Q&A with health and wellbeing coach Shanaz Begum

Shanaz photo
  • Where do you work and what are your feelings about your job?

I work for Shoreditch Trust in the Shoreditch Park and City Primary Care Network. I like my job because I feel like I am part of the community, and have a direct impact on people’s lives in a positive way.

  • How do people come to you and why?

People are referred to me by the GP surgeries I cover. Some also refer themselves. They come because they want to make positive changes to their lives, but are not sure how. They are curious about the coaching element as they have always been used to the directive medical model of interacting with health professionals. 

  • What do you do for them? What approach and techniques do you use?

Primarily, I give them time and space to talk about what has brought them to me. This is something they do not get from the GP or nurse. I listen to and reflect what they say so they can make sense of what they would like to work on for their health and wellbeing. I use motivational interviewing to elicit their story, TGROW (a coaching model that focuses on Topic, Goal, Reality, Options and Way forward) to conceptualise what they want to work on, and SMART goals (which are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound). 

  • What is a typical day?

I come to work and check my timetable of clients for the day. They may be a mixture of face to face in the surgery or in the community. There may also be video or telephone sessions. I check notes on all my clients and ensure that all client notes are updated on the day after the session. 

  • What difference do you make?

People have told me that just by giving them space to talk, they feel heard and valued. I give people a “push” in the direction they want to go in. Clients have said they have become more confident in social situations, and better informed about their health conditions. Because I work with their strengths and available resources, they feel a sense of achievement and a desire to continue to work on their wellbeing after sessions finish. 

For example, I worked with Sonia Cummings whose story you can read here.

UPDATED: 03/04/2023