Becoming a Lifestyle Coach for the National Diabetes Prevention Program
Well-trained and dedicated lifestyle coaches are essential for participants to get the most out of the National Diabetes Prevention Program (National DPP). These coaches receive intensive training to facilitate behavior change, stress management and to aid participants in developing peer support networks with fellow program participants. Lifestyle coaches may work in health care settings, workplaces or community-based organizations.
The National DPP is a one-year program where participants meet regularly to maintain healthy lifestyle changes. Classes meet weekly for the first 16 weeks, then they may meet on a bi-weekly, monthly or other time frame for the remainder of the year. Led by a trained lifestyle coach, participants learn with others in the program to gain the skills needed to make lasting changes.
The Minnesota Department of Health’s (MDH) trains lifestyle coaches to deliver the National DPP around the state.
What does a National DPP lifestyle coach do?
They work to help participants to:
- Lose 5 to 7 percent of their body weight – that’s losing 10 to 15 pounds if you weigh 200 pounds
- Increase their physical activity to 150 minutes per week – you can get in 10 to 15 minute chunks
- Develop problem solving and coping skills – such as learning how to manage stress eating
- Connect and learn about healthy eating and physical activity opportunities in your community
- Learn how to track the foods you eat and your level of physical activity throughout the program year
Why become a lifestyle coach?
There are many reasons people become lifestyle coaches. Some have worked in healthcare venues that treat patients with chronic disease, while others have personal experience seeing a friend or family member work through the burden of type 2 diabetes. Whatever the reason, lifestyle coaches have passion for helping people live healthier lives. They possess strong interpersonal and group facilitation skills in order to create an environment where participants thrive and grow.
The Diabetes Training and Technical Assistance Center (DTTAC) at Emory University trains and prepares individuals to serve as Master Trainers. Master Trainers are highly-qualified individuals who may provide Lifestyle Coach Training within their own organization and to partners. This allows for greater sustainability within large organizations or systems that are delivering the National DPP.
MDH has two Master Trainers on staff that partner with local organizations and individuals to train lifestyle coaches. They provide the skills, knowledge and experience needed to successfully facilitate the lifestyle change program.
Lifestyle coach training
It is important that lifestyle coaches are trained properly to ensure that the key elements of the program are delivered as designed, in order to give participants the tools they need to adopt lifestyle changes.
To become a coach, individuals must go through lifestyle coach training led by a Master Trainer. Lifestyle coaches must have a certificate of completion of the training. Trainings generally take place in-person over 2 full days.
The MDH led Lifestyle Coach Training aims to:
- Increase the number of lifestyle coaches, in order to grow and spread the DPP across the state
- Create a culturally-diverse National DPP workforce to reflect Minnesota’s population
- Equip coaches to successfully run their own program, with tools such as:
- Small group facilitation techniques
- Strategies to encourage change and group engagement
- Lesson checklists
- Logs to track the progress of their participants
- Logs and tracking tools for participants to track their own progress
- Facilitation guide with tips and talking points for each lesson
- Program implementation guidelines and suggestions
Throughout the year, MDH Master Trainers offer a 2 day Lifestyle Coach training in different regions of the state. Individuals who meet the following criteria may participate in this free training:
- Work or volunteer for an organization that is:
- Registered as a CDC-recognized provider
- Committed to offering the National DPP
- Connect with your local public health, Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP) coordinator to discuss the National DPP in the community you wish to teach.
All upcoming trainings will be posted here. If you meet the eligibility criteria above and there is an upcoming training scheduled, MDH will post a registration link below. You can use the link to register for the training. Once MDH receives your registration, a trainer will contact you.
Please Note: MDH will update this page with upcoming trainings as they become available.
For more information
To learn more about becoming a lifestyle coach, please contact Health.NDPP@state.mn.us