They’re worth 
the journey…

Quitting smoking is a critical factor in developing a healthier lifestyle. No matter your age or how long you have smoked, it’s never too late to quit. The good news is there are proven treatments that can help you kick the habit.

These guidelines will assist in developing relationships with members and implement best practices when helping members quit using tobacco. According to the Centers for Disease Control, population-based interventions can dramatically increase access to proven cessation treatment and help more people quit for good.

Tobacco Cessation
Program Strategies

Suggested Strategies

1:1 telephonic or in person enrollment session

11 weekly individual or group sessions with mandatory attendance

1:1 telephonic or in person follow up session

On a weekly basis:

  • Participant utilizes a program checklist PLAN to document program steps and responses.
  • Review Tobacco/Nicotine Tracking Form – remind participants to continue to track and discuss any barriers to the tracking process. Must turn in a weekly tracker.
  • Monitor for the possibility of new triggers – weight gain, old friends visiting, stress events, etc.

Suggestions for open-ended questions from National Society of Health Coaches:

  • What quit strategies have you previously used?
  • What are your greatest challenges to quitting?
  • Which ones will be the toughest?
  • When do you smoke/utilize tobacco most often?
  • Describe your reasons for quitting?

Weeks 1

Objective: Validate readiness to quit, program enrollment, identify reasons for tobacco use, and begin organizing support strategies including NRT and/or prescription medication. Suggested timeline: 2-4 weeks.

 WEEK 1 – Introduction

1:1 Enrollment Introduction

  • Assess readiness through motivational interviewing
  • Review program expectations, decide on quit date
  • Discuss Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)

*Your participant may be very anxious to quit. Make sure they understand the difference between “I am ready to quit” and “I am prepared to quit”.

Introduce and Review program and expectations:

  • Keys to Quitting
  • Review the PLAN (Check List Button)
    • Ask participants to think about reasons why they smoke and want to quit.
    • Set a think about a quit date
  • Confirm plans for NRT/Rx – Appointment scheduled with provider
  • Review tracking records and have participants start tracking.

Provide education/handouts:

  • Tracking Log
  • PLAN (includes the checklist)
  • WEEK 1- 5 Keys to Quitting
  • WEEK 1- Triggers

Week 2

Week 2 – Understanding the quit

  Prepare participant to quit

  • Continue to work with participant on preparation to quit until you and participant are confident that participants have identified strategies to deal with triggers and are prepared to use NRT/Rx correctly.
    • Finalize and confirm use of NRT
    • Review tracking record
    • Set quit date if appropriate
    • Set next appointment
  • Provide education/ handouts:
    • WEEK 2 – Understanding Why and How
    • WEEK 2 – Benefits of Quitting


Week 3

Week 3 –  Preparing to quit- Confirm/Set Quit Date

Provide education/ handouts:

  • WEEK 3- Approaches to Quitting
  • WEEK 3- Roadblocks


Week 4

Week 4 – Preparing to quit

Provide education/ handouts:

  • WEEK 4 – What to expect
  • WEEK 4 -Withdrawal Symptoms
  • WEEK 4 -How You Can Get Through It

Day before or day of quit – State your quit plan

Review the PLAN

Weeks 5-12

Objectives: Maintain strategies to deal with triggers. Reinforce positive changes in health.

  • Support participant
    • Encourage continued tracking
    • Support management of relapses if necessary
  • Provide Education/ handouts:
    • Rewarding yourself
    • Affirmations
    • Avoiding Relapse
    • Dealing with weight gain

6 Month Follow-up

6 month follow-up

  • Follow up with participant to determine quit maintenance or relapse
  • Assess need for re-enrollment
  • Gather data – Did you quit? Did you cut back? Are you still taking NRT?

Coach's Resources

Coaching Guidelines

Smoking cessation is a coachable skill, like other behavioral skills like stress management, learning to play the piano, or gaining expertise at a job. Success is supported through support, knowledge, access to the right tools, time to practice and finally experience.

We begin with the assumption that all participants are ready to act toward improving their health. At the same time, participant readiness and motivation to tackle each of the specific components of the program will vary, both among participants and over time. At some point in the program, even the most enthusiastic participant will experience motivational plateaus.

A coach’s role is to keep working with the ongoing (and fluctuating) likelihood that each participant is willing to adhere to the recommended specific behavior change strategies to reach the program goal.

You will need to cultivate a clear sense of purpose, high standards and a respect for the various responses you will encounter from participants.

Facilitation Skills

Coaching and Facilitation Skill

Health coaching philosophy is a holistic one—blending mind, body, and spiritual care components with evidence-based protocols to guide individuals to make lifestyle and behavioral changes that will improve their health status and overall wellbeing. Health coaching goes beyond traditional case management and disease management processes. The goal is to engage individuals differently than has been done in the past. Participants are given tools to help them be successful coupled with motivational interviewing.

