BACKGROUND: Self-management of patients with COPD has received increasing attention in recent years given its association with improved outcomes. There is a scarcity of feasible interventions that can improve self-management abilities. We recently reported the positive effect of health coaching, started at the time of hospital discharge, on re-hospitalizations and emergency department visits for patients with COPD admitted for an exacerbation. In this substudy, we aimed to investigate the effects of health coaching delivered by a respiratory therapist or a nurse compared with guideline-based usual care on self-management abilities in COPD. METHODS: Self-management was measured by using the Chronic Respiratory Disease Questionnaire mastery domain and was assessed at baseline, at 6 months, and at 12 months after hospitalization. RESULTS: Two hundred and fifteen subjects hospitalized for a COPD exacerbation were randomized to the intervention or the control. The mean change in the Chronic Respiratory Disease Questionnaire mastery score from baseline to month 6 was Delta0.58 32 +/- 1.29 on the intervention arm and Delta0.17 32 +/- 1.14 on the control arm (P = .02). Of the intervention subjects, 55% had at least a 0.5-point increase in Chronic Respiratory Disease Questionnaire mastery (minimum clinically important difference) compared with 38% in the control group. Health coaching was an independent predictor of the minimum clinically important difference or greater change in the Chronic Respiratory Disease Questionnaire mastery score at 6 months after initiation of the intervention (odds ratio 1.95, 95% CI 1.01-3.79). The changes in the Chronic Respiratory Disease Questionnaire mastery score at 12 months showed a trend but did not attain statistical significance. CONCLUSIONS: Health coaching delivered by a respiratory therapist or a nurse improved self-management abilities when applied to subjects with COPD after hospital discharge for an exacerbation. (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01058486, Mayo IRB 09-004341).