Table 5

Peer Coaches’ Evaluation of Their Training

Peer Coaches’ Overall EvaluationQuotations From Peer Coaches
Peer Coaches’ Overall EvaluationQuotations From Peer Coaches
Use of evidence-based health coaching
The peer coaches did not perceive the training as teaching them the 5 principles of Evidence-Based Health Coaching and did not always utilize the coaching techniques emphasized in the training. Some felt that the training was not sufficient to prepare them for the reality of coaching other patients.I actually learned way more about diabetes talking with those patients than I ever did in the class, and you realize how limited the class really is, once you go in and actually see what the nurse or the doctor is actually saying to the patient.
Most of the people that they’re dealing with, they have a very limited education. And just to get some very basic points about getting them to understand what an A1c is, what the numbers mean, why your blood pressure should be this way, that in itself is a challenge.
Of the 5 principles of Evidence-Based Health Coaching, the trainees appeared to have a reasonable grasp of behavior-change action plans, though there was some discomfort that the behavior change was too small to make a difference.So all of a sudden this was thrown at me, and I didn’t know anything about how the action plan worked. I learned the living-with-diabetes [part] a whole lot more. So let’s go for the long-term goal, with short-term goals in the meantime.… But if that long-term goal isn’t understood, it isn’t going to stick for people. It’s sort of like, the little accomplishment is a good goal, and I get a star, and everybody’s happy with me, but once you get the star, it goes away.
Training methods
The trainees generally appreciated the interactive nature of the training and the tests at the end of the training, but questioned whether they were truly prepared to coach patients.The role-playing was one of the better things. You know, everybody hates role-playing. But it actually worked. Because they make you go home and say, well, I know we’re going to roleplay tomorrow.…They did this really great thing, when they would have questions—we used to play games at the end of the sessions—and people would be broken into teams. And then we would go through all kinds of questions about the material that was covered that day.
They did have some times where they did role-playing. But that isn’t anything like when you’re dealing with a real patient. It doesn’t give you a clue what to say and do with a real patient.
We really have to know the information so well, or know where to get it…but on the final test, it wasn’t there. And that final test should have been nasty. It should have been really hard. Because we knew it was coming. It’s like, you’ve got to study for it, you’ve got to know it, because the next person you’re going to talk to is a patient.
Scope of practice
The trainees took seriously that they had a responsibility to do right by their patients and provide accurate information.We don’t know everything, so there’s a limitation as a peer coach. We cannot just tell them, “Oh, don’t take this medicine.” We can only say what we know. And in the training that we have, they told us…if you don’t know anything, just tell no instead of saying something that you don’t know and it will hurt your patient.
Maintenance of knowledge
The monthly mentoring sessions were generally felt to be important to refresh their knowledge and solve problems.Our coach group meetings, it kind of helps to reinforce, and we learn, I think, a little more each time, because of discussions with different things, so I think that helps a lot.…And the meetings help, because then, like I said, it’s an exchange of different things and possible solutions to anything we might run into.