We continue to follow Tracy Whitworth, the Survivorship Care Coordinator for Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Phoenix, as she trains to become a certified professional coach through iPEC’s Coach Training Program.
Tracy, you recently completed your first on-the-ground training weekend – three very full days of learning coaching skills with iPEC. What was your biggest ah-ha moment of the weekend you’d like to share?
For me, it was becoming truly aware. The weekend intensive gave me the opportunity to recognize where my apprehensions, fears and worries stemmed from. Even more exciting was the realization that I have the power to change this and move forward. Does this mean I magically don’t still have fearful, worrying moments? Of course not. They still occur, but I am better equipped to handle these moments through awareness and support I have now built.
What are two ways you feel you will now approach your role differently with what you’ve learned in just this first weekend?
I no longer presume I have the answer to what the patient needs, as they are the only true authority in that area. While in the past, coming up with solutions for my clients was done out of good intentions to help them, I now see my role as providing them with the appropriate information they require. I can then guide them with empowering questions to assist them in realizing they have the answers on what is best for them to move forward so they are thriving in life.
What is your favorite new skill and what shifts is it creating in your client appointments?
The skill of being able to ask the appropriate questions for my client to recognize the shift they made and make attainable goals. Open-ended questions help me gain insight into the client’s perspective and often they reveal relevant details that may not have come out with a yes/no type question. For example, instead of asking “Did you take your medication?” when checking on how well they are adhering to their prescriptions, asking “How often were you able to take your medication?” tends to open up a dialogue and it also helps them to not feel judged.
Now that you’ve experienced some of the iPEC tools and approaches, what is one way you see this being of benefit to healthcare practitioners?
One of the ways I see a great benefit is patient participation. If a patient is able to come to the appropriate resolution regarding their concerns, then it would be reasonable to conclude that their adherence may be greater.
What is one shift that has occurred in your personal life as a result of the training?
Currently a shift that provided me with a greater understanding of myself is the awareness that the words I let define me in the past are just that…..words. They don’t have power over me. I have power over me.
What else, if anything, would you like to share with your followers?
Survivorship is an ongoing, evolving process and as a Survivorship Care Coordinator, I see the important role the symbiotic nature between the client and the practitioner plays. When I look at the care we provide for those going through treatment, what I see is a team of experts working together to create the best outcome for the client. As clients either return to their community in between treatments or as they come up on the end of treatment, we can now also help the client evolve so they have the confidence to take the lead in designing their journey through survivorship. I see that the symbiotic relationship of coaching and survivorship is the next step in the evolution of survivorship care…and THAT is exciting!
What an amazing journey you’ve embarked on, Tracy. I love your insight into the symbiotic nature of coaching and survivorship as well as what you noticed about how it is an evolutionary process. Next up, we explore the application of coaching and adherence to care plan recommendations.