improved clinical outcomes. Despite seeming less significant than medical proficiency, empathy brings enormous benefits for both patient recovery and practitioner satisfaction.

Here, we explore six core abilities, fundamental to becoming a highly effective coach for your injured patients.

1. Active Listening

Active listening requires complete concentration and engagement in the conversation. The ability to understand, respond, and remember what the patient communicates is vital. Being fully present in these discussions fosters a supportive and understanding environment, promoting open communication.

2. Observation

Observing extends beyond what the patient verbalises. Noticing non-verbal cues, such as body language, provides crucial insight, especially when contradictions exist between verbal and non-verbal communication. Recognising these disparities can lead to a more holistic understanding of the patient’s condition.

3. Proficient Questioning

Your capability to utilise different questioning techniques helps patients expand their thinking and explore issues in-depth. For instance, employing open or probing questions encourages patients to share their fears, concerns, and experiences.

4. Challenging Patient Thinking

Effective coaching requires you to challenge your patients’ thinking without eliciting feelings of confrontation or threat. This may involve questioning their perceptions or providing observant comments that prompt new perspectives.

5. Constructive Feedback

Valuable and constructive feedback is paramount in letting patients understand their progress and expectations. Providing balanced feedback – highlighting accomplishments while addressing areas for improvement – keeps patients motivated and aware of their recovery journey.

6. Reflective Practice

Practicing self-reflection, understanding what worked well, and recognising areas for improvement are integral skills for any coach. Fostering this mindset in your patients can encourage them to take a proactive role in their recovery process.

Further Your Skills with ReturnToWorkAHP Program

Following the implementation of these coaching skills, a valuable next step for allied health professionals is the ReturnToWorkAHP Program.

This free online program, developed in partnership with ReturnToWorkSA, is designed exclusively to further support AHPs in their vital role of coaching and guiding patients through the recovery and return-to-work process.

By embarking on this two-hour course, you’ll acquire essential tools, skills, and knowledge to effectively navigate your patients’ return to work journey. You’ll gain a thorough understanding of the Return to Work Scheme as well as how to work effectively as a member of the treating team. You will learn about some of the important benefits of work, develop strategies for identifying and addressing potential recovery roadblocks, and gain insights into creating a collaborative recovery pathway with your patients.

The specific learning outcomes of this program are:

  • Explaining the health benefits of returning to work.
  • Understanding the Return to Work Scheme.
  • Working effectively as a part of the treatment team.
  • Performing early screening to identify the risk of poor treatment oucomes and take appropriate action to address potential issues. .
  • Implementing a biopsychosocial approach to treatment.
  • Developing a pathway to recovery in collaboration with your patient.
  • Measuring and demonstrating treatment effectiveness.

The ReturnToWorkAHP Program is CPD-accredited. Upon completion, a certificate is provided enabling you to claim CPD hours through your College if applicable.

The ReturnToWorkAHP Program is a golden opportunity to build upon your existing knowledge of work place injury management, as well as learning more about the six core coaching skills which enhance your impact on your patients’ return-to-work journey.

Join us today and empower your patients like never before. Sign up here: ReturnToWorkAHP Program