Wellness Coaching: Stages of Change By Joyce Hull, LMSW
Wellness coaching is becoming common to assist individuals with changing undesirable habits and behaviors. Many struggle to work out more, drink less alcohol or smoke less, eat healthier and develop a positive attitude towards life; and everyone struggles to maintain balance at times. Often, individuals seek supportive help when faced with making such lifestyle habit changes when imbalance becomes chronic. Wellness coaching provides individuals with the tools and accountability they need to make lasting changes in their lifestyle and habits.
One of the more popular coaching tools is Prochaska and DiClemente’s Transtheoretical Stages of Change Model. This model incorporates 5 different stages of making change: pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance. It’s helpful to understand these stages within a client if you are a coach tying to assist with the change process.
Individuals at the pre- contemplation stage are generally either not aware of the need to change or they are not ready to think about making a change. During Contemplation stage individuals are “getting ready” or at least thinking about change at “some point” but not necessarily making any plans to do so. Preparation is marked by an individual ready for change and starting to take action and steps toward change. The action stage occurs when taking the steps and making changes. Maintenance occurs about 6 months after the behavior has been changed.
Understanding the stages of change will help wellness coaches determine the next course of action. Wellness coaches are trained professionals to help successfully guide clients from contemplation to maintenance. Coaching does not focus on pathology but pulls from the Strengths perspective, where looking for individual strengths are highlighted to help individuals lead a life that’s worth living.
Moore, M. & Tschannen-Moran, B. (2010). Coaching Psychology Manual. Baltimore, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Joyce is Wellness therapist with Wales Counseling Center, PLLC