Dr. Andreas Michaelides holds a PhD in Clinical Psychology and oversees Noom’s team of health coaches. These coaches work with end users through Noom’s behavior change platform to deliver health outcomes ranging from weight loss to diabetes management and more.
From social workers to personal trainers to nutritionists, in the world of healthcare, there are many different types of “coaches.” While there are a myriad of professionals who consider themselves coaches of various sorts, it takes a special blend of talents to guide and motivate users through a lifestyle change as dramatic as those involved in chronic diseases like hypertension, diabetes, and obesity.
Finding coaches with the perfect combination of qualities was no easy task, but we’re extremely proud of the team we’ve developed. When coaching is added to a Noom weight loss programs, users are significantly more successful.
How can coaches have such a noticeable impact? First, it’s important to understand that coaches are there to motivate. A health coach’s principal trait should be empathy. Coaches need to understand the difficult transitions many of their clients are facing and create an experience tailor-made to that client’s specific situation. The coach needs to work with the client to set clear, tangible goals that are realistic for the individual. They need to communicate well, and be able to help the client move forward through difficult periods.
Understanding an individual’s needs and adjusting to cater to those needs is one part of being a great coach. Additionally, coaching requires versatility. We can never predict exactly what a client will need, and it’s essential that each participant’s experience is suited to their current situation. Certainly, the experience of a prediabetic single mother is very different from an aging congestive heart failure patient.
Our specialty, though, is taking these essential traits and translating them to a digital experience that allows a single coach to work in-depth with more than 100 patients. Utilizing proven psychology methods to keep clients motivated, coaches are able to simultaneously interact with multiple clients with Noom’s scalable technology. When interactions are virtual, written communication skills become significantly more important. Text communication must be clear and concise, and a coach’s written word needs to express emotion and even non-verbal cues that would normally be obvious in an in-person interaction.
Before beginning a program, our coaches must get to know their clients over the phone. This requires that they ask the right questions to find the answers that will build a therapeutic alliance. Noom coaches must also be able to build trust virtually, which is not always easy when the client can not see their coach’s face. (We’ve found that simple technical changes can help to build this trust. For example, making it clear in our in-app chat when a coach is available helps clients to feel like they’re not being ignored.)
Aside from their ability to interact with patients, a standout strength of the Noom team is their ability to collaborate with one another. Coaches meet daily to discuss progress and brainstorm improvements that can be made. One coach’s experience is never the exact same as another’s and the coaches’ ability to share and learn from one another has proven invaluable. Aside from interacting with one another, coaches engage in clinical supervision twice a week to discuss any clinical issues that arise.
Certainly, all of these characteristics contribute to the success of Noom’s coaching protocols, but perhaps one of the most exciting elements of coaching at Noom, is that this qualified team is able to work on a digital platform that exponentially increases their impact. It’s what makes all of us so excited to be working on a cutting-edge behavior change platform like Noom.