The Hook Model and the Power of Coaching

Note: this is part 4 of our ongoing series on Habits & the Power of Coaching. Read part 1 here, part 2 here, and part 3 is here.

In the fourth and final installment of this series, we examine the Hook Model, created by Nir Eyal.

The Hook Model

In his book, Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, Eyal outlines the Hook Model, in which he explains why we habitually use certain products over others. There are four steps to the Hook Model:

  1. Trigger. An internal or external prompt to perform a certain behavior. Facebook initially triggers you with notifications to open the app, but eventually, you begin to associate using it with internal triggers, like boredom or anxiety.

  2. Action. A simple click, a tap, some scrolling, or whatever gets the user to interact with the product.

  3. Reward. Finding a funny video in an otherwise boring feed gives you a little dopamine hit. Varying rewards at different times make us curious and spark a desire to come back — over and over again.

  4. Investment. Now that you’re happy, companies ask you for something in return: time, data, and money are some examples. Ideally, you’ll even load the next trigger yourself, for example by commenting on a friend’s photo, to which they’ll surely reply and get you to come back.

Applying this framework to our own lives, we can get a better understanding of the products and services we’re addicted to (even though we may not even realize it).

  • If you find yourself mindlessly scrolling through Facebook several times a day but you’re not sure what brought you there… You may be hooked.

  • If you find yourself scrolling through your preferred BREAKING NEWS website 30 minutes after the last time you checked in on the world… you may be hooked.

  • If you find yourself curating your Instagram feed instead of preparing for your next important case… you may be hooked.  

Staying connected with friends and family. Being informed about our world. Partnering with influencers to share a message. We can find positives in most of the things we do. However, if the activity is distracting you from being productive in other areas, then there might be an opportunity for improvement. The trick is to identify and eliminate the trigger for this addiction. In an April 2018 blog SurgeonMasters contributor Jonathan Cabin detailed several strategies that can help us eliminate the action once we have identified our trigger.

How Coaching Supports the Hook Model

Bad habits are easy to come by, and difficult to break. Coaching can support, or more appropriately break, the Hook model in two important ways. One way coaching breaks the Hook model is by raising awareness around our triggers, actions, and rewards. It can be difficult to identify why we engage in a certain behavior, but this is an important first step in eliminating any habit. Coaching supports the process of guided inquiry and goal setting.

Why are we engaging in this behavior? What “need” is it fulfilling? If we can identify our internal triggers then we can take the next step.

Our next step is to terminate the action. Coaching supports this process of action planning and even constructive feedback on our actions. Is there another action we can take when we feel compelled from boredom to check out our timeline? Can we structure the action to create a similar reward or a proactively determined alternative reward? If we are able to identify our trigger and adjust the action, we are on our way to breaking the model and eliminating the habit. Of course, this is much more difficult than it sounds. With the assistance of a coach we flatten the learning curve.

You can learn more from Nir Eyal online, Resources for Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products.


Harnessing the Power of Surgeon Coaching

Not everyone is ready or wants to work with a coach as there are very few examples of this in medicine. Most professional talents work with a coach (or coaches) on a regular basis to get to and stay on top. Surgeons can work with a coach (or coaches) to maximize their physical, mental, and even emotional skills. Working hand-in-hand with a coach can significantly increase your ability to create and maintain healthy habits. At SurgeonMasters, we offer coaching services to surgeons in all specialties. Let us help you create healthier habits and a more lifestyle-friendly surgical practice.

Want to learn more about surgeon coaching, perhaps to do a little of this rewarding activity on the side? Sign up for our inaugural training program on January 20, 2019 at the Kona Kai Resort & Spa in San Diego.