How Nurse Coaches Bring Value: The Importance of Preparing for a Nurse Coaching Session

Advanced Practice and professional Registered Nurses practicing Nurse Coaching wide array of tools and skills when engaging in client relationships, but before the coaching session, the importance of the Nurse Coach’s intention and preparation can mean the difference between a good session and a great one.

What value is there when the Nurse Coach prepares and has an intention before coaching?

How a Nurse Coach enters this space and the tools she brings adds value not only to the client, but the Nurse Coach as well. It begins with the Nurse Coach preparing their internal and external environment, recognizing the significance of bringing presence and intention.

According to Dossey & Hess (2013), “The change process is grounded in an awareness that effective change must evolve from within before it can be manifested and maintained externally.”

Preparing your Internal Environment for a Nurse Coaching Session

Before setting the intention for the client-nurse coach session, Nurse Coaches can ground themselves with an affirmation, participate in breath work, or be in silent reflection, letting go of any pre-conceived judgements, labels, thoughts, or prior experiences with this client or previous clients.

Here are some ways you can set your intention and prepare your internal environment:

  • “I will be completely present and open to whatever the client’s needs and desires are during our session.”
  • Let go of all judgements.
  • Release one’s “need to know” – Open oneself to exploring with the client without knowing where it may take the Nurse Coach in the session.
  • Use mindful awareness of the surroundings by bringing full internal presence to moment.
  • Breathing a little slower and deeper for a few moments while also focusing on the chest area.
  • Hum, chant, or sing a word, phrase, or song.

Preparing your External Environment for a Nurse Coaching Session

The external environment is just as important for a great coaching session as the internal environment.  Ask yourself where you feel most comfortable?  How do you work best?  Does it include being behind a desk or in a comfortable open space?  Taking some time to think about what you like to have around you in your space is important as it will provide some grounding and familiarity.

Here are a few suggestions to consider when preparing your external environment:

  • Where do you like to be in your home that is distraction free?
  • Create a mood in the environment for both you and the client by having a focal point and no clutter.
  • Could you use some aromatherapy or perhaps a candle that you light to signal preparation for a session?
  • Having comfortable, breathable clothing on during work can enhance your sense of peace.
  • Turn off or pause notifications on your personal electronics such as your phone, computer, and tablet.
  • Where do you find you do your best work? Close to a window, in an enclosed room, or outside?

The Significance of Bringing Presence and Intention

As a Nurse Coach, I have had to let go of previous ways of being in my professional career, such as identifying clients by their symptoms or chronic conditions typically placed in health records.  When I have allowed space and time to hear a client’s story and be with them on their health journey currently, exploring where they wish to go in the future, I suspend my past ways of knowing and open myself to new ways of knowing the client.

Clients who witness this in the Nurse Coach also learn new ways to engage with health professionals, often seeing themselves in a new light, no longer being a labeled condition, but a multi-dimensional, whole person in mind, body, and spirit.  When the Nurse Coach brings presence and intention to themselves before the interaction, the internal and external environment of the client also shifts.  This creates an opportunity for new healthy behaviors.

Ultimately, preparation before the client-coach interaction is the key to either a good session or a great session.  I like to call this “entering wonderland.”  I am not only bringing health and well-being to myself as a Nurse Coach, but I am also bringing the opportunity to the client I am engaging with by role modeling trust, openness, willingness, and opportunity.  This is the best value for both of us.

Dossey, B. M., & Hess, D. (2013). Professional Nurse Coaching: Advances in National and Global Healthcare transformation. Global advances in health and medicine, 2(4), 10–16. 

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Holly Kapusinski is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and Integrative Nurse Coach® with a passion for nurturing children and families. With a background in healthcare and a focus on nutrition and alternative healing, she established Life Cycle Balance LLC to promote holistic wellness. Her expertise extends to stress management, brain health, and non-violent communication. Holly's dedication to community extends to volunteering and leading wellness seminars. She dreams of creating a wellness center and authoring a book on healing from trauma as a Nurse Coach. Her interests include languages, cycling, hiking, and exploring new horizons.

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