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How to Become a LACE Coach

by Evergreen Speech & Hearing Clinic

Coaches are the essence of a team. They help determine what others are capable of doing, motivate and track progress over time, keep attitudes positive and move seamlessly with their players toward a common goal. These fundamentals of coaching are not just used out on the field. Evergreen Speech & Hearing Clinic (ESHC), under the guidance of the clinical Audiology staff, has put together a program utilizing coaching techniques that guide patients to achieve success with better listening.

Meet the coaches!

ESHC has established a clinical structure new to the audiology field, the utilization of audiology assistants. The system allows for triaging of the patient along with more touch time and personalized guidance from our audiology staff. Audiology assistants Laura Best, BA and Shelby Koopmans, BA have made LACE patient compliance one of their primary tasks, and have taken on the duty with a coach-like approach. Through a team approach, the audiologists and audiology assistants have been able to fine-tune their coaching techniques. They’ve broken down their steps to success to help other professionals implement coaching techniques for their patients.

Plan and Prepare

If you’re going to be a coach, you better become an expert on both the program and patients. Every employee at the clinic is required to participate in the full LACE program to gain hands-on experience with the software. The audiology assistants have taken this one step further by extensively researching Auditory Rehabilitation programs and LACE. I have found the more competent you are with the program, the more you can share with your patients, says Koopmans.

Not only have Best and Koopmans educated themselves on the program, but they also take the time to learn and understand fully what their patients want out of the hearing instrument program. “One of our goals at ESHC is to make every rehabilitation plan personalized,” says Koopmans, “so it is important to implement LACE based on the Patient’s AR goals.”

The duo also checks patients’ progress before every appointment in preparation for talking to them about LACE from congratulations to conquering complications, Best and Koopmans are prepared with the facts when a patient walks through the door.

Motivate and Encourage

Motivation and Encouragement are the most powerful coaching tools our audiology assistant’s possess. Using the AR goals established during their preparation and planning stages, the assistants set out to motivate patients with these goals at each visit. “We work with our patients to set up achievable time frames for completing lessons,” says Best. Through these realistic expectations, the audiology assistants work alongside the patient to create an AR plan that is more meaningful.

The team also uses visual progress through Neurotone’s online graphs to show patients the progress that they have made. The entire team has found this to be very encouraging and motivating to the patients, especially those that may have lost steam or forgotten the benefits of using the software.

If it doesn’t work, try and try again!

The biggest hurdle our assistants encounter is a patient finding time to devote to the training. “It is important when dispensing LACE to make sure the patient is aware of what they are committing to,” says Best. With busy lives, the 3-5 sessions a week can be a struggle. With the use of commitment forms, reminder calls, emails, and even the possibility of in-house trials this struggle can be lessened.

The key toward coaching a patient to LACE success is best quoted by former college football coach Bob Zuppke, “Coaching isn’t a great mystery. It’s Just hard work, determination, and inspiration at the right moment.” The audiology assistants at Evergreen have taken these words to heart and have helped create a LACE program with follow-through and credibility.

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