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Six Million Coaching Sessions…and Counting!

Our WebMD Health Coaches work hard each day to provide the ongoing support people need to learn healthy habits, manage chronic conditions, and achieve well-being goals. I am so proud to share that we recently surpassed six million coaching sessions! Kudos to our team for reaching this important milestone. Read on to learn how our coaching has evolved since our last milestone, and how we adapted to a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic and its after-effects.

Our amazing accomplishments.

Since we started tracking health outcomes in 2011, our six million coaching sessions have helped participants:

  • Lose over 1.6 million pounds;
  • Increase exercise by 10.5 million minutes per week;
  • Decrease cigarettes smoked by 58 thousand per day;
  • Increase fruit and vegetable consumption by 243 thousand servings per day;
  • And so much more…..

But don’t just take our word for it. Check out the experiences of Walter and Kessler, who share how working with a WebMD Health Coach helped them learn healthy habits for life.

About our coaching staff:

  • Our over 90 Health Coaches have training and certifications in a number of fields—such as nutrition, exercise, diabetes management, tobacco cessation and mental health.
  • Collectively, our Health Coaches have 1,125 years of WebMD service, a rarity in our industry.
  • Health Coaches are matched with participants based on their individual needs and health goals.
  • Coaching is available in person, over the phone, through text, via Coach Connect online messaging and as a group session. This allows participants to interact with WebMD Health Coaches in times and places that are most convenient for them.

How our coaching staff has adapted to a new environment.

Since our last milestone in 2017, so much has happened: a pandemic, the rise of remote work, an increased need for mental health help, and new thinking about diet and exercise. Here’s how our staff has continued to evolve and grow to meet these new needs:

The pandemic.

None of us will soon forget the day in March 2020 when in-office workers, including many of our clients, were suddenly sent home because of the pandemic. Little did we know at the time that remote work would persist for several years, requiring major changes in how our Health Coaches served clients.

  • Connecting via telephone. We quickly increased our telephonic coaching services, which allowed participants to continue to connect with coaches during a time when everyone needed a little extra support. In some ways, the pandemic humanized us all and the connections we made with our participants grew that much stronger.
  • Increased breadth of services. The pandemic gave us the chance to increase our skills and development on topics such as resilience, loneliness, and social connectedness. We bolstered our services in this arena, creating webinars that could be easily accessed by a larger population.
  • The rise of Group Coaching. Participants began to express interest in connecting on a personal level with others who shared similar interests, so we created Group Coaching by WebMD. Group Coaching is typically conducted via live video with 10 to 20 participants. We’ve found that this format is a great way for participants to become more engaged in their health and fulfill the all-important need for community and social interaction.
  • Exercising from home. With gyms and other public locations closed, we had to help our participants quickly adapt to working out from home. We tapped into our creativity to offer fitness classes with little to no equipment, using bodyweight and common household items. We also increased our “Coaching U” videos on the WebMD portal that participants could access on their own time.

While many of our clients have returned to some form of in-person work, some have not, so the remote solutions we created are still useful. Check out this blog for additional ways our coaches pivoted quickly from delivering well-being solutions in-person to a remote environment.

The increased need for mental health support.

One of the silver linings of the pandemic is that it allowed people to more openly share their challenges, including mental health struggles that had not always been openly discussed. We found that more and more participants wanted Health Coaches who could provide support with mental health concerns, particularly anxiety and depression. In response, we added a Mental Health Coaching Team, which offers mental health and lifestyle stress coaching.

We continue to develop a more robust mental health program to better help participants manage stress, learn new skills, and pursue enhanced mental health and emotional wellness. Offerings include mindfulness and meditation videos, webinars, and group coaching classes focused on stress-busting techniques.

New thinking around weight loss.

A few years ago, in response to new research about weight loss, we changed the name of our specialty coaching program from the “Weight Management” program to the “Positively Me” program. Losing weight is still part of the program, but it is certainly not the only focus. Using multiple strategies, we don’t just focus on pounds lost, but rather on being healthy at any size and zeroing in on what “healthy” means to participants. For example, coaches focus on healthy eating versus dieting, including ways to include more of the foods that support good health versus restrictive eating or fad dieting. This focus on the whole person helps participants make small changes, one step at a time.

We’re so proud of the way our coaching team responded to the challenges of the past few years and we’re looking forward to continuing to serve clients as their well-being needs evolve. To find out how your employees and members can benefit from the amazing support and guidance our Health Coaches provide, contact us at connect@webmd.net.

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