3D Ideas 803: Coaching and Dementia

Claire writes: “It’s great to get feedback from people on our courses. Listen to what happened in someone’s 10 minute conversation. This was in church. It could equally have been at the GP’s surgery or with a neighbour.

‘You may think that the end of a church service when there is still more to come and the vicar has to rush onwards is not the best time to coach someone. However, a 10 minute conversation was clearly life-changing for someone recently diagnosed with Dementia. Caught between family pressures, choices of medication and the consequences of both, and in the confusing, frightening shock of the diagnosis, she wanted to talk about this. My immediate offer was “Yes we can talk – either now for 10 minutes or next week for half an hour at some point”.

Her choice of time and place and my setting a clear contract from the start. In 10 minutes of quiet, stood up, with direct questions, the nutshell problem and feelings were articulated and so she felt clearer about her feelings, her dilemma and was able to put aside the feeling of being caught and not knowing how to proceed. Just articulating the problem of her choices gave her back a sense of control. She was then able to talk clearly to her family later and they together resolved the problems at that point. I suspect half an hour would have been her invitation to me to join her in her pit, but 10 minutes gave us a sense of purpose in how this conversation needed to change something for her now. I was sure there were more conversations to follow and some sympathy needed, but at that point she needed not sympathy but clarity and control, and a quick to-the-point, coaching conversation was the best way forward.’

This works!”

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