As a chiropractor, it’s rewarding to watch clients improve over time, especially clients who initially come to you with pain that restricts their movement. While many of your clients will get better over time, you might become concerned when other clients don’t seem to do as well.
Some of your chiropractic clients might not practice good posture or they could slip into bad eating habits that cause their health to deteriorate over time. Every single one of your clients is responsible for their own health and wellbeing, but at the same time, there are ways you can support your clients to make healthy life choices.
Note that helping your clients maintain their health is more about finding ways they’ll hear your advice rather than getting into the nitty gritty details with them. There will be some people who will want to know every detail you know. However, the majority of your clients know enough, but just aren’t acting. You can support them best by influencing them to take the right action.
1. Spend more Time with your Clients
The best way to support your clients is to spend more time with them. It’s tempting to maximize your time by rushing out of the room after a quick adjustment, but that’s not going to build much trust with your patients. Spend time with your chiropractic clients to make sure you communicate everything you need to tell them and give them a chance to voice their concerns.
When your patients perceive you as ‘in a hurry,’ they’ll hold back questions and concerns to avoid keeping you from your next patient. Always being in a rush makes it harder to connect with your clients, which makes them less open to hearing what you have to say.
2. Offer Suggestions Gently
When offering suggestions, be gentle. For example, if you notice a client slouching in their chair waiting for you, don’t just tell them to stop slouching. They’ve probably heard that a million times growing up.
Instead, lead in to the topic by discussing the detrimental effects of slouching. Establish that you care about your client before bringing up their habit of slouching. Once you’ve set the tone, you could say something like, “and I noticed you were slouching when I came into the room, and I’m wondering if that might be causing you more harm.”
Be gentle when pointing out problems and offering potential solutions. It’s your best chance at getting through to your clients.
3. Get a Client’s permission to Share your Ideas
No matter how much of an authority you are on health, it’s important to get your client’s permission before sharing your ideas, suggestions, or advice. People generally don’t like being told what to do. They really don’t like being told what to do when they’re aware of needing help.
Asking permission to share is a common strategy used by many high-level coaches. Successful leaders always ask permission before coaching or guiding somebody who hasn’t specifically asked them for help.
Technically, if you’re trying to get through to a client, you’re acting as their coach in the moment. The only difference is they haven’t necessarily agreed to be coached. That’s why it’s essential to get their permission before sharing advice.
Chances are, your clients know they’re making mistakes, but you’ll never reach them if they feel like you’re telling them what to do. When you’re talking with a client, you probably think of several things they can do to change their life. When those thoughts arise, simply ask, “can I share my thoughts with you?” Or, “I have some ideas if you’re open to hearing them.”
When you get your client’s permission to share, they won’t feel so threatened when they hear things they should be doing, but aren’t. They’ll know they asked for the information and although they might not like what they hear, they won’t feel so defensive and reactive.
4. Leave Pamphlets and Flyers in Conspicuous Areas
Leaving pamphlets and flyers around your office and in your exam rooms is another great way to support clients in their efforts to maintain their health. Colorful, eye-catching brochures, flyers and pamphlets are hard to resist.
Connect with a professional designer to create a piece of literature designed to educate and motivate your clients into action. You could talk about proper posture, stretches to perform at home, proper nutrition, and even suggest some gentle workout routines for people recovering from an injury.
Stay Committed, but detached from the Outcome
Most importantly, health is a personal choice. Stay committed to supporting your clients, but remain detached from the outcome. When they want to change – they will.