Health Coaching is a style of engaging individuals that guides rather than directs the agenda and taps into one’s personal motivation to change unhealthy habits.

Motivational interviewing elicits behavior changes by helping members engage a positive outlook for the future and considers what goals can be achieved. A partnership is developed between the member, the provider and health coach to engage the member on the journey to better health.

Motivational interviewing requires understanding the importance of the member’s self-worth and the member’s perception of the reality of their health and wellness state.

Each member may have different “potentials” such as running their first 5K race, learning to depend less on food as a stress reliever, maintaining a healthy blood pressure through diet and exercise, etc. It is the health coach’s role to accept the member where they are and assist them to achieve their set goals that start with the idea of changing behavior.

Motivational Interviewing

Motivational Interviewing

The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction not a destination.
~Carl Rogers

Motivational interviewing strategies do not ask IF the client is motivated, but WHAT motivates him or her.

The goal is to encourage participants to become an active participant in the change process by invoking change from within. Evoking change from within is very different from advice giving and empowers the participant to make choices and changes that are sustainable.

Motivational interviewing aims to encourage the participant’s autonomy in decision making where the coach acts as a guide not an expert, clarifying the participants strengths and goals, listening to their concerns, boosting their confidence in their ability to change, and eventually collaborating with them on a plan for change.

4 Phases of Motivational Interviewing


  •  Relationship building.
  • Goals – Relationship, comfort, safety, and empathy


  • What process? Finding clear direction and goal.
  • Goals – Exploring the target behavior – Targeting behavior – Clarifying the target behavior – Exploring ambivalence – Exploring barriers – Developing discrepancy


  • Why process? It is better if it is their goal and not yours. Purpose is to evoke a person’s own internal motivation for change.


  • How to process? Work toward resolving ambivalence and choosing to change. Work toward goal setting and developing a specific plan


Coach Roles and Responsibilities
Intervention Strategies

  • Open – Ended Questions (allow participant to engage their own ideas)
  • Reflective Listening
  • Identify motivational statements from member
    • “I don’t know what to do, but something has to change”
    • “I guess this has been affecting me more than I realize”

Other Strategies and Goals

  • Avoid alienating or lecturing
  • Set attainable goals; may need to set short term goals with an aim to reach longer term goals
  • Utilize the member’s own ideas and resources for change
  • Determine confidence in ability to make appropriate behavior changes, as well as importance to member
  • Use typical day strategy
  • If the problem is important, provide the education necessary for support
  • If the problem is confidence, discuss solutions
  • Be flexible and non- judgmental
  • Listen for member’s understanding of information

Listening is also an essential component to effective communication. Here are some common barriers to effective listening

  • We think faster than a speaker can talk and jump to conclusions
  • We are distracted and we begin to do other things
  • We lose patience and decide we are uninterested
  • We react emotionally to what is being said
  • We interrupt

Building Relationships

How to build the relationship?

Express and show empathy

  • Acceptance facilitates change
  • Skillful reflective listening is fundamental to expressing empathy
  • Ambivalence is normal
  • Use genuine and specific affirmation and empathy (It sounds like you have not been able to reach your vegetable goal. You must be feeling frustrated. OR You are doing a great job with tracking.)

Develop Awareness

  • Developing awareness of consequences helps clients examine their behavior.
  • What’s at stake?
  • A discrepancy between present behavior and important goals motivates change.
  • Amplify the discrepancy between important personal goals and current behavior.
    • “It sounds like you are working very hard to increase your activity, yet it has been a challenge to reach your weekly goal.”

Roll with resistance

  • Ambivalence is normal and part of the change process
  • Avoid arguing and labeling
    • “Let’s discuss where you are with program goals. Are you satisfied with your success? What needs to happen to reach your goals.”

Support Self Efficacy

  • Belief in the possibility of change is an important motivator.
  • The participant is responsible for choosing and carrying out personal change.
  • Support, encourage and congratulate.
  • Build optimism

Developing Autonomy

  • Listen as participants develop a list of action steps

Interviewing Skills

Interviewing Skills

The techniques of motivational interviewing, allows coaches to support clients in ways to successfully implement behavior changes by addressing a client’s willingness and ability to change; addressing self-confidence and other emotional triggers that affect change and support the client’s ability to embrace and sustain positive change.”

Motivational Interviewing is a collaboration

Be curious…Be open

Motivational interviewing requires four key communication skills that support and strengthen the process of eliciting change talk, also known as OARS

  • Open-ended questions
    • HOW and WHAT questions: How do you see…? What is important?
    • Useful in the process of determining participants’ motivation for change
    • Important in building a collaborative relationship
    • Allows coaches to find out more of the participants’ perspectives and ideas about change
      • Tell me about a time you made changes in your life. How did you do it?
      • What personal strengths do you have that would help you succeed?
      • Imagine you decided to change, what about you would enable you to do it?
      • What encourages and inspires you?
      • Who could offer you support in making this change?


