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The Missing Link: a Quit-Smoking Coach via Live Chat

The Missing Link: a Quit-Smoking Coach via Live Chat

Anyone can simply search “how can I quit smoking” online and find guidelines and endless resources. When it’s so easy to find information on how to quit smoking on the Internet, why would anyone need a quit-smoking coach? And why would anyone want a coach via live chat?

Moving smokers from “knowing” to “doing”

Tobacco users need a coach because quitting smoking is much more than just knowing what to do. It’s about helping them discover how to move from knowing to doing. The guidelines on how to quit smoking are similar for everyone, but the barriers that hold each person back from quitting are unique and personal.

As an EX Coach, I work with participants to explore things such as:

  • Why they are having a hard time quitting
  • Why they’re smoking again after being quit for months
  • Why they’re still having cravings even though their neighbor said she was over them two weeks after she quit

With quitting journeys, one size doesn’t fit all. As an EX Coach, I help tobacco users identify their barriers to quitting success and help create a plan that addresses each smoker’s unique situation.

Key approaches a stop-smoking coach uses

When I work with participants, there are several approaches I use to support tobacco users on their quitting journey.

I assess elements that can affect someone’s ability to quit, including environmental, personal and behavioral factors. For example, someone can be very motivated (personal factor) but lives with another smoker (environmental factor) and occasionally lights up (behavioral factor). I evaluate each of these areas to understand a person’s circumstances and mindset better while trying to quit.

Another lens I use is the readiness to change. Did they just start thinking about quitting? Or are they already making active quit attempts? As a coach, I apply coaching methods that will be most effective based on a participant’s motivation and prior experience with quitting.

To assess readiness to quit, I learn as much as I can about their motivation. Strong motivation is rooted in core values. For highly motivated quitters, using tobacco no longer fits within their values or belief system. When participants feel forced by a spouse or employer, their motivation might not be strong enough to sustain them, and they might be at a higher risk for relapse. (For more on that, see Engaging the Disengaged with Quit-smoking Incentives)

Self-efficacy can also greatly influence a participant’s readiness to change. Self-efficacy represents a person’s belief and confidence in their ability to quit. My job as a coach is to support and enhance someone’s self-efficacy. Helping participants identify achievable short-term goals sets up small victories along the way and is critical to boosting self-efficacy.

Coaching via telephone vs. live chat

I have been helping individuals quit smoking since 2007, and I’ve coached thousands of participants through the telephone and live chat.

In my experience, providing support over an online platform such as live chat adds other benefits to the coaching interaction. Some people find it is easier to share details about their quitting challenges and frustrations via live chat than over the phone. Anonymity, privacy, and convenience are additional advantages, especially compared to in-person coaching.

Pregnant women, for example, can find it very difficult to stay quit, especially when they feel stressed or anxious. Using live chat vs. the phone, a pregnant woman may feel more comfortable to share she had a few cigarettes recently (and hid this from her family).

Coaching via live chat also allows me to share various resources in real time; I can send articles and videos that relate to our chat, connect members with our EX Community, and even send participants directly to specific locations on our website to make the quitting process as easy as possible.

Quitting tobacco is difficult but for those who need support to move “knowing” into “doing,” coaches can play a critical role, especially when that support can be provided any time, anywhere through an online platform.

To learn more about the benefits of live chat coaching, visit our program page.


Gosia Kierc, MA

EX Coach Lead

Gosia is a learning and development specialist, and specializes in adult learning, coaching methods, behavior change, curriculum design and quality evaluations. Gosia has been helping individuals quit smoking since 2007. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Counseling Psychology.