Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the feasibility and acceptability of training peers to function as lifestyle coaches and to deliver a church-based lifestyle modification program.
Methods: We recruited 6 African-American adults to participate in an 8-hour peer lifestyle coach (PLC) training program followed by a subsequent 2-hour booster session. The PLC training program addressed several key areas, including: (1) developing empowerment-based facilitation, active listening, and behavior change skills; (2) learning self-management strategies (eg, reading food labels, counting calories); (3) practicing session delivery; and (4) interpreting clinical lab results. Training evaluation was conducted retrospectively (immediately following the delivery of the diabetes prevention intervention rather than after the 8-hour training session) and measured program satisfaction and efficacy from the perspective of participants.
Results: Peer lifestyle coaches' confidence levels for performing core skills (eg, asking open-ended questions, 5-step behavioral goal-setting process) and advanced skills (eg, addressing resistance, discussing sensitive topics) were uniformly high. Similarly, PLCs were very satisfied with the length of training, balance between content and skills development, and preparation for leading group- and individual-based support activities.
Conclusions: Findings suggest that it is feasible to customize a PLC training program that is acceptable to participants and that equips participants with the knowledge and skills to facilitate a church-based diabetes prevention intervention.