  • Recognizing and commenting on participant strengths and abilities
    • “Sounds like this is really challenging. No wonder you feel overwhelmed.”

Reflective Listening

  • Repeating what the participant has said in a statement rather than a question, encourages the participant to continue talking
  • Builds engagement and allows the coach to clarify what the participant is saying both for the purpose of understanding correctly but also to reflect to the participant so they can hear what they are saying and can either pause to reflect or choose to move forward
    • “What I hear you say?”
  • Helps the participant consider a change


  • Used for further collection of reflections, allowing the coach and the participant to identify the core ideas of the participant’s story
  • Participants hear themselves talking about change

Giving Advice

Giving Information and Advice

Motivational Interviewing is sometimes thought to be incompatible with advice; it isn’t. But the spirit in which it is given has to be right. Before you give advice check that you have:

  • elicited the participants’ views on the subject – What has the participant tried or what have they thought of trying.
  • consider the impact of what you are going to say on their motivation for change. – The best time to give advice is when the participant asks for it. If this doesn’t happen, ask for permission to give it; or offer it in a way that acknowledges the participant’s right not to take the advice.  This can be done by saying “This may or may not work for you, but this is something that others in your situation have done…”  “I have an idea here that may or may not be relevant. Do you want to hear it?”  “I don’t know whether this will matter to you, or even make sense, but I have a worry about your plan. Can I tell you about it?” – Always make sure to check in with the participant before, during and after giving advice or suggestions.

It is often helpful to offer a participant a menu of options. This can help avoid ‘yes but’ conversations. When people have the opportunity to choose from several alternatives, they are sometimes more likely to adhere to a plan and succeed.

Stages of Change

Group Facilitation

Group Facilitation Skills

What is a successful group?

A gathering of 3 or more people who work independently but depend on each other to reach a common goal. Each participant needs to feel that he/she is able to affect the others to some degree. Success groups are people working together to share ideas and support each other. The advantage of the group is that it allows participants to interact with others who have common problems and solutions.

Skills of an effective group facilitator

  • Creates a safe and comfortable environment
  • Encourages participants to share ideas
  • Involves all participants in the discussion
  • Builds on participant knowledge (Uses the group to problem solve)
  • Is not an expert
  • Does not “lecture”
  • Goal oriented

A facilitator introduces a topic and guides the discussion but allows the participants to brainstorm and “learn by doing”. Following the discussion, the facilitator is able to summarize the ideas and content shared.

Building Rapport

A facilitator can build rapport with participants through the following principles

  • Value each participant
  • View participants as capable
  • Express warmth and friendliness in verbal and non-verbal communication
  • Provide support and encouragement
  • Open to sharing on personal experiences

Listening and Attending

General guidelines for successful group facilitation

  • Be alert to non-verbal cues
  • Encourage participants both verbally and non-verbally
  • Ask open ended questions
  • Paraphrase
  • Summarize
  • Involve all participants

Handling Challenging Participants

  • The Monopolizer
    • Constantly attempts to be the start attraction and can create some group hostility toward the monopolizer
  • The Scapegoat
    • The group may target one participant who seems non-threatening
  • The Nontalker
    • Some participants may not want to share, and it is possible that this has been conditioned over several years.
  • The Hostile Person
    • Hostility can be directed at the facilitator or another group member
  • The Crepehanger
    • This participant friends the negative side of any situation
  • The Digresser
    • Many participants tend to go off on tangents and become sidetracked from the main subject.
  • The Mythologist
    • Many participants believe in “misinformation” about nutrition and health and will bring this information to the group as fact.


Weekly Lessons

Tobacco Booklet

Meet Our Trainers

InHealth trainers are Board Certified Health & Wellness Coaches

and are here to help get your started and support you along the way. Let's make your program a success!

Gwen Bowie, NBC-HWC

Gwen has over 35 years experience in coaching and partnering with people to develop healthy habits. She has launched hypertension and DPP programs in the community. Her energy and love for physical activity motivated her to become a certified exercise instructor and personal trainer. She holds certification from Duke as a Certified Integrated Health Coach and is a Board Certified National Health and Wellness Coach.

Lisa Split-log, NBC-HWC

From mountain climbing to jogging five miles every morning to practicing mindfulness daily, Lisa is committed to health and wellbeing. After obtaining her Paralegal Certification from Louisiana State University and becoming a Louisiana Notary Public, she turned her passion into a career. Lisa is now a Board Certified Health & Wellness Coach who has the skills and experience to inspire healthier lifestyles.

Your privacy is important to us. All personal health information received through this program is stored and managed in a safe, secure and confidential manner. Your employer will not have access to any of your medical records.